Learning From Disappointment

Have you ever felt disappointed with how you didn’t react to a given situation? Have you ever stood by silently while an injustice took place, only to feel upset with yourself afterwards? I want to share a personal example in my learning from disappointment that happened recently.

A couple of weekends ago I was left feeling unsettled after attending a stand-up comedy show. The show was in Boston and I was going to see a comic that I had followed for a few years. At first, the routine and the atmosphere was fun and enjoyable. Then the comedian began making upsetting sexist and racist jokes including how he finds it funny that African-Americans have a glass ceiling because they have limited influence to cause serious harm to our society and that women shouldn’t get paid as much as men because of reasons that we cost men too much money.

At this point, the comedian pointed to the audience and asked for a rebuttal to his earlier claim about why he feels women should get paid less. It was in that moment that I found myself at a loss of words and unprepared for any intellectual debate. I instantly felt intimidated being in a venue surrounded by mostly intoxicated men. I also worried that I wouldn’t have the floor long enough to even have an intellectual conversation because the comic had the microphone and he had a show to do. Just as soon as the moment had started it had passed and I was left feeling shocked, upset, and disappointed with the comic and with myself.

The following day I replayed that scene over and over in my head thinking of all the comments I could have said and how possible scenarios could have played out. Needless to say, I struggled with the expectations I had and the reality that occurred.

I have since made my peace and realized that I learned several valuable lessons from this experience. I learned that I won’t always have the right words to say and that I may not feel brave all the time. I learned the need for kindness with myself when I fail to act. I learned that I can continue to support causes I believe in by way of donations, writing my blog, raising awareness around me, and by refusing to support those that oppose those causes (i.e. this particular comedian). More importantly, I understand that this it isn’t the last opportunity I will have to speak up and be heard.

Have you ever failed to speak up or act when you felt you should have? What did you learn from it and how has it affected your life?