Frustration is what we feel when our expectations for someone else’s behaviors, or the outcome of a situation, are violated. Violation of our expectations implies a certain underlying sense of entitlement as to what we think we deserve. When we don’t get what we are expecting, we feel frustrated.
The key to managing frustration is to realize that we don’t control other people. We have no control over what others think, say, feel, or do. Trying to control or make ourselves responsible for other people or situations is just going to cause stress, exhaustion, and yes… frustration.
The only thing we truly control is ourselves. What we think, what we say to ourselves and others, and what we do. If you find yourself feeling tense, frustrated, stressed out or exhausted at the end of the day, ask yourself where it came from. Did you spend your day scrambling around the office doing things for other people so they would think favorably of you? Did you spend your day stewing about “if my spouse really cared about me, he/she would have done what I asked”? Or “I can’t believe they brought donuts to work again… don’t they know I’m trying to lose weight???”
When we stop giving other people the responsibility to keep us happy, and truly accept that responsibility ourselves, it lifts a huge burden off of everyone involved. It frees us to live to our own standards and not to waste energy trying to please others, or waiting for them to please us. So next time you notice yourself feeling frustrated, take the time to stop and figure out why. Where are your expectations being violated? Are those expectations fair and reasonable? And what could you do to take control of your own feelings so you’re not depending on others to decide what your experience is going to be like today?