Sometimes, we experience problems that make us feel disappointed. The good news is that Stoics have ways to respond to bad news, whether it comes from rejection, doubt, fear, or more. There are numerous ways in how stoics deal with disappointments which we’ll see in this blog post.
The Stoics deal with disappointment by first analyzing if the situation is within their control. If the source of disappointment is not within their control, the Stoics have ways to be resilient to these problems. On the other hand, if the source is something in their control, they solve the issue.
I decided to write this blog post due to my recent experience of how Stoicism helped me cope with some minor problems. I was lucky to know the philosophy since I have been writing about it for some time. That’s why I decided to write some Stoic ways of dealing with bad news, rejection, and disappointment.
1. Analyze the Situation
We all know how Stoics try to stay logical in handling things.
That’s why in everything that happens, Stoics tend to first analyze the situation.
Analyzing the situation is important because it validates our effort.
What I mean by validating our effort is if we try to fix something with the wrong approach, our efforts will be useless.
For example, if we try to fix our relationship with, let’s say, being needy and sending 500 messages, then we are wasting our efforts. In fact, it might make things worse.
That’s why we need to analyze our problem. But how do Stoics analyze these problems?
With that, let’s go to the next section.
2. Learn the Dichotomy of Control
The dichotomy of control is one of the basic principles of Stoicism. It says that everything that happens in our lives can be classified into two things: the things we can and can’t control.
The Stoics analyze things by first looking at whether the problem is inside or outside their control.
If the problem is within our control, then we can do something about it. However, if it is outside our control, then we have no choice but to be resilient.
We have to understand that things are happening outside our control and the truth is, there are many things we can’t control.
For example, we can’t control other people. No matter who we are, it is hard or close to impossible to control the action of others.
The good news is, Stoicism offers numerous ways of coping up with things outside our control. Furthermore, the main thing a Stoic can control is how they respond to these disappointments.
We don’t control what happens, but we control how we respond. The good news is, I know you are already taking things to your hands by learning how to deal with setbacks and disappointments.
So, whether your problem is within your control or not, we have ways of dealing with them.
One of which is changing our perception, which helps in coping with things outside our control.
3. Change Our Perception of Things
We should change our perception of things.
Why should we let other people influence our life if we can’t control them?
Relying on others as your source of happiness is a bad idea. The only way to feel secure in your happiness is to be responsible for your happiness.
That’s the same with disappointments. If you want to deal with disappointments, you should be responsible for them.
Don’t expect others to fix things for you. Instead, be responsible for your problems. That way, you will feel empowered.
You don’t need to be perfect to be responsible for your problems. Owning your life and improving yourself is enough.
4. Accept that Life is Unpredictable
Remember that sometimes, the things happening around you is not your fault.
Life throws random things at us, and sometimes, we get to have the bad things.
However, remember that this is outside our control. Just because we had a bad day doesn’t mean we will be unlucky all the time.
In fact, we usually have a lot of things to be grateful for.
Later, I will share what made me write this post and how Stoicism helped me feel grateful rather than disappointed in the bad thing that happened to me.
Accepting that life is unpredictable makes us resilient. Stoicism teaches us how to accept the unpredictability of life.
It teaches us how to accept the things we can’t control.
I know how hard it is to accept the unpredictability of life. But, gladly, Stoicism has ways for us to easily accept these facts, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
5. Think of the Worst Possible Scenario
What I like about Stoicism is it is honest. It doesn’t tell you that life is full of good things, and we deserve all the good things in life.
It accepts the unpredictability of life, and it is realistic in setting our expectations. Its practical approach is what made me hooked to philosophy.
It is hard to accept the reality that life is unpredictable that we can’t control many things.
The good news is we can be resilient to these things.
Stoics like to meditate on the worst-case scenario. That way, we can be prepared in case the worse happens.
However, this is not the same as being negative in everything. This exercise is to prepare us in case something terrible happens.
For example, when in a relationship, maybe the worst-case scenario is a breakup. In public speaking, perhaps the worst-case scenario is people booing at your speech.
If we already expect the worse, we can be prepared to deal with them. Furthermore, most of the time, we aren’t going to experience the worst thing.
When I became a lecturer, I was nervous in my first class. However, I accepted the worst thing that could happen, which is I could lose my job.
It turned out. I was so prepared in my lecture that my students commended me on their review. That’s why I became a lecturer for the next three years.
6. Don’t Forget to Improve Yourself
Stoicism knows the importance of improving yourself.
Maybe, you don’t have control over the disappointment as of now. It might be because you don’t have the ability, money, connections, or whatever it is to fix the problem.
However, things change. Changing for the better or, the worse depends on you.
So, one way to deal with disappointments is to see their source by analyzing and thinking about how you could prevent them from happening again in the future.
Stoicism helps us feel empowered by putting responsibilities into our hands. By improving our abilities, we can either prevent the same disappointment or even solve the problem.
Learn new things, read new books, take new courses, make yourself better.
Find your weakness and try to remove them if possible. Find your strengths and strengthen them even further.
That way, we can easily deal with the same rejection, setbacks, or disappointments in the future.
