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    The five most frustrating lessons in life

    Life can be frustrating! Where do you get most frustrated? 

    In this blog, I highlight some of the most frustrating things that people deal with. Come back for my upcoming blogs that address what you can do about each problem. 

    You Can’t Control Others

    Let’s face it, sometimes people are just plain disappointing. Friends cancel arrangements at the last minute or family members are critical because they are stuck in their own point of view. As a result of people’s behaviors, you feel frustrated, let down, or rejected. As much as we try, we cannot control how others behave. Therefore, it is frustrating that we can’t make people love us, make good decisions, or value us.

    Having no control while watching people make bad choices over and over again can be extremely stress provoking. Rather than getting tangled up in the frustrations of others, look within yourself and ask “What do I need from this person?” For example, if you find yourself getting disappointed time and time again by a friend who cancels plans, what is the unmet need that you are looking for from them? In this case, it may be that you need them to value your time.

    Friends can play different roles in your life. You may have a friend that you can always count on if you need help. On the flip size, you may also have friends that make you laugh. But the friend that makes you laugh does not always help you out in a pinch and the friend that you count on might not make you laugh. There is no such thing as a perfect friend, but they should bring enough to the friendship to make it worth investing in. Ask yourself, “Is it worth having them in my life for the qualities that they bring to the table?” or “Can I accept that they have certain shortcomings such as not contributing as much to the relationship as you do?”

    Having high expectations of others may be something to look deeper into. You do deserve to have people in your life that you can count on. Are your expectations including the fact that people are human? As long as you’re not expecting perfection from them, it can be healthy to want quality people in your life. We occasionally make mistakes, so being compassionate with others shortcomings can also lead to compassion for yourself.

    The inability to accept what is as is

    “For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Have you ever heard yourself say “I wish it wasn’t raining” or “I don’t have time to be sick!” When things don’t go our way, it can be hard to accept the reality of the situation. In fact it can be so frustrating that you may want to stomp your feet and throw a tantrum like a toddler. Throwing a fit doesn’t change the situation and it can take an emotional toll on you.

    Acceptance is a hard skill because we have to admit defeat in the situation we are suffering through.In Addition, we can’t make things certain and have a guaranteed outcome. How would it feel to let go of your need to control and just deal with the reality of the situation? How can you make the best out of what is dealt to you?

    Life can feel unpredictable at times. You make plans and expect them to go smoothly, but inevitably extra challenges are thrown your way. The acceptance process includes learning new ways to cope with change. The more in touch you are with how you are truly feeling, the better equipped you are to make a conscious decision about how to deal with a difficult situation.

    Knowing what you can change and what you cannot

    Imagine your life is like a pinball machine. The ball represents you, the flippers represent what you can control, and the bumpers represent what you cannot control. As the ball gets launched into a maze of unknowns, it is hard to know what is luck and what is under the control of the skillful player who is hitting the flippers. It may feel like when bouncing off the bumpers you have no control over which direction you go.

    Feeling like a ball getting flung around in the game of life can be confusing what you truly have control over. Does a skilled shot into the bumpers help you go in the direction you want? Would getting more skilled at using the controls on the pinball really help you stay in the game, or are you randomly bouncing around? Is having control over anything in life just an illusion?

    How do you know what you can change? Some would argue that you can control yourself, your actions, and your thoughts. But then others say, I can’t help what I feel, think, or do. They feel like they can’t stop doing certain things that are harming them. Therefore, realizing what you can change and what you can’t is a frustrating life lesson.

    You have limited time

    Time is something that is always slipping away, making us feel like we can’t ever get enough done in the amount of time given to us. We all need 30 hours in a day instead of 24. If we did, then we might get enough sleep, finish our projects, take time for ourselves, and spend quality time with loved ones.

    The frustrating fact is that we can’t stretch our day out to add more hours. We have to evaluate our values, priorities and decide how we would like to spend the time we are given to make it meaningful This takes focus and intent. These two things sound easy but they are not. They are hard because we are creatures of habit and are easily distracted.

    Another aspect of time that can be frustrating is the feeling that it will take too long to get where we want to go. The mountain is too high to climb and you feel overwhelmed. Therefore we sit paralyzed, letting precious time slip away, which can cause a frenzy of self criticism. It can be a vicious cycle.

    The ability to say no or walk away from something that doesn’t fit you.

    Whether it’s a relationship or a job, sometimes we find ourselves in a commitment that does not work for us anymore. Finding the strength to walk away and start over can be one of the hardest, but best things we can do for ourselves. In addition, it can be difficult to say no to future commitments that are a bad fit.

    Future commitments can be things like job promotions, taking a relationship to the next level when we are not ready, starting a family, or taking on a leadership role in the community. It may be that we feel compelled to take on the extra responsibility, when in our hearts we know it is not a great fit. The ability to say no to things that don’t serve us in the long run can be the best gift you give yourself. 

    What if you are already stuck? Commitments can be hard to walk away from. Especially if we have invested a lot of time in something like a relationship.The ability to say no or walk away from a commitment will not only set you free but give you a second chance to be truly happy. If you have truly tried to make it work but it becomes apparent that it’s not a good fit then you are going to continue to be frustrated. 

    In conclusion, you may relate to one area of frustration more than another, or feel like they all apply to you. If you find yourself feeling super irritable in several areas, this can cause spillover frustration in multiple areas of your life. For example, traffic get you so worked up that it has a negative effect on your whole day, or you spill a cup of water that causes you to overreact to the point of anger. This may be a sign that you need help addressing issues when it seems like everything is frustrating you — frustration has become overwhelming