Today started out well enough. I was away over the weekend and drove home this morning.
My drive began perfectly pleasantly. It was a bright sunny day, I was blasting some great music, bopping and singing along, the window down and moonroof open, just loving life. Traffic was barely a problem, and I cruised along content and happy.
Made my first stop. Had to wait for them to open. Then wait for them to actually get someone in who could sell me what I came for. Fifteen minutes later, back on the road.
Second stop. Took me a bit to find what I was looking for, but then I was done. On the road to get home, finally.
Odd traffic (which shouldn’t surprise me, really — I mean, it’s The Garden State Parkway, and it’s totally unpredictable like that) started to irk me. I recognized this but was getting frustrated and angry anyhow. Let it go. Drive through. Change highways.
Home at last. Park the car — but cut the corner too sharp and nicely scratched the paint on my rims. A little frustrated, but letting it go. Unload some stuff from the trunk, ripping the plastic bag I’m pulling at in the process. Ok, fine, deep breath, adjust, close up the car and get into the apartment.
Writing time. Start up the computer. Wait for it to boot. I am going to ignore the internet, open no browsers, and start writing. Open Word. Waiting…waiting. Open. Great. I have an idea. Start typing…why does it keep freezing?
The browsers opened anyhow. Ok, fine. Getting more flustered, but finally manage to get the post done and up. Need to work on that website I am working on.
Why does nothing seem to go right anymore today?
My day started out great. It really did. Now, after all of that, I’m frustrated.
Yup, this is utterly a first-world problem I am having here. Nobody is in danger, overall everything is fine. Which of course adds to my feeling frustrated, because I am pretty sure this is ridiculous.
Well, maybe it is. But you know what? This is what is happening in MY reality. My reality is unique to me, different from you and everyone else, and miniscule or major my frustrations are real and valid.
Everybody gets frustrated. Things do not go as you want, plans fall apart, people disappoint you, shit happens, and little things get on your nerves. It doesn’t matter what your background is, what your socio-economic status is, what you do for a living, or who you are — you’ll deal with frustration, and so long as you don’t take it out on anyone else, it’s totally valid.
This is important, by the way. When you get frustrated and take it out on another, whether it’s yelling at someone, treating someone badly, being unkind, or acting selfish, the validity of your frustration wavers. So you are totally ok to feel frustrated, unless you then act inappropriately or poorly or rudely towards another.
How do you release the frustration?
This is always an interesting challenge. Unfortunately, a lot of people take out and release their frustrations on others. Sometimes this is a case of “I feel crappy and am going to bring you with me” while other times it’s the outward reaction after a lot of internalization, and unintentional. However, if it occurs, you need to apologize for it.
When I start to feel frustrated, I know that there are steps I can take to release that feeling, without taking it out on anyone else. Here are some of the things I have done to stop feeling frustrated, or at least vent it:
Breathe deep. Pause. BREATHE. Take deep breaths, and slow the heart down. This can be very calming, and if your frustration is largely senseless it helps you see it and then release it.
Step away. A couple of weeks ago I got stuck in truly horrific traffic. Miles and miles of stop-and-go. I attempted to take a detour, and it failed completely. So I stopped, got out of the car, stepped away to reset. Likewise, when a blog post is giving me trouble, stepping away can release the frustration.
Walk it off. Movement helps. Sometimes I just go for a walk to clear my head and release my frustration.
Get mad. Ok, this one can take a lot of different forms, and it can feel really embarrassing. But trust me, it also works. Shout it out. Swear up a storm. Beat a pillow with a bat. Scream. Write out an angry rant. All of these are best done in private, to prevent loved ones and friends from thinking you’ve gone completely mad.
Change gears. Find a distraction, switch to a different project, watch a video, or put on some music to shift yourself away from what is frustrating you.
Sometimes you may need to employ a combination of these to release your frustration.
Don’t beat yourself up when you feel frustrated
This has often been one of my larger problems. When I start feeling frustrated, and it worms its way into my psyche, I get annoyed with myself for letting it get to me.
Why? Because I am practicing mindfulness, and I believe as such that I should be better at this than I am. Even if you are not practicing mindfulness, though, you may still feel like losing control and becoming frustrated lets everyone else down. So you might begin to beat yourself up over becoming frustrated because you feel that you shouldn’t let that happen. This tends to just feed the frustration, making it seem bigger and more powerful.
Beating yourself up over getting frustrated will only worsen it. So keep that in mind before you start in on yourself because you’re already frustrated.
And keep this in mind as well: Everyone has this happen to them. I get frustrated, you get frustrated, EVERYONE gets frustrated. The important thing is to deal with it, work on finding a way to let it go, and move on.
Writing this has helped me feel less frustrated. I am going to breathe some more, and maybe go meditate for a bit to clear my head further.
What do you do when you feel frustrated?
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, and you are allowed to feel frustrated from time to time.