Monday, August 30, 2010

The Upside of Frustration

It’s good to be happy. There is no arguing that point. It’s good to feel contented. We work hard to achieve that state. Contentment isn’t perfection. To me, contentment is a state where you have some stress but not more than you can handle. You aren’t living a problem-free existence but you don’t have problems that completely overwhelm you either. The relationship is moving along. Work is good. The only ‘drama’ in your life comes from the television. Basically, you are in a good place.

Yet we know that there are many times when we are not content. There are areas in our lives where we are unhappy or dissatisfied. Those emotions can lead to a sense of frustration, but frustration isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There is something good to be said about a state of frustration.

Frustration stems from having unfulfilled needs or unresolved issues. Frustration says to us, “You need to do something.” Something could be as simple as having a conversation and expressing yourself. It could mean something bigger … finding a new job or ending a relationship. It could start with owning up to a situation or facing a hard truth.

If you want to move from frustration to eventual contentment, you are going to have to do something … something proactive. What won’t work is doing something reactive. Lashing out in anger or hiding your feelings under a numbing cloak of food, sleep, shopping, drugs or alcohol will just make things worse. Just as bad as doing something reactive is doing nothing. Burying your head in the sand, refusing to acknowledge the reality of your situation or just trying to wish it away won’t work.

To act proactively, you have to do something that a) won’t make you feel worse b) moves you towards a real solution. Having an honest discussion, with a co-worker, boss or partner about your expectations would be proactive. Sitting down with all of your bills and expenses and figuring out exactly how much you owe would be proactive. Logging on to a job search site to see what else is available or brushing up your resume would be proactive.

Feeling frustrated? Take action!

No comments: