is it okay to disappoint others
#MondayMusings - #Write28Days - Authenticity

Is It Okay To Disappoint Others?

I signed up for Anita Ojeda’s #Write28Days Challenge over a month ago. This is something I really want to do, as part of writing a lot more in this year of yes. Life provided me with the perfect excuse to give this up (more about this in another post). But my theme for these 28 days was to write bravely, to write authentically and this is who I am at present. The only person who would be disappointed about not doing this challenge is Me. In the past, I would disappoint myself, but try my hardest not to disappoint others.

Is It Okay To Disappoint Others?

If you are an Indian, like me, you’ll know that we hardwired not to disappoint others. It’s ingrained in us. We’re always reminded to do what pleases our parents, our extended family and society at large. We feel the weight of these expectations in every major decision we take.

I spent a great deal of my life trying very hard to live up to standards of behaviour and choices set for me by others. It’s only when I truly started to be myself, that I began to disappoint others. My parents, my family and my friends found it hard to handle the real me that started to emerge.

While most people in my life found it difficult to come to terms with a people pleaser suddenly saying ‘no’, I too had to come to terms with the fact that I was inadvertently hurting and disappointing people.

It Is Okay

I began to ask myself if it was okay to disappoint others. And I realized that it was indeed okay and here’s why:

If I want my life to be meaningful, I have to be authentic. I have to live out loud and be honest about how I feel, what I want, and what’s important to me.

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Dr Suess

I have to learn to say ‘yes’ to what’s important and make time to follow my passions, and do what inspires me, I have to learn to say ‘no’ to the demands that others might make on my time and resources.

If it’s not an absolute ‘yes,’ it’s a ‘no’.

Cheryl Richardson

I cannot live an authentic life, if I base all my decisions and actions on the expectations of others. As Anne Lamott wisely said: “Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.” I might end up disappointing others, but I certainly don’t want to live a life resenting people when I allow their expectations to rule my life.

Today, let us remind each other that we are right where we’re supposed to be – right here, right now, moving at the pace we’re supposed to and trying our best to be ourselves.

I’d love to hear how you feel about disappointing others? Do share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.


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An inspirational writer, a creativity and writing trainer/coach, I write about life, gratitude, healing, wellness, relationships at Everyday Gyaan. I offer training/coaching to anyone looking to explore their creativity and heal through writing via The Frangipani Creative, located in Secunderabad, India. You can also find me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for my weekly newsletter, Bytes of Gyaan, on Substack.

20 Comments on “Is It Okay To Disappoint Others?

  1. Learning to be authentic is one of the hardest and most valuable lessons we can learn in life. I love Anne Lamott’s thoughts on expectations and resentment. Good luck to you in the 28 day challenge. I will be interested in reading your thoughts on the experience.

  2. Popping in to great you from the #write28days challenge. I struggle with the fear of disappointing others — my children, my boss, my husband. I a slowly realizing that I cannot please everyone. I loved the quote you shared by Anne Lamott. Blessings to you!

  3. It’s fine to disappoint people who have no right to expect you to be other than you are: parents, children, friends, and strangers.

    That said, I think it’s inevitable – but not “okay” – to disappoint someone we have a social contract with: a spouse, a business partner or a friend we’ve made a commitment to, or a child when it comes to the duties we owe them by choosing to bring them into this world. We don’t owe them “the perfect parent.” We owe them love, the basic necessities, and protection. Likewise with spouses – we owe it to them to be the same person they married. By that, I refer only to the core values. We don’t owe it to them to be ever-unchanging, stagnant. But we do owe them what we promised in the marriage vows. We owe our parents kindness and respect, provided they have not been abusive or humiliated us in public.

    We owe NO ONE a reshaping of ourselves to fit THEIR mold. We owe each other our authentic selves, and sometimes figuring out what that means is harder for us than it is for others who know us almost better than we know ourselves. I think that struggling to please others, all the time, rarely pleases anyone – and that’s where disappointment comes in. If you let people think that’s your highest value in life, selflessly pleasing others, then you take a moment for yourself and they are “disappointed,” you’ve sort of set them up to BE disappointed.

    I’ve known you a while now, Corinne, and I struggle to imagine you disappointing anyone but yourself. Embrace your life – it’s the only one we’re guaranteed, no matter what our beliefs in an “afterlife.” Be you. That’s more than enough.

  4. There’s food for thought here. We’re so focussed on not disappointing others that we often end up being unfair to ourselves. Also, this line: If it’s not an absolute ‘yes,’ it’s a ‘no’ — really resonated with me. I tend to keep things in a limbo because I cannot bring myself to say a straight out No, though that would really ease my life.