7. Write Down Your Worries
The Stoics love journaling and writing. In fact, Meditations, a book Stoics usually read, is not a book.
Instead, Meditations is the personal diary of a Stoic emperor named Marcus Aurelius.
The Stoics know the importance of journaling. They believe that journaling can help us in meditating on the facts of life.
Also, one of the main benefits of writing things down is it helps us vent our feelings.
Sometimes, disappointments can be dealt with by venting them off to people. That’s why people feel better after talking about their worries and problems.
The problem is not all of us have friends or family to tell our worries with.
The good news is we can write these down on a piece of paper or notebook.
By writing, we can start letting these feelings out. That’s why journaling is essential to Stoics because not only does it help them get ideas, it helps them cope with hard feelings.
If you need a tutorial about writing a journal, feel free to check how I reflect on my day on this post: How to reflect on your day | Complete with Examples
8. Look at the Brighter Side
Look at the things you are taking for granted. Even if something terrible happens, you will still have some things other people are grateful for.
Let’s take Diogenes, one of the pioneers of Cynicism, who had some significant influence on Epictetus.
In context, Epictetus is one of the most influential Stoic of all time. Some texts on Meditations or Discourses about Stoicism were written by him.
One day, Diogenes was forced into exile in Athens after having some major problems with his job as a banker.
Upon reaching Athens, he realized he didn’t have a place to stay. Thus, he was forced to sleep on a barrel.
Upon thinking, a mouse suddenly appeared and got him thinking that the mouse neither had a good place to stay nor a stable food source. In short, it has been living like he was experiencing.
Despite having a life where the mouse needs to scavenge for food and not having a place to stay even on rainy days, he realized how lucky he had been.
Furthermore, he realized that he doesn’t need material things to be happy.
I am sharing this because life is full of things we should be grateful for. Something even I fail to realize at times.
If we start looking at the brighter side, we could see life as something full of hope.
The more you seek how unlucky you are, the more you’ll feel unlucky. The more you seek what makes you lucky, the more you’ll feel lucky.
For example, a few days back, I lost access to the internet because of my service provider. Because of this, I was forced not to do anything today despite the deadlines.
I could begin to feel how unlucky I am that I don’t have the internet when I need it.
Instead of that, I began to realize how lucky I am to have access to the internet. But, unfortunately, I know that many people out there have no access to what seems to be a necessity in the modern era.
Stoicism helped me change my perspective, and instead of panicking about how I would miss all my deadlines, I realized how lucky I am.
I even wrote the happiness I felt upon realizing I have access to the internet in my journal.
So start looking at the bright side. It’s worth it.
Think of looking at the bright side as a way to see the good side of things.
That’s why focus on the good side. The more you focus on the good side, the more you’ll see them around us.
By the way, the man is on the right side of the photo. He is walking uphill.
What’s next? What if you did something wrong that caused some disappointment? If the cause of your dissatisfaction is your mistake, remember the Stoics also teach us how to forgive ourselves. So here is my blog post talking about the topic: How to forgive yourself as a Stoic?
“Only the things I love.“
ongjason.com is reader-supported. When you buy through links on the site, I earn an affiliate commission.
If you’re following me, you’ll know that I believe it is essential to have some tools, whether it’s for personal development or lifestyle in general.
So, here are the things I love.
If you want to learn things for free, I recommend watching my YouTube Channel. Click the Button Below to go straight into my Channel. 🙂
Okay, let me first explain my Channel.
I believe that I really can’t explain everything too well on my blog. That’s why I created a YouTube Channel so I can easily explain a lot of things. Plus, I believe that Video Sharing is the future.
The next thing is books. Books are, for me, one of the cheapest ways to get invaluable information. We can learn personal development, finance, career, relationships, and many more from books.
Here, I will be listing my favorite books in different categories.
- For Beginners – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – Personal development has a lot of concepts and ideas to learn. Thus it can be really hard for beginners to know where to start. Thus, I recommend this book since all the basic concepts of personal development are here(except finance, check what I recommended for that)
- Productivity – The One Thing by Gary Keller – This book teaches us the power of focusing on one thing which is the ultimate source of productivity. The concepts taught are what I am using to constantly publish YouTube videos while maintaining this website.
- Busy? – Make Time by Jack Knapp – This book teaches us how to make time for the things we love. The concept is really simple but I think that makes it a book worth reading.
- Health – Lifespan by Dr.Sinclair – This Book teaches about the latest scientific research on lifespan. In his book, he has shared numerous things he is doing to slow down his aging process. This can be as easy as eating less which he recommends.
- Finance – The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason – Perhaps one of the first books I’ve read about Finance, this book for me is the best if we are talking about learning basic finance such as basic saving and investing. The concepts are very simple but effective.
Take this advice as a grain of salt.
I don’t recommend buying Audiobooks one by one. I mean, audiobooks can be quickly finished by listening while working out or doing some mindless tasks.
So here is to save you some money. Just go for a monthly subscription to Audible. I believe that you will save a lot of money with that plus, they usually give freebies to anyone starting.
My Audiobook Recommendation will always be the same as my book recommendations, but I personally like The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. I like how she is so casual while reading her book.