noun: frustration: the feeling of being upset or annoyed, esp. because of inability to change or achieve something.
In our day to day lives we often come across obstacles to which we have no control. People that cause us undo stress, can also be a big headache. When that car cuts you off in traffic, and you just want to run them down and…well, I’m sure you’ve been there. I’m sure you’ve been told, ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’, and at that moment you’d rather to take every print copy of the book of the same title and start a bonfire than take their advice. Unfortunately, that type of behavior is frowned upon, and we therefore must learn to cope.
Coping is easier said than done. I’m an ARMY veteran. I’m accustomed to giving an order to a group of people and have that order followed to the letter. What I had to come to grip with in the “real” world is people have a much different approach. You can not expect others to react to a situation in a particular way or time for that manner. You have to do what you do, and let them be who or how they will be in situations. Control what’s in your power, and the rest will fall into place. As one of my mentors said to me today, ‘Don’t focus on the negative. Even when frustrated, in the midst of negativity there are always positives. Focus on those and they’ll get your through.
I’m a work in progress so…
I’ve looked for the triggers that cause you to feel frustration. I hope this helps you on your journey to “Copenation”. (via http://www.wikihow.com/Cope-With-Frustration)
Common ones include:
- Impatience at the speed of people, systems, or results (See How to Be Patient)
- Slow comprehension of facts or a situation by another person
- Lack of reliability of a person, item, or system (See How to Stop Dealing With Someone Else’s Lateness)
- General sense of unfairness or injustice about things that are occurring in your life (See How to Be Optimistic)
- Poor communications resulting in something not being done at all, or on time
- Wanting things your own way without compromise
Think through your answers. Do any of the above situations apply to you? If so, note down why. Draw another column and suggest ways that you might address each frustration in a fruitful manner instead. For example:
- “I get frustrated when the traffic crawls to halt and I am sitting in it, sweating. Counter thought: “I do hate the traffic being slow but I can avoid it by leaving earlier or later; or I can ride a bike instead.”
- “I cannot stand the way George is so slow at understanding the point of every exercise! I’m tearing out my hair!” Counter thought: “I know that George is a slow learner but my goodness, when he grasps the concepts finally, there is no stopping him and he is often the person who points out errors as we go along, helping us to avoid greater problems at the end of the project. I need to be patient with him and remember that he has this latent skill.”
- “Jenny never turns up on time. It’s as if she is deliberately trying to ruin every occasion I spend with her!” Counter-thought: “Jenny has a problem with punctuality. It’s not my problem unless I make it one. Instead, I need to either make her arrive on time by suggesting she arrive at a time half an hour earlier than the real time set, or I just need to get on with enjoying myself until she does arrive, in the full knowledge that that is her way.”
- “Everything is so unfair! Even the weather is against me making my hair all lank and horrible. The people on the street are deliberately bumping into me. The taxi was late and I was late going into the meeting as a result. The whole world is against me!” Counter thought: “It’s just one of those days where things happen over which I have little control. All the same, next time I will book my taxi for half an hour earlier to make time for possible delays. And as for my hair, it is probably time to see the hair stylist anyway!”
2. Breathe deeply and count when you feel a bout of frustration coming on. This is a good opportunity to create your reaction rather than to react and create your frustration. One deep breath, followed by a slow count to ten, during which time you let your thoughts go. Return to reality and consider the situation before you carefully and with a reality check. Ask yourself:
- Are things really as I perceive them?
- What sort of reaction can I give that will properly express my concern, my annoyance, my wishes?
- What good and positive words can I use to express the need for seeing things my way too?
- Am I seeing things in other people’s way too?
3. Remember that frustration is born of wanting things or people to be a certain way that is fixed in your head. Your expectations of others and of how the world works is formed over many years of experiences and sometimes your personal overlay is defective; it might have been a source of self-protection once but when it continues to advise you poorly for future experiences, then it is stuck in time, and generally plain wrong. When you cease to expect other people to act in a certain way, when you start to look at the world with fresh eyes again and expect nothing apart from the fact that you are a member of a community of individuals and a world of many happenings, then you start to realize that things happen, people are the way that they are, and most importantly of all, how you react matters. For example:
Let’s say that somebody yells at you for accidentally standing on the street, as you intend to cross the road at the same time that they’re coming around. There is no real fault here. You thought the road was clear, the driver did too. Neither of you had malicious intent. To take offense at the driver’s fear of running you over is to place an interpretation on this event that isn’t there; instead, accept that the driver was scared they’d hurt you (and that’s a good intent) and that your piece in the action was equal. Simply apologize, acknowledge your own scare in the situation, and move on.
4. Practice talking back to yourself every time that frustration arises. It takes a long time to overcome what has become essentially a very comforting but demoralizing habit. While it might feel justified to feel a sense of outrage, persecution, and insult, where do those types of self-pitying feelings ultimately lead you? They lead to personal stagnation and a victimhood type mentality that prevents you from growing as a human being and from experiencing what the whole world truly has to offer. Don’t give up on letting go the grip of frustration; it will take time but it will happen if you put in a concerted effort to change your perspective.