Life is Like a Box of Chocolates…What To Do When You Don’t Get What You Really Want

Kathy Gray
We have all been told at one point or another how life isn’t fair. While this is true, simply knowing this fact alone still doesn’t make us feel any better when something that we really want seems to avoid us.
However, when this occurs there are ways of handling the situation that are far more productive than taking on an attitude of defeat and feeling sorry for ourselves. Here are a couple of key things to consider during periods of disappointment brought on by not attaining something your heart desires.
Appreciate The Things You DO Have  
Being able to separate the things you need from what you want is extremely important in life. All around the world, there are people constantly deprived of even the most basic things most of us take for granted. While it is in no way wrong to pursue things other than the basic needs, try to avoid getting these things mixed up.   Switch your attention from whatever it was that you wanted and did not get, it is more likely that through self-reflection, that you can find other joyful and precious things, people or opportunities in your life that you do have. This will help you balance out the negative feelings to more positive ones.   If you were to go through life getting anything and everything you wanted, how much do you think you would appreciate those times when you actually do obtain what you were going for?
Every Cloud has a Silver Lining  
As time goes on, we all have situations or things we can look back on that didn’t work out, only to realise that what seemed like a tragedy at the time clearly worked out for the best. Although it can be impossible to realise in the moment, sometimes not getting something serves as a fork in the road, redirecting us to something much better.   Whatever you are feeling like you missed out on, the thing that slipped through your grasp, make an effort to glance up the road. If you do so, you may be able to realise that this failure could very well be for your benefit.  
The Art of Motivation
Even if what you wanted may not be harmful or a detriment to your life moving forward, the sheer disappointment of falling short can easily provide the motivation you need to go after something even better!
There are endless examples of people achieving fantastic things and accrediting their success to past failures.  In 1943, the Psychologist Abraham Maslow theorized that human motivation was driven by a hierarchy of human needs; beginning the base needs for survival needing to be met first before one could climb the ladder to self-actualization. If we apply his theory to personal growth, then by achieving balance and appreciating the things we do have, practicing honest reflection on what we did not achieve could help motivate us by learning from our mistakes or failures (Maslow, 1943). Not getting what we want can help us develop a growth mindset (Dweck, 2008), to how to do things better next time.
Done These Things and Still Want It? Try Again!  
Okay, so what if you have done both of these things, but still honestly believe you are supposed to have the thing that avoided you? If this is the case, regroup and try again! Rest assured, most of the things worth having are not going to come easily. If this were the case, they wouldn’t be nearly as fulfilling when we get them.
If something that you didn’t get or achieve is constantly troubling your mind, this may very well be a sign that it is meant for you, just not right now. Only you can determine whether or not something is right for you. However, once you have made the decision that it is, be ready to fight for it! I could insert any number of motivational quotes such as “fall seven times, stand up eight” or “fail forward,” but the fact is, the life of a successful individual is filled with failures. It is how you deal with these failures that separates winning in the long run from going through life resentful and feeling sorry for yourself. Never allow yourself to give up in the pursuit of anything you truly believe is supposed to be yours.
Dweck, C. (2008). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Ballantine Books: New York. Maslow, A.H. (1943). “A Theory of Human Motivation”. In Psychological Review, 50 (4), 430-437.
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