I was invited to write for Huffington Post several years ago. The story of how that came about can be found in these pages, but that’s not why I’m posting this.
Since AOL bought Huffington Post, I am less and less inclined to post for them. Why, you might ask?
Well, they’ve been a/ not posting in a timely way, and b/ editorializing according to their advertisers’ values.
I submitted the post below weeks ago. A little pencil icon showed up next to it last week. That means they’re not posting it. Read it for yourself …
Just Plain Disappointed?
On the phone with my dearest friend recently, I listened as he repeatedly diagnosed himself. “I’m so depressed,” he moaned. “I think I’ve been depressed all my life!” Within five minutes, he told me he was feeling very anxious. I asked him if he thought he needed medication.
I’ve had a counseling practice for 30 years, and even though I don’t use clinical diagnoses, I can pretty much tell intuitively if someone needs medication or just some hard work to square mind, heart, and gut.
I didn’t recommend anything particular to him except to say that drugs for depression and drugs for anxiety are two different families of drug, and he’d have to decide what was what before he chose a doctor to help him on his path.
The man on the other end of the phone got very quiet.
“You know,” he said slowly, “maybe I’m just plain disappointed with my life.”
This sentence rang the bell of truth far more than either of his previous self-diagnoses.
Disappointment I know. I know it well.
I grew up with a mother who didn’t really yell. Instead, when she was angry, she’d say, “I’m so disappointed in you,” and I’d end up feeling like I was two inches tall. You can imagine the legacy I took with me into my young, adult life. You guessed it …
With a capital D.
Oh yes, I know how to feel disappointed. I also credit this word, and this feeling, with the impetus for my second book, God’s Dictionary: Divine Definitions for Everyday Enlightenment (Tarcher/Putnam 2002). It’s out of print now, but you can sometimes get it at used booksellers.
Anyway, disappointment is the reason I wrote that book.
I was sitting in my midtown Manhattan living room feeling that old emotional bugaboo disappointment when a voice said in my ear, “Look up the word disappoint in the dictionary.”
Sassy me, I answered, “I know what disappoint means.”
“Look. It. Up.” Borderline thunderous.
This was long before Google was even a glint in someone’s eye.
I went to the bookshelf, blew the dust off the Noah Webster’s magnum opus, and looked up disappoint. Reading the etymology of the word, I remember being so taken with it that I could barely breathe.
Follow my logic.
Dis- in the front of a word means ‘not.’
To be appointed, say, Ambassador to Luxembourg, is to be chosen.
Ergo, to be dis-appointed is to feel not chosen.
Then, I made a further, metaphysical leap …
And therefore, feeling not chosen, I am also not choosing.
I told my friend this story, a story he’d heard many times before, as he is my ex-husband and my best friend. He heard it a completely different way than he ever had before. (… which is why hearing the same stories over and over again from a loved one is part of loving them … but that’s another blog.)
If he was feeling disappointed, i.e. not chosen, then he was also not choosing.
He rifled through the things that were bugging him, made choices about all of them, and felt a whole lot better.
It doesn’t always work this dramatically, but it never fails to work.
The next time you’re feeling disappointed in yourself or someone else, look closer. Could a choice—a simple choice within your own power—make a difference?
Make your day, sweet one—choose.
Big pharma, anyone?
So I’ll still be posting on HP. Fluffier pieces than usual. When I feel like it. Probably monthly.
In fact, come 2012, I’m changing my whole blogging schedule to make more time to write books, but that’s another blog post entirely.
For spiritual nourishment, please visit www.susancorso.com