I am not a psychologist, neither am I a psychiatrist. I have no license to read the mind of others. But I have the audacity to tinker with an emotionally charged topic. Why? Because I’m not a chicken; I want to say something...
Though seasoned words seem shy to come my way, there is plenty to draw from personal experience mixed with a potent dose of random observation.
The definition of this word is as diverse as those forming opinions of it. Yea, this thing causes depression and despair. For ages, it has been a surrogate marker for feeble effort and unrealistic expectations. Without further ado, I introduce the phantom frustration: the emotion that ensues when ones actions do not lead to intended outcomes. It reminds me of the sense of impotence that comes when ones expressed intentions collides unfavorably with massive reality. For some, it feels as if adult is bullying a toddler.
Frustration is a part of life, yet it is largely a problem of perception (most frustrations are self imposed). Ironically, it can be a component of joy's fabric just like failure is a part of success. Wouldn’t life be boring if every single event swings to your favor (I mean to finest strand of detail)? I don’t expect every odd to swing my way. It is part of learning and adventure.
E + R = O
E = Events, which to a large extent, are beyond your control. (It is a constant, yet unpredictable sometimes!) E.g. Natural disasters, seasons of life, Disease outbreak, betrayal, death, failure, criticism, property loss or damage e.t.c. (I forgot to mention sunrise and sunset!)
R= Response (a variable which you are largely in control of) i.e. How you respond to E. Frustration, zeal, gratitude, motivation, enterprise, innovation, disappointment, despair, optimism, insight, fear, elation, etc. are examples.
O: Outcome i.e. WIN or LOSE.
Basically, if event E is negative (say -10) and your response R is positive (11), you win still. It is simple math.
Being a plus-or-minus kind of emotion, frustration can toughen up one's resolve to achieve a worthy cause. Sometimes, healthy discontentment is required for progress. It can force you to think outside the box, the necessity that mothers invention. On the other hand, if allowed to sting, confidence can leak out rapidly, as anger wells up. If care isn’t taken fast, the victim could become a walking bomb.
Impatience is manure for frustration. I had to learn the hard way that progress is sequential, incremental and time bound. There is a defined sequence of events and timing required to actualize a worthy end. I revel in Tolstoy’s dictum: patience and time are indeed the most powerful warriors. Anyway, It is sad people wind up frustrated simply because they were unrealistic in the timing project(s) they embarked on, especially when it concerns expected date of completion. I remind myself not to underestimate the long term or overestimate the short term. I mean: why would a pregnant woman expect to deliver a healthy baby before term (9 months on average)? When you fail to plan properly (or fail to create some wriggle room for eventualities/ randomness/ uncertainty), don’t complain lady fortune jilted you...
Personally, when I feel frustrated, I get angry and restless, I tire easily, and I feel like quitting (depressed). However, this dark cloud has some silver lining (priceless insight)...I learned that pain points (like frustration) are problems begging for solutions. Frustration told me what the problem was and I swung into action. I also realized I hate to lose, so I wrestle tragedy to protect my dignity. Sometimes, frustration is like an angel telling me that the path I’m threading leads to a dead end; I better find a better way. I feel no shame exposing my shortfall. After all, if I score 3 and my opponent scores 2, I win. I am a victor if I’ve leveraged frustration more times than I’ve been downed by it.
You’re frustrated, so what..? Calm down and dissociate yourself from the commotion; be thankful for the little things of life. Peel off the mass of frustration layer by layer, and you may be surprised to discover it is nothing but passion in disguise! My main course is served!!!
The following random insights would make a good dessert:
- Flex your choice muscle! Muscle moves skeleton.
- Don’t be too quick to conclude on events.
- Don’t over-analyze situations. Just do it, if you have to (especially when your life is at stake).
- Always do your best and leave it at that.
- If you love yourself, you’ll want to get rid of frustration; if you are prone to frustration, the chances of hating and hurting yourself is high.
- On this swirling planet of ours, the sun shines on the kind and the wicked alike, whether you like it or not. It’s not your duty to judge others, or ordain their fate.
- As you navigate into the future, pick the bare necessities from the past (good memories/lessons), and factor it in the puzzle of the present. Toss toxic memories out the window...
- What you continually emphasize on swells, be it good or bad. It is smart to focus on what you can change, not what you can’t.
- Memory has no meaning except the one you give it; you cannot change your past.
- Oftentimes, the universe pays no heed to human plans. Therefore make due allowance for the randomness of life.
- Philosophical calmness in the face of chaos is a seal of nobility. If circumstance doesn’t give a damn about you, don’t give a damn about it too. Have an internal buffer such that your moods wouldn’t fluctuate unduly with circumstance.
- Never rely solely on the approval of others.
- Learn to forgive yourself; Life is too short for regrets.
- Never give up on yourself by giving in to frustrations.
- Nobody is immune to frustration.
- It is uncertainty that makes adventure quite thrilling.
I conclude by leaving my favorite paragraph. I lifted it from frank Herbert’s fiction Novel Dune...:
The universe is just there; that’s the only way a Fedaykin can view it and remain the master of his senses. The universe neither threatens nor promises. It holds things beyond our sway: the fall of a meteor, the eruption of a spiceblow, growing old and dying. These are realities of this universe and they must be faced regardless of how you feel about them. You cannot fend off such realities with words. They will come at you in their own wordless way and then, then you will understand what is meant by ‘’life and death’’. Understanding this you will be filled with joy.
Please wrestle frustration to win. Don’t concede to tragedy!
Thank you for reading my post.