Have you ever heard the saying, “make frustration your friend”? As much as I believe in this principle, there are a few more dimensions that need to be unpacked because, to be honest, nothing is more exhausting than constantly being frustrated.
I am, by nature, passive aggressive – although my housemates have gone to great lengths to try to change my ‘fight or flight’ reflexes over the past few years. Obviously internalizing everything is unhealthy and will end up in you doing extreme and irrational things once every couple of years, but there is a ‘pro’ to this as well. I have found that internalizing frustration has helped me grow in character more than any other force around me.
In our day and age, frustration is predominantly a result of impatience. We have been able to shorten the time it takes to cook, clean, travel and relate (to a degree). But there is no shortcut for a healthy soul. You are going to have to live in ‘real time’ if you want to be strong internally. Other areas where you will encounter frustration is in relationships (which leads to judgement among other things), in ability (which could lead to motivation) and position (which is based on insecurity) – to name a few.
But no matter how you encounter frustration – and there is no doubt you shall – it can be a powerful conditioner for your soul. Here are a few ways that frustration empowers you.
The most incredible creations made by man have been birthed out of some form of frustration. I’m a nerd when it comes to the creative process… As much as I might have my own opinions on how we create, one thing that is almost universally acknowledged is that there needs to be a level of limitation when it comes to being creative.
I struggle to create anything without first knowing the constraints – whether it be the medium or the frame of the artwork, the length and instrumentation of the song or the message that needs to be communicated in a live production – nothing helps my creativity more than boundaries. And once they are set, you will find yourself consistently bumping up against them – getting frustrated to a point where you become ruthless with your own ideas. It is in this frenzy that new concepts can unfold.
So when you find yourself frustrated due to an outcome you cannot seem to reach with the boundaries set before you, it may be a catalyst for you to creatively find a solution that could benefit not only you, but the rest of the world.
If you have been frustrated about a certain situation for long enough, you will find yourself extremely appreciative when it changes. One of the things I was most frustrated about when I was at my previous job was having to work Saturdays. I loved the work. But even after two years it grated on me that my friends could go on hikes, have coffee hangouts and go away for the weekend while I drove to work. Now that I do have Saturdays free, it is the sweetest form of existence to experience and I am extremely grateful.
Even when things don’t change, frustration can charge your value of other things around you. If I am frustrated that I don’t have the level of influence others have, it will help me value and appreciate the areas of influence I have right now. (Just a note – when it comes to others’ respect, the only healthy way to earn it is to do what you currently have before you with excellence and consistency).
The most common reaction I have to frustration is to give up. Throwing in the towel may seem like an effective way for others to realize what you’re going through, but it has serious consequences when it comes to your credibility and reliability. Don’t get me wrong – there are times in life where the best thing you can do is give up. But they normally are founded more in conviction and out of responsibility, not simply in the ‘moment’ of frustration.
When you are frustrated, but you doggedly keep going, you build your capacity to resist the influence of situations. If you want to be reliable, you’re going to have to dig deep sometimes and not allow other people, situations and influences to affect your consistency. When you push through frustration, you come out the other side with more steel in your backbone and a greater capacity to carry responsibility. Obviously frustration is unpleasant – it can result in stress and anxiety. But just like training in the gym is uncomfortable and painful for your muscles, it is also good for you.
No one can relate to the perfect person, yet everyone is trying to be one. Frustration builds a level of truth into your character that others will gravitate towards. When you live through tough times and allow them to build you, you end up with a perspective that keeps you from being arrogant. Everyone can identify with being irritated with situations and people, but when you are true to yourself and aren’t affected in the long-term by them – people will sit up and notice. When people observe how you respond to the frustrations of life, you will earn respect that no one can match with ability or privilege.
In the end frustration will make you a stronger, more intuitive and well-balanced person. And that is what will set up your future. You might not see the fruits of it in the first few months, but when you’re in a job interview and they are looking at hundreds of candidates, you will be able to stand out because of those qualities that they ‘can’t seem to put their finger on’.
You might be in a time of life that you are finding extremely frustrating. You want to give up? I know. It’s hard. It seems unbearable. There might be many reasons to give up, and maybe you should. The only way I truly knew whether it was going to be worth it to stay resilient is through my relationship with God. Knowing God changes your perspective on your current circumstance. He helped me shoulder the load of life and reminded me who I am in the hard times. If you would like to explore how He could help you, click on the link below.