“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.” —Saint Francis De Sales
Today is supposed to be the first day of the rest of my life. That ought to be exciting. I’m still stuck on yesterday and more worried about tomorrow than I’ve ever been before. I’m frustrated.
What is frustration? It’s the gap between what we expect and what we experience. Sometimes, the gap is slight. Other times the gap is so massive it becomes debilitating. We have all been told obstacles are the things we see when we take our eyes off the finish line. But frustration is the untied shoe lace during the race. You reach down to re-tie them and stick the loose portions on the side of your shoe to secure them—and lo’ to your dismay, a tangible amount of time has not passed before you find them dragging behind your shoes and unraveling with every stride you take. #Frustration
Life is like a race. We have our designated lane with our own race to run. There is no need to run as fast or slow as the individuals next to us because their purpose in life is quite different from ours. We need to focus and keep our eyes on the prize—whatever it may be. For some of us, the prize is raising amazing children, starting our own business, or finishing our MBA. For others, it’s running a boutique, opening a restaurant, or becoming governor.
Each Eve has a calling on her life. No one can fill her stilettos quite like she can. So what do we do when we are just getting started in our race or perhaps midway through the course and frustration plops down in the middle of our lane? He’s too big to kick and too heavy to push. But, we need him to take his walking papers and get to steppin’. He’s been sitting there impeding progress for days, weeks, or maybe even months. What’s an Eve to do?
1. Acknowledge your feelings. Often times we think we cannot express any emotions except happiness and gratitude. We have these emotional capabilities for a reason. This means we can and should be compassionate towards ourselves. This is the only way we will be able to adjust our perspective later. The frustration comes because we are dedicated and passionate about our dreams. So tell yourself, “Self, I know you are frustrated. It is okay to get frustrated.”
2. Identify the gap(s). We get frustrated because things or people are not doing what we want them to do in our minds according to wikihow.com. Sometimes we are frustrated with ‘everything’ but we cannot pinpoint anything in particular. All we know is we are stuck and no matter how hard we try, we don’t seem to get anywhere. We’re just keep spinning our wheels in the mud and we feel pure frustration says lifewithconfidence.com. Identifying the gap or gaps is critical in order for us to zap our frustration and turn it into positive and productive energy. Once we identify where the gaps are, we can classify challenges into categories of perceived and real. This also helps us put things in perspective.
3. Ask yourself, “What is working well?” Even though we are frustrated and want to pull our hair out, it is helpful to look at our current circumstances and highlight the parts that are going well and/or moving forward. Write them down so you can see for yourself –you are not carrying the burden of the world on your shoulders even though it feels that way. During this step, phone a friend. Share the good news. After all, what are friends for? The purpose of the phone call is to share good things, this will help improve your mood and most likely your gal pal will provide you with confirmation–you are on the right track to accomplishing your goals and dreams.
4. Channel the frustration. Harness that energy into a laser focus that will blow Mr. Frustration right out of your lane and onto another planet so he will not be able to inhibit someone else’s progress forward. He will think twice about messing with you in the future. How do I harness my frustration if I am really frustrated, you ask? My frustration is starting to harness anger, you say. Grab your pen and paper or tablet. This is your opportunity to get the universe on your side and re-write the story! Use your imagination: Picture yourself on the corner of Success Blvd and Happiness Ave, there you are, super frustrated with your hair sticking straight up like you have spent too much time playing with electrical sockets. Then, on that same corner, you see another version of yourself—except you are 5 years older. Tell me, who is this beautifully impressive woman you see that is you? Interview her. Who is she? What is she wearing, what does she look like, what does she do? How is she achieving and succeeding on a daily basis? How does she deal with setbacks? Write everything down—all of it–in detail. Work backwards to create the goals and steps necessary to realize your dreams.
You are capable and gifted. You have today to be frustrated. It is okay to get exasperated; it is not okay to stay there. But you get today–everyone needs a day. Tomorrow, though, leave the future frustration behind; there is no need to worry your pretty little head with things yet to pass. Tomorrow gets you one step closer to becoming more of who you were meant to be. She’s fabulous, ambitious and brilliant. You met her. She is you! Everything you need to become all you were meant to be is already inside of you. Don’t let frustration bully you into thinking anything different. Close the gap, kick frustration to the curb, stop worrying and start becoming. #Empowered
Dorothy Enriquez is the Editor in Chief of DOT Magazine. She is a writer, speaker and training and development expert with a passion for inspiring women to achieve their dreams.