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Dealing With Disappointment and Unmet Expectations

Hello friends and welcome back to the blog! I hope August is treating you well and that you're enjoying these last few months of summer to the absolute fullest.

Today I want to talk about dealing with disappointment and unmet expectations.

Over the weekend, I posted a video to Patreon discussing the experience I had while planning my wedding. It was riddled with trauma, grief, disappointment and ultimately, was not at all what I expected my wedding planning experience to be like.

After years of watching shows like Say Yes to the Dress and Four Weddings, interning for a wedding planner, modeling wedding dresses in local fashion shows, and pinning just about everything possible to my wedding Pinterest board, you could say I was excited to plan my big day.

I thought the planning experience would be filled with endless support, and people putting aside their differences to ensure that the bride and groom were happy. I thought the family members closest to me would be thrilled to be a part of the planning process!

Instead, what I learned is that people are still who they are...even when you're getting married. Or better yet, you might discover new sides of people that you didn't know existed.

I've been in an ongoing process of grieving not only what I went through, but the vision I had for my planning process as well. I've had to come to terms with the fact that what I envisioned absolutely did not happen. I've had to deal with the disappointment that people who I thought loved me, didn't bother showing up for me at all.

It's been a rough road. Filled with many tears and sadness. But through it, I have still found a way to smile.

I've still found a way to make content that I love. I've still found a way to be joyous and filled with love for my husband and our new life together.

When we're dealing with big disappointments, it can feel like we're in a haze of despair that we'll never get out of. But I take comfort in understanding a few very important things, which have helped me find joy despite my pain.

The first thing I suggest, is accepting that life often happens in seasons. The disappointment you're experiencing in this season, will likely fade over time. As summer turns to fall, so does your grief turn into a broader understanding. Things might feel tense and heavy now, but as you choose to seek joy in your life, slowly, the pain will begin to fade.

In this season, you might not have a relationship with a certain family member. You might not be talking to a best friend. But life's changes come and go swiftly. Someone who you thought you'd never reconcile with, could come back into your life. It's not guaranteed and it's not promised, but I find comfort in knowing that it's possible.

Forcing joy is another trick that has helped me a lot. It sounds aggressive to "force" something. But sometimes, when you're in the thick of being really disappointed with something or someone, you have to force yourself to find joy - otherwise it won't come on its own.

Doing the things that make me happy and that give me purpose, has helped me feel more joyful in the day to day.

I am a firm believer that more often than not, sitting around, scrolling on your phone while you're sad isn't the best way to stop feeling sad. If anything, I've found that it usually makes me feel worse.

You know that phrase, "Fake it till you make it"? I find that it applies to a lot of areas in life that we probably don't expect. If you're feeling overwhelmed with disappointment, you can choose to live there for awhile, which might be what you need, or you can fake it till you make it, and start doing things that hack your mind into feeling joyful again.

Finding the positive things to focus on in your situation, amidst the grief, is incredibly helpful to me as well.

Am I completely bummed about how some things turned out? Yes. But there is so much more GOOD that I can focus on. Like how stunning our wedding photos turned out, and the amazing speeches that were given. How perfectly the light shone on us during our ceremony, making it feel as if all of our grandparents who had passed on were giving us their blessing.

Moment after serendipitous moment, I realized that everything was exactly the way it was supposed to be.

If I were to sit here and only focus on who didn't come, why they didn't come, what I did wrong, and how I must be a horrible person, I would be miserable. And we can't live life that way.

We can focus on the positive. We can remember the good instead of hyper-fixating on the bad.

We can also focus on what is true.

You know the truth.

You know that you didn't mean to insult anyone by not allowing plus ones. You know the stress you were under or the anxiety you were feeling. You know where your heart was.

Focusing on the truth is a lot easier said than done. Many of us want to default into blaming ourselves, convincing ourselves that we've done something atrocious or that whoever is upset with us is somehow right. I've done this many times in the last few months. Blamed and shamed myself for not showing up in the exact, perfect way that everyone wanted me to.

But at the end of the day, I know the truth. And that is what I keep my mind and my heart focused on.

I've learned a lot about having expectations through all of this. And I think the most important thing I've learned, is to never have any.

Having expectations can often be a recipe for disaster, for the simple fact that you don't control anyone. You can't predict another person's actions. You can't predict how another person will feel at any given moment.

You also can't predict the future.

My grandma used to always tell me, "I may not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future."

Having expectations is setting yourself up to be disappointed at any different outcome.

And while I think it's normal to have some expectations, I find life is a bit less painful when you don't have them at all. When you allow people to just be who they are, and situations to just play out how they play out.

When we expect something, we usually expect it to go exactly the way WE want. And that doesn't always happen. Which leaves us feeling sadder in the end.

Instead of having expectations, I practice having hopes and dreams.

I can hope that something will happen the way I want it to, but I know that it might not. And that's okay. Because having hope, in people or in situations, is never a wrong answer.

Disappointment is something we ALL experience, and it's not super fun. But boy can it be illuminating. To have the veil lifted off of something that you didn't see before. To gain better understanding of certain people in our lives.

In experiencing disappointment, we gain clarity.

I hope this gave you some tools to help better understand and manage disappointment in your life. Please know that you're not alone, and things will get better. They always do.

If you want to watch my video on this topic and my wedding planning experience, click the link below.




LeAnne Wheeler
LeAnne Wheeler

Like you said, be glad to have shared such a special moment with those who were able to come. Sometimes people have things that come up unexpectedly or maybe they honestly forgot.

And about planning a wedding... I got married 6months after my engagement and my mother planned the whole thing. In the end I thought about what mattered most to be and my husband. I chose my dress and colors ,and my husband and I, together, chose the cake and topper.




Table Settings

Guest list


I did not choose any of this. My mother gathered her friends and planned everything. I told my Bridesmaids to pick whatever style dress they wanted in a creamy white.


Just a California girl who believes in a good cup of tea, a fresh bouquet of peonies, page turning novels & romanticizing everyday life.

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