  5. It takes a great deal of reflection, and courage to be true to self and say no to things that don’t resonate with you. In the process, you are bound to disappoint some people – I am still on that journey of being authentic. Your post made me pause and ponder about it.

  6. This reminds me of what someone (wise) told me long back “we Indians are number one when it comes to feeling guilty”
    It is anextension of what you said – should we please everyone.

  7. Hi Corinne – it might be an Indian thing to constantly strive to please others, but it’s also a woman thing and an oldest child thing – so I’ve been an expert on it over the years too. Since hitting my 50’s I’ve been trying to say No more often and if it means disappointing others, then that just has to be accepted as part of the fallout – mostly those who truly care for us will understand and not hold us to a standard that’s impossible to keep. For others who don’t, I’m not too bothered about disappointing them!

  8. Hi Corinne, how very true! Although, I’ll confess that I found it hard to work through my ‘people pleasing’ approach. I was also trained in that but connecting with my values and what I wanted in life made the biggest impact to me. Actually, it was a relief! As you say, we shouldn’t live life for other people and their expectations. We should live it for what we believe in 🙂

  9. It’s so hard to reverse a people-pleasing lifestyle–but it’s so necessary! The art of saying ‘no’ is a delicate one. I’ve been learning to say, “I’m honored that you asked, but I must say no to your request so that I can say ‘yes’ to the things I’ve already committed to.”

  10. “Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.” Absolutely! I wouldn’t purposely disappoint someone. But people have reported about the disappointments I had caused them. What can I do! In my opinion, no matter how hard we try not to disappoint anybody, somebody will be disappointed in us. That’s it. As you said, why live a life of resentment trying to please everyone else!?

  11. This is something that I have discovered about myself over the course of the last decade or so. We really are trained to be “people pleasers”. All our happiness depends on being acknowledged and appreciated by others. I now know that what I think of myself is the most important thing. This has made me more opened up than before. But yes, disappointing people is a part of that journey. But then, I have been disappointed with many people over the span of my life. So I guess I am one of the last few to understand this concept of “self-love” and “being your authentic self”. I used to go into a shell if I didn’t agree with someone or something. Now I speak my mind. And that is not always appreciated. But I now have a “who cares” attitude.

  12. I can relate to this post in two really big ways. For much of my adult life, when I have offered to do something for someone, I have always followed the offer by saying, “I only offer to do things I am willing and able to do.” My assumption being, no resentment involved. But I have come to realize that I had a tendency to “over extend” myself. Another way, with a couple of friends, two in particular, whenever they would call me, I was available. Even if I was working on something, I made myself available without counting the cost, because they were good friends and I cared about them. Now, I realize the reverse was not true, or does not seem to be true now. Life gets busy. So wow! It is okay, it has to be okay to disappoint others, especially if they have undue expectations of you. I noticed Laurie’s comment and yes, I too would be interested to hear what your feelings are after completing this writing challenge. #MondayMusings, Blessings, Michele

  13. I can relate to this. People pleasing is so ingrained in us, but the more I read, the more I realize that this really isn’t the way to live. What’s the point of spending life resenting others, when we can spend our time and energy on the things that truly matter to us. Some bit of flexibility is perhaps needed for our closest relationships, but again, we do need to know our boundaries.

  14. God never called us to be people pleasers, only to serve Him & love others. In my life I have often struggled with two opposing habits:

    1) Trying to keep everyone happy ‐ This is impossible!

    2) Opening my mouth before my brain is fully engaged – this has gotten me in more trouble than I would care to admit.

  15. I don’t mind disappointing people at all. I started practicing saying no a few years ago when I realised as much I have been spending my life as per the elders’ expectations, their expectations never cease, and at the same time, I felt I was stretching myself to fit their bill. If I am not happy in my heart doing a certain thing, for someone or due to someone, I will not simply do it. And if I agree to do it, I tell myself I take responsibility for myself to do it with stability and not feel miserable.

  16. There is so much truth in your post, Corinne and I know I’ve been exactly the same dilemma for the longest time in my life and now, being authentic to my true self, it feels so wrong to have lived by the standards that others have set for us.
    It’s still a constant struggle to convince others especially striking the delicate balance between our needs and those who comprise our close family, particularly where our interests seem to clash.

  17. I used to be a people pleaser, I did and said things just to make others happy and get accepted by them. However, I changed drastically and now I am considered as one of the most outspoken persons who would never say anything just to please others. If you ask me, I honestly don’t know how and when I changed. Perhaps some hardships in life made me realise that there is no point in pleasing others.

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