Frustration is part of many people’s daily experience. While this is true, our response is completely up to us. This goes hand in hand with EQ and explains why some people cope better with it than other people. In this article, I pose powerful questions to offer an alternative perspective on frustration in order to approach it better.
Picture the following: it is just over 16:00 on a Friday afternoon – the start of peak-hour traffic. Without a doubt, most people are in a hurry to get home, especially after a grueling week. However, there’s one more hurdle to cross: battling through Friday afternoon traffic and dealing with those idiots on the road.
How do you react to them? Frustrated, aggressive, swearing and shouting? What many people don’t realise, is that there’s often a connection between such scenarios and previous events that led to accumulated anger and frustration. To gain better insight into frustration and help you differently next time when you are confronted with it, consider the following questions:
1) Why do I get frustrated? Maybe it’s “the dumb drivers who don’t know how to drive” or “people always disrespect me”.
2) How does getting frustrated impact me? … “It makes me unhappy and more frustrated” (or whatever it is for you).
3) Why do I choose to be unhappy? (Yes, you CHOOSE it, and it means the emotion is in control of you and not other way round!)
Do these questions trigger anger or resistance? Great! Read on!
There’s a subconscious reason for choosing unhappiness/frustration above calmness and joy. If you’re honest with yourself, you might say something like, “I want to punish myself” or “I don’t deserve to be happy” or even “I hate myself”. This means you will seek out experiences that affirms this. I know it’s a difficult realisation, but at the same time it’s a wonderful invitation for growth – letting go of the frustration, anger and other underlying triggers.
In conclusion, how we feel towards others are often a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. When feeling negative towards ourselves, we have to flood ourselves with compassion, kindness and understanding – this is the time we need it most. We can’t hate the world if we love ourselves and we can’t love the world if we hate ourselves!