“Don’t let me down gently if you have to let me down at all” ~ The Wonder Stuff
Or, as defined by my dictionary
Letdown (n): an occasion when somebody or something disappoints expectations or the feeling of disappointment that results
We human beings are fallible. We’d all prefer not to be but we are. It’s not possible to go through life without making mistakes or suffering at the hands of others from mistakes they make. We set standards for ourselves, for others, and when things fail we can be left feeling horribly letdown.
It’s an awful feeling. Even if you can completely understand why a plan has to be changed or cancelled, or something doesn’t come through, being letdown is a kick in the teeth. And it’s impossible to go through life without being letdown. No-one lives that much of a charmed existence. From not getting that puppy or pony or kitten as a child to the sale of your house falling through as an adult, sometimes things just don’t work out.
The greater the expectation, the harder the letdown is. If you’ve looked forward to an event for a long time then a cancellation will be a blow. If we think highly of another and they act in a way we dislike or disapprove of then disappointment is inevitable.
Of course, what’s really horrible is being the one being the letdown. Whether you have to cancel a drink with a friend because something came up at work or you behave in a way that fails someone else’s standard of you, you know when you’ve done it. It’s a little bit of guilt or unease that niggles away inside you.
More than anything, we let outselves down. I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t set a higher standard of behaviour on themselves than they do on others. Determined to be the best, the smartest, the most perfect; we can doom ourselves to failure before we even start. That’s not to say it is wrong to have ambition. I believe in striving for more and better. But I also believe it’s important to not view it as a competition but as a means of being the best ‘you’ you can be.
I impose my own standards and I hate to let people down. But it happens. It happens because I’m sometimes selfish, sometimes forgetful, sometimes thoughtless. I’ve let people down for speaking up when they wanted me to be quiet and for being quiet when others wanted me to speak up. I’ve let friends down by cancelling plans at the last minute just because. And I’ve fucked up my love life quite spectacularly at times by making the choices and in doing so letting myself and others down. All these things don’t happen cos I’m a nasty person (I sincerely hope). I’m just human and get it wrong sometimes. I stop trying to be my best me. And in these actions I don’t believe I am alone.
So what about you guys? Do you get that niggle too when you let someone down? And has life kicked you in the teeth with letdowns sometimes too? Do let me know your thoughts, as always, on a comment box-shaped postcard.