Is there a more pointless emotion than frustration? It serves no useful purpose other than emotional feedback that something in our status quo needs to change. More than likely that change is one of perception.
A long and mentally challenging day at work is rarely a factor of the actual activities we’ve engaged in, but rather the sense of impotence in achieving our goals.
There are many ways to define frustration; I like to define it as the gap between what we want and what we’ve got.
To eliminate this debilitating emotion we need to do one of two things: change our focus on what we want or accept that something’s are not in our control and move in the direction of that which we can control.
If the kids are doing your head in, or the boss, or your spouse, you do have a choice. Regression is the response of what I call the spoilt brat! Throw a tantrum, sulk, cry and any number of other manipulative performances.
However whilst this may provide temporary respite from our feelings of helplessness as we hook others into our ‘poor me drama,’ the long-term consequences are that people start to treat us like kids and become immune to our cravings.
Sadly, frustration is no laughing matter and there are many unstable individuals locked up due to letting emotions such as disappointment gradually escalate into despair, anger and eventually into irrational out pourings of anger and sometimes violence.
We are all calibrated differently with different trigger points and coping abilities. However once we become self aware of what’s actually going on emotionally then we start to become empowered with regard to our calculated response as opposed to the more typical knee jerk reaction.
Impulse control is mostly a factor of being tuned in to the moment and being aware of the bigger picture and consequences of our actions. Many regrets in life are the result of acting on impulse, when in the clear light of day we wonder why we acted so irrationally.
Alcohol for example is a well-known inhibitor of rational thought and the consequences of impulsive drunken behavior are well documented.
The message? Be aware of your ability to handle frustration before it consumes you. If you feel you can’t, then make some changes. Change job, relationship, or whatever is creating the most stress OR adapt and start to care less.
As the line in Desiderata states: perhaps “the universe is unfolding as it should”