Overcoming Frustration

The word ‘frustration’ came up in every work meeting this week and in a few conversations with family and friends.  So it would be easy then for me to sum up the last 5 days as ‘a frustrating week filled with petty grievances and mad-making annoyances and other green and nasty gremlins’.  But all is not lost.  No.  Indeed in the middle of yesterday’s overlong work meeting I had one of those ‘aha!’ moments Oprah always talks about, and it felt like my brain grew a whole new branch of neurons and they were actually firing!

frustration:  the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something.”

The IChing will tell you that frustration comes from not accepting things as they are. We are advised not to force a change because if we do we will only make things worse and impede our own progress.  That is all well and good and very Zen.  But what I realized yesterday as someone rambled on about how she couldn’t compile a report a certain way  – at least not in the way that she thought would please the boss – I realized that absolutely nothing was stopping her from doing that task differently.  

She was unconsciously blocking her own progress because she could not imagine a different way.  When I asked her what was stopping her from presenting the data in another format she looked at me as if I had just grown a pair of horns.  Thankfully a few hours later she came round to the idea.  The boss I told her, would probably be impressed with her initiative and creativity.  She seemed genuinely surprised by that comment.

Sometimes we choose not to see another way.  More often than not we do this unconsciously.  It’s just easier. It’s easier to stay stuck and frustrated because it’s a feeling we’re familiar with and besides, if we have an excuse for not doing something we think it’s ok. That task wasn’t done because hey, we have an excuse!  It’s like finding a tree lying across a forest path or blocking a road. Oh look an obstacle!  how convenient! see we can’t continue on this path any longer! let’s just turn back and tell our people, sorry such and such obstacle stopped us from getting to point X.

What frustration could be lifted today if you chose to tackle it differently?  


There is this idea (more prevalent among the younger generations) that life is supposed to be easy.  It’s not.  Learning happens when we’re being challenged, not when we’re sipping margaritas.   But it’s also not supposed to be an uphill battle.  A lot of what makes our lives ‘hard’ is a lack of vision:  our unwillingness to consider alternatives and our inability to imagine something ‘other’.  Let’s all choose to DO something instead of just accepting our frustrations.

How was your week?

18 thoughts on “Overcoming Frustration

  1. Yes! You got it exactly right – especially the last paragraph Yolanda! Interestingly my own week was all about bringing myself back into the bigger picture, out of the state of impatience and frustration, and realising it is all in how I think about it – [again]! I sometimes think my entire life has been a constant round of ‘getting it’, losing it again and fighting my way back to sanity 🙂 Hurrah for clarity is all I can say today 🙂 xo

    • Thank you Pauline ❤ Our minds are terrible and wondrous things aren't they? I love what you say about 'getting it', 'losing it' and getting it again – probably not in the same way you 'got' it before. The point, I suppose is: there is always a way.

  2. Very well said. In my work career I encounter people who couldn’t change and predicted dire outcomes that never happened. I learned early that change is the only constant and when you think something can’t be done a different way you have to look at it differently. Great post.

  3. Well said, Yolanda! Making excuses is easy, it’s overcoming those obstacles and meeting the challenge head on, that’s hard. But the reward in the end, is so sweet. I hope the upcoming week is less frustrating for you. xo

  4. Yolanda – I’ve missed your posts recently and now I know why. This was such a good read, full of sensible wisdom. I have a major frustration going on at the moment and you’ve made me think that I must tackle it a different way – thank you! Sometimes it’s a matter of someone else pointing you in the right ( or different) direction. Don’t stay away too long, please!

    • Aw thank you Jenny ❤ I miss my WordPress readers and friends all the time but I'm having a crazy year. That however is just another excuse for not carving the time to stay in touch and do the thing I love – which is writing. I am so glad you found this post helpful.

  5. Good grief, Yolanda – you’ve really hit the nail on the head here. I’ve had a very frustrating week. I had 12 pieces of glass cut so I could put them in my French doors and when the glass arrived it was the wrong size (after I’d carted all three doors up the stairs to work on). My son and his girlfriend are arriving in a week and a half to stay and so much needs to be done but hubby decided to get tonsillitis and is now bed ridden (poor dear – it’s the worst bout of tonsillitis in the entire history of tonsillitis). I need to install a toilet and a bathroom sink and put lights in the bathroom and spare bedroom and a hand rail on the stairs (did I tell you hubby has tonsillitis?) I’ve also got to finish the ceiling and walls in the spare bedroom and make sure the snake hasn’t snuck in there through the gap in the ceiling (did I tell you hubby has tonsillitis?) So far I’m just breathing deeply and trying to kick away that stump in the road. I’ll get there! 😀

    • Dianne I am laughing and crying for you! no doubt you’re near hysteria yourself 🙂 YOU install toilets and sinks? and glass doors? and chase snakes?? Super fierce! I’ll be thinking of you! Hope hubby gets better soon.

  6. I just go with the flow Yolanda and accept some weeks will challenge me more than others. It is all about our attitude and choice of how we tackle each issue. I hope you had a better week just the same.

  7. I like your Oprah, “Aha!” moment, Yolanda. I also have been frustrated at my warehouse work place. A mild misunderstanding blew into a problem. I felt I was not communicating well, but someone had to say this was not my problem. It made me feel so much better. I don’t think I will ever fully trust the person who exaggerated a situation. Perspective helped me. I liked this post with a great suggestion given by you to us to look at our situations differently. Maybe a different angle will help me solve a family problem? 🙂

    • Putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes is the way we empathize and often resolve a difference. We all see the world differently; trying to see it the way another does helps bring clarity to a situation. I hope this helps and your situation improves for the best 🙂

  8. Super post Yolanda! And great reminder ..aha aha aha.. pff don’t I know these things..
    Gosh, talking about frustration.. more or less the whole summer long. ” frustration…not accepting things as they are” is my working focus point at this moment. Maybe I should stop sipping Margarita’s and clear up some of that brain fog 😀

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