The slap of disappointment

I’ve gone back and forth all week about whether the world needs my two pennies’ worth about Will Smith’s behaviour at the Oscars. Initially, although the incident shook me a great deal, I decided not to talk about it. However, as the dust has settled, I think I do have an angle that I’ve not heard from anyone else.

Firstly, let me be clear about my stance on what happened. I don’t believe assault is ever justified. In this instance, it’s also worth adding that assaulting someone who’s doing their job is also not acceptable, in my opinion. That said, I also don’t support some of the humour that comedians use at award presentations. Thankfully, I’m not qualified to talk about either of those issues. Instead, I want to talk about living with disappointment.

What do I mean by living with disappointment?

We humans have to contend with many crippling mental health issues. Most are biological, but some are caused by missed opportunities or behaviour that doesn’t match a person’s values. In this instance, we’re talking about disappointment. 

In all honesty, I can remember a number of times in the last ten years when I felt disappointed because I didn’t consider myself clever enough or wise enough. I’ve felt disappointed because I didn’t earn enough and no matter how much I tried not to compare myself, I struggled with the nagging feeling I could and should do better.

I appreciate it’s easy to say, but I know myself, so it isn’t that much of a stretch to imagine that you probably have moments when you consider yourself less than you’d hoped you’d be too.

This is what I mean about living with disappointment. It might be a relationship that isn’t going well or that failed. Maybe it’s the job you lost or even the job you’re stuck in. Whatever it is for you, it can really impact your mental health and even negatively impact your physical health.

When you’re hit with disappointment in a low place, you can even be in danger of the effects of depression, and this can be a dangerous area for any human being to experience.

Unfortunately, it’s often celebrities that end up as the most extreme example of this kind of thing. Robin Williams took his life, Amy Winehouse self-destructed, and Michael Jackson put himself into a medically induced coma that stopped his breathing. These are three high profile examples, all of whom seemed to struggle with peace of mind. Based on my limited knowledge of them, I would argue that they all also battled with disappointment to an extreme extent.

What’s this got to do with Mr Smith?

Since the day Will Smith entered the world of YouTube in 2018, he’s been styling himself as a motivational rabbi come entertainer. He’s become famous for motivational talks and perhaps most notably making peace with Janet Hubert, who played the original Aunt Viv in the fresh prince of Bell-Air. The story goes that she left Fresh Prince because Will had conspired to get her replaced.

During the reconciliation event on HBO in 2020, Will opened up to Janet about the fear that drove his behaviour. He acknowledged his failings, apologised, and I think by the way it looked, it probably helped them both to move forward.

When it’s genuine, there isn’t anything better than reconciliation and the restoration of relationships that have gone wrong.

In his shoes

Now imagine it was you in Will’s shoes at the Oscars. You’ve self-styled yourself as the world’s Dad on youtube and made up for your past mistakes. You’ve even released a book off the back of it. You’re a singer, an actor, and now to cement your legacy, you star in a film that wins you the best actor honour at the Oscars. Then as you transfer into the glory of your legacy, you’re exposed as a profoundly flawed, overstressed, rage-filled egotist, not switched on enough to realise the entire world is watching you commit a crime.

Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t a judgment call on my part. If you’ve been reading closely, I hope you’ll understand I’m talking about the impact of Will Smith not matching up to the idea of who he’s created himself to be. If he’s the man I think he truly is, I imagine he went home and deeply felt those things about himself. 

Furthermore, It’s disturbed me that many people on my social media feeds think what he did was right. What’s crazy is that I’m confident Will Smith himself disagrees with them. There’s no way that this guy has spent all this time trying to convince us that he’s working on his life, making right what he got wrong, just to be exposed like this. 

He’s let himself down, and now he’ll be battling with the disappointment of it. What I think is probably most interesting is what he might be planning to do or say next. I’m certainly ready to listen.

What about our disappointments?

As someone who also struggles with disappointment about who I often think I’m supposed to be, let me say this to you. 

There’s nothing you’re ‘supposed’ to be. This is so important for us all to understand. You might want things for yourself, and some of them might even be achievable, but we all need to work on accepting who we are today. 

Funnily enough, when you’re able to accept and live as the person you’ve become already, you’re far more likely to experience the peace I think we all spend our time looking for!

A final thought…

Like Will Smith, I also like to think of myself as a successful, well-considered, peaceful individual full of patience and love. But in the last few months, I’ve experienced some rage too. Some of the circumstances I’ve been dragged through have felt unfair, and they’ve exposed the real-life human in me more than I generally care to acknowledge. I’ve sulked, privately tantrumed, comfort eaten, drank, complained and protested. And obviously, I’ve felt disappointed in myself too.

In the end, I’ve had to slowly and privately learn to let it all go. Will Smith will need to do that as well, and so will you. The one thing you can’t do is let it take you over. It would help if you kept moving forward, but remember you’re also already acceptable as you are. 

Finally, in church, we often speak a blessing over each other, and this is one I hope you find helpful today. It feels relevant to the subject matter, and it comes from 2 Corinthians 13.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen


Chapter 12: Freedom: Hope and Restoration Stuck in the Mud Podcast

Join me as I read through my book, Stuck in the Mud: Stories of hope for when you're stuck
  1. Chapter 12: Freedom: Hope and Restoration
  2. Chapter 11: Discipleship: Discipleship and the Kingdom of Heaven
  3. Chapter 10: Thankfulness: The Power of Understanding
  4. Chapter 9: Grace: The Gift of Release
  5. Chapter 8: Presence: Learning to be here

4 Comments Add yours

  1. you need to see video where mr. smith’s wife humiliates him about her infidelity aka intanglement. this video was all done for money and publicity. he is a destroyed human being who should be punished and then given our sympathy. he is in a toxic relationship that drove him to violence.


    1. johnprockter says:

      I think that’s a very interesting angle. The angle I’ve chosen for this post is that he’s striving for something, but struggling to match up. What’s interesting with what your saying is that he’s very likely to be struggling with disappointment in his relationship as well. I just hope that family experiences some peace and figures this stuff out.


  2. William Thompson says:

    “There’s nothing you’re SUPPOSED to be” wow John… I’m going to take some time to chew this over. What strikes me is the tension of the already and not yet. Accepting who I am and pressing into taking hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. It’s a tension of faith and I’m encouraged by your insight into this. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. johnprockter says:

      Thanks William. The more I think about this subject matter the more I think it’s a series based on that very thing! “Taking hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me”


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