The word “disappointing” can mean so many things to different people. Some take it seriously and get upset at the thought of disappointing someone else. To others, it is just another word and dealing with disappointment is something they get over quickly. When it comes to Latinxs, the word disappointing/disappointment is a very hefty one. Most of us grow up with the thought that disappointing our parents would be the end of the world. How do we break up with this belief?
Photo: Xavier Mouton Photographie on Unsplash
According to the Oxford Dictionary, disappointing means “failing to fulfill someone’s hopes or expectations.” In my opinion, it is the failing part that makes this word so scary. We do not want to fail our parents or let them down. We want to make the proud. We want to fulfill their hopes and expectations. These thoughts start when we are little, probably because our own parents used to feel the same way. It’s as if part of our Latinx DNA was the fear of disappointing our parents.
You might see your life one way but measure it by what your parents would say about it. Trust me; this is not always a conscious action. Sometimes, without us realizing it, their thoughts and wants are more significant than our own. We look for their approval to make sure we are on the right path. When they say something slightly off balance, we start to question our decisions. This is not something to be ashamed of, but something we should start being aware of. The fact that their approval makes us so happy but a short “how disappointing” can make us spiral out of control is not a healthy lifestyle.
I have discovered that letting go of this behavior is extremely hard. At first, it’s because you do not even realize it is there, but then you do not know how to stop. We obviously still want to make them proud; the hangup is how to get over the occasional disappointment. Why does it still matter so much even when we are grown up? It would make life much easier if we realized disappointment happens to everyone. We get disappointed by the actions of others all the time, and we still get over them. So, why is it so hard for some of us to get over the times in which we have disappointed our parents?
I believe there are a few things you can do to remedy the situation. First of all, think about how you feel regarding this situation: are you disappointed in yourself? Try to explain those feelings to them and have a conversation about your thoughts.
You need to remind yourself that disappointment is not the end of the world. Your parents will move on from it. They will remember and cherish all the moments of pride for you, and those memories will always win. Disappointments are not forever, and they happen once in a while.
The thought of disappointing my parents used to make me cry immediately, but I have gotten better at controlling the tears. We grow up and realize that we are the judges of our own actions. We should be thinking about not disappointing ourselves, about always being proud of what we say or do. The best part is that we can still make our parents proud without the fear of disappointment. Break up with that belief because a disappointment is just a stumble along the way...or so I repeat to myself every morning.
Lara was born in Argentina on Christmas; raised there and in Mexico. She graduated university with a BA in Latin American Literature and then moved to America where she currently lives with her girlfriend and cat. She works at a daycare as an Infant Teacher and during her free time you’ll find her reading or watching several TV shows while drinking diet coke.