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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Coping with disappointment

Understand your feelings, then make changes and new choices

This month of the Thanksgiving holiday, we make a special effort to count our blessings, to give thanks to God, and to realize how much love we receive from families, friends, church communities and other support systems.

But for many people, this attitude of gratitude is difficult, and the holidays just make them feel worse. They live in a dense fog of disappointment.

We all know people who have suffered a setback, experienced a rejection or had their hopes and dreams dashed. They may be disappointed in a relationship, their work or their family life. Some people have a talent for bouncing back from difficult experiences, and we are inspired by them. But others simply lack the resilience to courageously soldier on after a disappointment. We need to be sensitive to them and to that tendency within ourselves—especially at holiday time.

A first step is to understand the forces that drive disappointment in our culture. One is consumerism. The marketplace needs us to think we deserve all the toys, perks and pleasures we can get. Americans are accumulating huge debts as they try to have it all now, even when they can’t afford it.


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