What Is Holding You Back?
“Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe.” — Sumner Redstone
Do you often get frustrated with others, maybe yourself, or life’s circumstances? Just when things are going smoothly for you, frustration seems to rear its ugly head. Without warning, you are gripped with a stifling feeling in your chest, which makes you want to scream. Rest assured, we’ve all experienced frustration in our lives. First, frustration is a sign of progress. It means you are pushing the boundaries of what is possible, rather than playing it safe. I like to view frustration as moving faster than the speed of life. We get frustrated with people and circumstances which are not living up to our expectation. Therefore, we ought to slow our thoughts and expectations and not resist what is taking place.
I’m reminded of a quote by author Peter Marshall in which he writes: “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.” Therefore, frustration points the way to progress, despite how conditions may appear. This removes the tension when life appears to be going against us. In fact, it might be our thoughts that need correcting instead of circumstances outside of us. Therefore, if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change. That is, we consider our frustration through a variety of lenses instead of it holding us back. The following points are several strategies to help you deal with this untimely force and make better decisions.
“Needing to have things perfect is the surest way to immobilize yourself with frustration.” — Wayne Dyer
1. Examine Your Thoughts:
When we’re frustrated, we are resisting reality. We are opposing WHAT IS. As spiritual author Byron Katie reminds us in her powerful program, The Work: reality always trumps our thoughts about it. In other words, we cannot force or change conditions outside of us, so it is best to change the way we look at conditions. Reality reflects our inner world, and as we adjust our thoughts, it will coincide with our inner landscape.
2. Frustration Is A Future Event:
Examine your thoughts in the face of frustration. Frustration signifies a desired future event not meeting your expectations in the present moment. In other words, you have disconnected from the present moment. When you are grounded in your NOW experience, you cannot be frustrated, since all your needs are met. When the external world does not match your inner world, frustration ensues. Therefore, come back to the present moment and be mindful of what is taking place there. Get your mind out of the future and stay as long as you can in the present.
3. Acknowledge The Frustration:
Many people deny their frustrations, assuming it’s inappropriate to feel this way. I’m suggesting that you acknowledge the frustration and witness it without judgement. Get in touch with the energy of the frustration, rather than become embroiled in the emotion. Where does frustration show up in your body? What is its colour? What do you think frustration wants you to know? What do you want frustration to know? Dialogue with it and see if you can better understand it, instead of being separate from it.
4. Frustration Begins In The Mind:
Appreciate that frustration are thoughts charged with an emotional intensity. An emotion is simply energy in motion. Therefore, try to catch the thought before it transforms into a toxic emotion and spirals out of control. There’s a moment when a thought migrates into a powerful emotion or a debilitating one. Be aware when your thoughts are out of alignment with your external reality. When you can observe your thoughts, it puts the brakes on them spiralling out of control. You create space around the thought instead of becoming embroiled in it.
5. Use Mindfulness Techniques:
A useful strategy for dealing with frustration is mindfulness. This practice invites you to bring your frustrated thoughts to the forefront of your mind. Sit with them, as though you are consoling a small child that is hurt. There’s nothing to do other than offer your presence to the thought. Close your eyes and translate the thoughts into images if that helps you. View the thoughts as though rehearsing a mental imagery of a scene. Remember the Viewmaster toy you played with as a child? That little red box you looked into for hours with 3D images on a circular paper wheel. Give your imagined scene similar life by noticing the colours, sounds and other appealing aspects.
6. Frustration Is A Sign Of Progress:
Frustration means you are making headways in areas of your life and experiencing personal growth. As I mentioned earlier, you’re moving faster than the speed of the growth taking place. It is why you encounter frustration when you venture into uncharted waters, because you are venturing out of your comfort zone. Similar to taking a road trip, one cannot know in advance the detours and obstacles that lie ahead. When you stumble upon obstacles, the best course of action is to confront it.
Considering this, there is no right or wrong way to deal with frustration. It’s a learning curve steeped with detours and roadblocks. In time and with patience, you’ll master the emotion in a relaxed and peaceful manner instead of resisting it and creating further tension. In summary, the key to mastering frustration is reflected in the following points:
- Don’t allow frustration to overwhelm you.
- Learn from the frustration by getting curious about it.
- Don’t give up on yourself, despite how things appear.
- Learn the valuable lessons contained within the experience.