A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. – Winston Churchill
Which one are you? Uuuummm…..me. I’m a little bit of both, depending on the situation, I guess. Probably NOT the best answer, but it’s who I am.
You might say I have a split-personality, depending on what’s going on around me. A little silly, I know. For me, in many situations, I have one emotion that reigns far above all the rest. Frustration.
I get frustrated A LOT!!! It’s the “F” word in my vocabulary. The ten-letter word that is used when I cannot (or don’t quite know how to) express my feelings. It’s a “cop-out” actually….an emotion to refer to when nothing else will do.
But, what does being frustrated actually mean?
As I look back over this week (especially the last couple of days) in my opinion, I have had some moments of frustration.…
In one of our “marriage moments” we were having I kept telling Paul that I was frustrated–over and over I was frustrated.
This morning I had a rough morning….I was frustrated. I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t disappointed. I was frustrated. I use that word a lot, but do I really even know what it means?
My trusty old friend Webster (the dictionary) says that frustration means: “a deep sense of discouragement; a deep chronic sense or state of insecurity and dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs”
I think when I’m frustrated it’s because, in my opinion, my needs are not being met (to the standards that I think they should be) and I’m dissatisfied because my opinions are not being valued (again, to my specifications).
So for me, being frustrated EQUALS being selfish because people aren’t doing things MY way…..Ouch! It may not be that way for everyone, but for me, it really rang true because I think it’s really (so supposed to be) ALL ABOUT ME…..
Looking back (and thinking back) I see now that, in those moments, I’m not really frustrated. I’m selfish.
Selfish and discouraged. To be discouraged means to deprive of confidence, hope, or spirit.
Many times over the course of my life (recently, in the last couple of weeks), I think my spirit has been discouraged because it’s been deprived of hope. I had hoped someone would use my suggestion. I would hope someone would do what I
asked told them to do. I had hoped that I would get my way….
***I’m using hope to really just get my way….(I don’t really think that’s what the Lord had in my mind when he said, “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:5) NIV)***
See. It’s a combination of discouragement and selfishness. So, in those moments, my glass is definitely half-empty.
The next question to ask is….how do you get past it? What do you do?
- Ask Yourself: Even though I feel like everything is going wrong, what is going right?
I guarantee that if you look for a blessing, even in a very frustrating moment, you can’t help but smile (and seemingly, the frustration will subside).
- Keep a “blessings” journal or a “thanksgiving” list
You will amaze yourself. The focus of your mind and the shift of your thoughts will, when given the opportunity, turn towards others, meaning that the focus will NOT be on you (and your selfish attitude that says it’s “All About Me.”)
- Focus on what made you feel that certain way (frustrated) in the first place.
How did you get to that moment of frustration? Is it really frustration (the sense of discouragement or a state of insecurity or dissatisfaction) or are you just being selfish? (Kind of hurts when someone calls you selfish, huh?)
- Focus on what the desired outcome is? How do you want to feel when the particular situation or moment is over?
Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in one problem (or one feeling) and trying to solve it (or express it) that we forget what we were originally trying to accomplish or even what we were originally talking about in the first place. (When Paul and I are having a “marriage moment” and
arguing about discussing something 9 times out of 10 our argument discussion ends up in a completely different place than where we started because we usually forget what the original topic was about)
- Come up with a solution to get out from underneath the feeling that has surrounded you.
When you get seriously frustrated, you tend to get hung up on that feeling and nothing anyone can say (or do) can change it. You hold on to it for dear life, as if it’s an old, faithful friend who knows all your deepest, darkest secrets. LET IT GO!
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up” -Thomas Edison.
When we get frustrated, we feel like a failure. We see life, in general, as half-empty–we can’t get past the “funk” we’ve put ourselves in. So, we give up.
There’s a great song by Jamie Grace that says:
“I’ve got waves that are tossin’ me,
Crashin’ all over my beliefs,
And in all sincerity, Lord,
I wanna be yours,
So pull me out of this mess I’m in…
You lead, I’ll follow, Your hands hold my tomorrow,
Your grip, Your grace, You know the way,
You guide me tenderly,
When you lead, I’ll follow,
Just light the way and I’ll go,
Cause I know what you got for me is more then I can see,
So lead me on,and on, on,and on
Just lead me on, and on, on and on….”
We need to get out of the “mess” we’ve put ourselves in and give it up to the Lord. He is faithful to carry us through, even when we don’t feel like it.
- Along with feeling frustrated, we worry, which has no productivity. So, STOP IT!
Worrying is a definite waste of energy and does not move you in a forwards direction. (But, let me tell you, I am preaching to the choir because I am the “QUEEN” of worrying)….once you move beyond the “half-empty” glass and towards the “half-full” glass, you’ll most likely find that you worried for no reason.
- Figure out a positive outcome to your problem–beyond the frustration.
When I am frustrated about something, all I can focus on is the negative. It’s never going to get better. No one will ever listen to me. They’ll never call. All of those are negative words. Stay positive. (A lot easier said than done, especially in the moment). Things are usually not as bad as they first appear. Sometimes, things seem much worse simply because we’re tired or mentally drained.
This morning, I was really frustrated (and being selfish) about a certain topic. I had lunch plans with a friend, which I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do anymore because of my feelings of “woe is me.” Paul urged me to go because it would take my mind off of the situation. And…you know what? It did. I didn’t think about it at all during lunch. And, it actually worked itself out after lunch (without me even thinking about it–imagine that?!)
The time of frustration will pass. A positive mind is far more open to solutions and answers than a negative one.
And, just when you least expect it, your glass will be half-full….with your favorite beverage, of course! 🙂