Dealing with Disappointment and Frustration.

I know many of you are feeling disappointed with the end of the summer and frustrated either going back in to school, or college or having your friends going back. Disappointment can be one of the most uncomfortable emotions we have to deal with. Frustration can so easily tip over in to misdirected anger. So, I thought I would share this tale with you as part of our PSHE.

As you may know I like going up mountains and have been up a lot of European ones. But since living in England have not done much in the conquering of the four of the UK. So, I have set out changing that.

I have made it to the top of Carrauntoohil, which is the highest in Ireland and was a tricky day out. I have also reached the summit of Croagh Patrick, which overlooks Clew Bay in County Mayo and is considered the holiest mountain in Ireland. Holy it may be, but on our descent, I slipped and fell near the top, travelling some distance down the side of Croagh Patrick on my bottom and back. I had to walk very painfully all the way back to the hotel with my coat tied around my waste to cover my embarrassment of having my very bruised and battered bottom on display: as the rocks had shredded my jeans to nothing. More a ‘hole-ly’ than a holy experience!

I have tried five times to conquer Snowdon. On each occasion, I have tried in the past, the mountain has been closed on the day. Once, due to a school party who had managed to mislay themselves on another peak and all the mountain rescue teams had been deployed looking for them and so walkers were asked not to ascend Snowdon until the children were found. The four other times Snowdon was closed due to the winds at the summit being over 70 miles an hour. That is five times we have booked hotels and driven the five hours there and driven the five hours back without success. Disappointment and frustration all round.

Just because we want to do something doesn’t mean it will happen, sometimes we must accept that life happens and we may have to wait for something, or some events to work out. With this kind of disappointment — and even more serious ones —there are five steps to follow. I have added my thinking beside each point as an example.

  1. Manage your emotion – “I know that I am feeling disappointed and why. I will try to let it go.”

  2. Don’t take it personally – “Snowdon is not trying to prevent me from climbing it. It’s a mountain after all. It just feels like that because I am frustrated.”

  3. Review expectations – “Climbing mountains is a weather based activity and sometimes the weather is not good. They close the mountain to keep people safe.”

  4. Take a big picture perspective – “My husband and I have had some great holidays in Wales trying to get up the mountain, we stay in a lovely hotel and it is time well spent together.”

  5. Try again — or try another tack – “It has taken six times to reach the top – but we did reach the top this time.”

The photographs posted here are from our sixth attempt. We started off in calm reasonably warm weather and the forecast was good. As we went further up the wind picked up. We passed the half way mark and we were still ok to continue this time, we passed the ¾ mark and the wind was gathering strength. I didn’t really want to turn back at this point. So onwards we went. The summit was not quite in sight as you can see, the clouds had descended and visibility was very poor. However, it was good enough for us to find the marker to show we made it. Just seconds after I took that photograph, as we were about to have a celebratory photograph together, the wind snatched my glasses off my face and away down over the edge and out of sight before anyone could react. That was the last I saw of the mountain, as without my glasses I can only just about see my feet. Yep! I had to descend without seeing where I was going. A long cold and damp journey back to the hotel holding on to my poor husband every step of the way.

As for my glasses, they are going to be expensive to replace and it will take two weeks to have them made. At least, this time, my backside wasn’t hanging out of my trousers and nobody got hurt and we both made it back down safely. I feel like I have conquered Snowdon and next year we will try another route up before we tackle Ben Nevis in Scotland.


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