There are many barriers to resolving conflict but this one is prevalent in most mediations, in one form or another.
The feeling of disappointment, disappointment wrapped up in the sadness about the end of a relationship, disappointment about another persons actions, disappointment in an outcome and, probably, most damaging of all, disappointment in oneself.
The fact is, that feelings of disappointment often flow from a sense of expectation, however strong. So, if expectations can be carefully managed so can the resulting feelings of disappointment.
Expectations are the prisoners of our own mind, imposed limits on our thinking. They are created by us and are therefore manageable by us. We have a responsibility to do so.
Therefore, if something happens to us or something is done to us that leads to disappointment it is important that we reflect on why we are disappointed, what expectations these feelings of disappointment were based on and what WE can do about these, so that these feelings do not take hold of us or have power over us.
I often say to my client, as difficult as this may be, before coming into mediation, as part of their mental preparation, it is important for them to remain as open minded as possible, not planning for any particular outcome but rather focus on committing to a fair process out of which fair solutions to their particular circumstances, will emerge.
The more fixed and rigid my clients are about a particular outcome and the stronger their sense of entitlement and self-justification in respect of this outcome or position, the more difficult they are likely to find the mediation process which requires an open, honest, flexible, curious and patient approach.
I explained to them that there is a constant need to consider and reflect on each others perspectives in an attempt to create and design an outcome, based on an open and flexible process, that it is fair to them both, incorporating as many things as possible which are important to each of them and both of them.
If they are committed to and able to focus their minds and attention on maintaining this kind of approach and working together with mediator to achieve this, rather than feeling disappointed in the mediated outcome, they are likely to end up feeling emotionally and psychologically empowered by the process and achieve an outcome that feels fair to them both stands the test of time.
So far as the potential for disappointment is concerned, if each person in mediation is realistic about their expectations, widening the mental limits of expectations it will reduce the likelihood of disappointment and the negative feelings and reactions that often follow this.