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How to handle the disappointment of missed milestones

While staying at home is definitely the safe thing to do right now for ourselves and for others, that also means that many of the milestones we would be celebrating together i.e., prom, graduation, holidays, and birthdays, aren’t happening as we had hoped. Those missed milestones can’t and shouldn’t be ignored, the feelings of loss are very real. Lisa Mitchell, Communications Expert & Founder of Power Body Language has a few tips on how to have conversations around the things that are being missed:  

1) Don’t Fail To
Acknowledge That Important Things Aren’t Being Missed   

Although you may be required to stay inside and cut back or eliminate your physical connections with the outside world, it doesn’t mean that watching important dates on the calendar come and go without the celebrations you were hoping for should be forgotten or ignored. There are going to be feelings about missing these things and you need to be open about the disappointment you or your loved ones might be experiencing during this time. Don’t add insult to injury by being dismissive, downplaying the importance, or acting like nothing happened. 

2) Be Supportive Of
The Other Experience Others Are Having 

Maybe you’re totally
fine with a holiday looking totally different from how it has in years passed
but maybe others in your family aren’t OK with the new normal and are
experiencing a range of emotions from disappointment to sadness to anger.
Everyone is processing this experience differently and it’s important that you
allow them to feel all the feelings and express themselves however they need to
(as long as it doesn’t cause harm to themselves or others). 

There is no
“right” way to feel right now and having patience and empathy towards
the experience they are having as milestones continue to be missed or modified
is key to helping them feel safe and OK.  

3) Get

The disappointment of
missing major milestones like a prom, graduation, athletic competitions, or
wedding is real. There is a void where that important event should be and
although you might not be able to “fix” it or recreate the moment
exactly as they were hoping, a little creativity can go a long way towards making
that moment still feel special for them. 

What are some other
ways that you and the people that are important to them can help them feel
special, seen, and acknowledged? Maybe it’s using social media to create a page
or event where people can join remotely to celebrate? Maybe it’s coordinating a
safe, social-distanced, drive by of friends and relatives to show support and
encouragement? Maybe it’s a scaled back or personalized version of a major
event that can be recorded and shared with those closest to them. 

A quick Google
search, look around Pinterest, or scroll through Instagram or Facebook brings
up lots of creative ideas on how you can still make those key moments feel
special and help soften the blow of disappointment. 

The ultimate goal is to make the special moments still feel special, even if it looks a little (or a lot!) different that you had hoped it would. 

For more from Lisa, visit or connect on Instagram at @lisamitchellindy.