There's all kinds of frustration - frustration with the guy who’s weaving in and out of the traffic, frustration with the government on how they’re distributing (your) tax dollars and frustration with the customer service representative whose first language is not English.
And frustration is super sneaky. It creeps up. It’s not like anger that shows up full of bluff and bluster. No, frustration is subtle, sometimes to the point of being barely discernible.
Also, frustration lies to you. It tells you that the other person is the problem, not you.
Which you know is a lie, right?
Yeah, it’s not true. It’s not a blaming thing of you’re wrong and they’re right. It’s more of a misunderstanding thing. At the heart of every frustration is the belief, that you aren’t in control of your destiny, that your power, your agency has been taken from you and that you can’t determine the outcome or that you’re being kept from accomplishing your intended outcome. And then you blame the person who appears to be getting in your way.
Let me give an example:
Person A is driving in heavy traffic and it’s moving so slowly. Person A is getting frustrated. She has a meeting in 15 minutes and now she’ll probably be late. Ugh! She starts imagining the repercussions and decides it’s not going to go well. She can't believe this is happening to her, again! This is a problem.
Person B is driving the same traffic. She is also due at a meeting in 15 minutes. She will also be late but she is not frustrated. She calls ahead, explains the situation, offers to reschedule. The other party is irritated but Person B takes no notice of that, she knows everything will turn out well in the end. This is not a problem.
What is the difference between these two women? Person A does not have a clear appreciation for herself or her faith in her ability to handle the situation. Person A is living in reaction to events and is now blaming the traffic for her shitty day to follow.
Person B believes that she is capable, resourceful woman who can handle curveballs. She doesn’t feel the need to take on what other people think of her because she has a clear sense of her own value and self-determination. She responds, rather than reacts. Person B has faith in herself.
Does this make sense?
I know this is a simple example but it does scale, even to the most intimate of relationships with the highest stakes. Frustration comes from a lack of belief in yourself and your power to achieve the outcomes you want in life. So, basically, you don’t have enough faith in yourself.
Yesterday this played out in my own life around my health. I didn't feel empowered to ask for what I wanted with regards to my food choices. I adopted the belief that it was okay for me to go along with everyone else's agenda and I could make do. By the end of the day I was frustrated, tired and irritable and inclined to blame my friends. I felt like I had spent the day reacting to curveballs. If I had started the day with faith in myself, a belief that I am worthy, and asked for what I needed to feel good in my body, I wouldn't have been so frustrated.
So, what if you're frustrated that your son isn’t taking his studies seriously? (I get you, mama!) Frustrated that your husband doesn’t remember to take out the trash?
Frustrated that your best friend can’t seem to get her act together?
There are nuances to this rule-of-thumb, like when when you’re frustrated on behalf of someone else or you’re frustrated that you can’t catch a break.
Read my next post on why that is... coming soon.