Posts Tagged ‘anger’

Sometimes I Just Want to Pull My Hair Out! How to Deal With Frustration

Did you know frustration is all rooted in the need to control? We all want things to be a certain way and as long as they comply, we’re ok. We expect people to be what we think they should be (after, who knows better than I how others should behave?). When they conform to our dictates, we get along just fine. However, when unexpected challenges arise (my camera batteries went dead just as my son hit a fly ball to center field; my husband didn’t plan a romantic evening for our anniversary), we become agitated and frustrated. “I knew it!” we scream. “Stuff like this always happens to me!” Feelings of victimization and powerless consume us and we fight to regain control. However, control is an illusion. We can only influence the outcome of any given situation; we can inspire the changes we would like to see in others but cannot force anyone to comply. Each individual has free will and will ultimately make their own decisions.
When we try to coerce things to kowtow to our orders, we set ourselves up for frustration. People do not have an obligation to fulfill my desires. Things don’t always have to go my way. We learn nothing when life is easy. It is only in disappointment, challenge and change that we grow.
Here are a few tips to reducing frustration in your life:
1. Put everything into perspective. How important is this issue really? Will you even remember it in 10 years?
2. Is what you are seeking fair and reasonable with this individual, at this time, under these conditions, in my time frame? If no, make some adjustments that are more realistic.
3. If the situation or person will not change, (it is what it is), can you accept and be ok with your current circumstances? Being “ok with” does not mean being “happy about”. It simply means you have put the issue to rest and are no longer troubled by it.
Remember: acceptance of that which we cannot change is the key to inner peace.
Let go. Allow things to unfold naturally. Don’t try to force a square peg into a round hole. It takes far too much effort and will never work.

The Nail in the Fence

“The sharpest sword is a word spoken in wrath.” (The Buddha).
A little boy, prone to anger, was told by his father, “Every time you’re angry, drive a nail in that wooden fence. When you’ve learned to control your anger, start removing them.” Six months later, the boy had removed every nail he had driven. Triumphant, he showed the fence to his father. The father sadly pointed out, “See the holes? The fence will never be the same.”
I first heard this story several years ago and thought it a perfect analogy to the potential damage anger can have on another person.
All emotions have purpose and value. None are inherently bad, even anger. It’s how we choose to express them and what we do with them that determines if they become a positive or negative force.
Here’s the problem with anger: we become upset with someone for whatever reason and lash out in fury. “You idiot! I told you not to do that!” “I never should have married you! My parents warned me!” Ouch! Hurtful words hurt…over and over. We may say something once yet the person on the receiving end of our rage replays those words again and again, each time gaining momentum and power. For the offender, the incidence occurs once and is forgotten. For the target, they relive it ten, twenty, one hundred times. Angry words have the potential to cause a lifetime of suffering.
When I was young, I distinctly remember an adult telling me in a nasty way I’d never amount to anything in life. Clearly they were angry although I never understood why. I hadn’t done anything to warrant it at that time. (I had plenty of other times though.) Those words stayed with me for decades. I attended college (with no aspirations) simply because my mother insisted. (Thank you, mom.) Eleven days after graduation I married my high school sweetheart and soon thereafter started a family. Staying home raising children was safe and at times became a convenient excuse for not venturing outside of the home. After all, what else could I possibly do? I reminded myself I’d never amount to anything so why even try?
It wasn’t until I was in my forties that I was able to revisit those hurtful words and re evaluate their meaning. What had caused me great anguish for nearly thirty years, in reality, had no value. That adult’s words were not truth. They were spoken in anger. Now as an adult, I was finally able to put the past behind me by forgiving the one who so cruelly drove a nail into my spirit.
Hurtful words hurt – over and over. They can leave holes in the very fiber of one’s being. Choose your words wisely. Choose kindness.