Psychologists are advising that people who have faced disappointment or halted their plans due to Covid-19 should take time to grieve their losses. They warn that suppressing emotions and refusing to acknowledge the pain that comes with losing opportunities can cause depression and pent up anger.
“To be close to achieving something and then watching it slipping away from you is a big blow. It is fine to grieve and even cry if you feel overwhelmed,” says Bruce Owilla, a counselling psychologist.
He says most people get tempted to bury their emotions and not talk about disappointments because they think other people will think they are vain.
“There is a misconception that talking about the things that you have lost, either in form of opportunities, wealth, jobs or even friendship makes you a whiner. People should be reminded that they can mourn about the losses, without getting stuck at the mourning stage,” says Owilla.
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Agneta Mumbi, a counsellor and life coach, says when dealing with huge disappointment, it helps to put things in perspective by reminding yourself that you are not to blame for the things that happened, and not obsessing over the lost opportunity, but focusing on how to handle different feelings such as anger, frustration, hopelessness, regret and self-loathing.
“People who have had a disruption of plans because of Covid-19 should embrace the resilience of the human spirit. They must make a deliberate plan to accept what they cannot control,” she says.
Mumbi says there are people who feel shame when their plans do not fall through and they have to face people and explain.
“There are people who had talked excitedly about the big things they are planning or the changes happening in their lives. When Covid-19 made them stop those plans, they feel like there are people mocking them for not achieving those milestones,” she says.
The Harvard Business Review warns against going to the extreme when handling disappointment, saying there are people who tend to lower their drive to pursue other things in future when they were confronted with disappointments in the past. There is also a group of people that will aggressively seek to overcompensate for lost opportunities, and it might interfere with their physical and mental health.
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“Major disappointments are often defining moments in people’s lives. Constructively dealing with disappointment can be a self-curative process that can contribute to personal growth and make for greater resilience,” reads the report.
Mumbi advises that people who are feeling overwhelmed and unable to find coping mechanisms should reach out to counsellors to avoid sinking into depression.