Life is filled with frustrations. They can range from minor irritations such as losing something like a set of keys, to full on frustration when you seem to be failing to meet a desired goal.
Frustration, as an emotion, occurs whenever you feel blocked from reaching your desired outcome, in the way in which you had envisioned getting there.
For example, in the morning, getting ready to go to work, you likely have a routine you follow, day in and day out. One morning however, something goes amiss…you can’t find your keys, the car won’t start, one of your children are sick, etc. You anticipated the morning would go one way and suddenly it takes a turn, which means you likely feel slightly (or maybe not so slightly) annoyed or irritated. The frustration occurs, not because you will never get to work, but because you anticipated things to go one way and they went another.
There are times when we can become frustrated with external things, like other people or objects. To some extent, we expect from time to time to have these things irritate us, because after all, most of us recognize we can’t control everything and everyone.
More importantly to be aware of though, is when the frustration is being internally driven by you. It is in those situations where you have set a sequence of steps, a time frame, or standard for yourself that you, in a moment, are unable to achieve and as a result you become frustrated with you.
On the surface, you would think that only being frustrated in yourself would be easier to handle, by quite the contrary. Internal frustration involves the disappointment you get when you cannot have something because of some sort of real or imagined deficiencies such as not being capable, or confident, etc. It can be harmful because it can result in things like anger or lashing out, quitting, losing confidence in oneself, stress, etc. In other words, it can be quite damaging to one’s psyche.
It would be unrealistic to believe that you will never have moments of frustration, however there are things you can do to minimize the response.
- Recognize that sometimes you set for yourself impossible limitations. No one is perfect and sometimes it is in the imperfection you obtain the greatest learning.
- Take a step back to gain some perspective. Chances are whatever you are frustrated at or in, in this moment, will be nothing a week or a month from now.
- Take a break and relax. Or move on to something else, even for just a short period of time, to allow yourself to regroup and to improve your own state of mind before tackling the situation again.
- Ask for help. Doing the same thing over and over again, will not get you a different result. Sometimes, simply getting a fresh set of eyes on the situation can bring with it new ideas and thoughts, which might be useful.
- Give yourself a break. Instead of telling yourself all the things you can’t do, take a moment to reflect on the things that you can do. It is easy to forget about the other amazing skills and talents you might be able to bring to this problem.
Frustration is inevitable and because of that, you can either allow it to become something to avoid and by doing this, get nowhere. Or you can learn to embrace it and use it to motivate you, to look at things in a different way. Your choice.