When was the last time you felt frustrated? Do you still remember how you felt at that time? Did you think about giving up altogether? More importantly, how long did the feeling last?
Perhaps you are currently struggling with the feelings of frustration with the situations, things, or people in your life. Has that feeling lingered for so long that you can no longer remember the last time you actually felt satisfied?
Frustrations seem to have become a natural part of us. It is the kind of negative emotion that keeps people from operating at their best. But why do people get so frustrated? What could be fueling such negativity?
One of the biggest ways to decrease your daily frustrations is through managing expectations, and managing expectations begins by understanding what makes us feel agitated in the first place.
According to Luis Von Ahn, “Frustration is a matter of Expectation.”
If you look back and think about the times when you felt most frustrated, you will realize that you felt embittered every time things didn’t go as planned. You had expectations for situations or for people, and when they don’t deliver as you feel they should, that negative feeling overwhelms you.
Expectations hurt us more than we can imagine. May it be little things or big things; when we expect people or things to fall into place and they don’t, it gets to us.
You get frustrated when you're stuck in traffic on your way to work, not because you are going to be late, but because you expect yourself to be at work at a particular time. Because it is taking longer to get to the office, you know you can’t achieve your own expectations of yourself.
You get frustrated when the kids don’t clean up after themselves. Frustration overwhelms you because you expected the kids to clean up after playtime because you expect them to know that it is the right thing to do.
You get frustrated when you spend hours baking or cooking for the family, and you don't think they appreciate your hard work. It wasn’t really because they did not acknowledge it, but because you expected them to react a certain way, and they didn't.
It is not wrong to have expectations. In fact, having aspirations is good, but you also have to accept that others will not care as much as you do. When they fail to meet expectations, don’t blame yourself or become angry with them. Instead, stop and think again.
Here are some things you can put into practice to deal with those unrealistic expectations.
Take note that what you are feeling (anger and/or frustration) is actually a reaction to some sort of pain you are experiencing. Perhaps someone hurt your feelings or didn't respect your time and that is painful. However, you don’t have to drown yourself in misery. Instead, recognize that pain and get to the bottom of it. When you know what is causing the pain, then it is easier to deal with it. Pay attention to what is hurting you. When you become honest about how you feel, perhaps even vocalize it, it is easier to find a solution for it.
Keep a little faith that all will turn out as expected. When people do not practice compassion, don’t hate yourself or them for not making things as perfect as you had hoped. When you accept your own shortcomings, then you can practice compassion for others as well. The goal is to fill your heart with compassion so that when others fail you, you only show them compassion, not hate. You will learn to forgive them and perhaps give them another chance to try again.
When you have compassion in your heart, you know that not all your expectations will be met. And when others fail you, you learn to see things in a different light. You learn to forgive them and move on, that’s the gift you give yourself. Seeing things from a bigger perspective means that you no longer live inside the bubble where you are protected from hurt or pain. The world out there is bigger, and expectations become bigger, too. But when expectations fail, it doesn’t have to kill your faith that all will be well. This new perspective you’re embracing will help you learn to accept, forgive, and live.
Sometimes, people become too self-centered. You are too concerned about how you would feel. You want things done when and how you want them done. When you fail or when others fail to meet your expectations, you get retreat inside yourself and perhaps become angry with the world. But that is where we get it wrong. The best way to fight this feeling is to get yourself out of your head and learn. You can never be in control of everything, not all the time. When you use this perspective to learn and forgive, you know that in time, the hurt will go away.
How do you keep yourself from getting hurt when your plans fail? How do you cope up with the feeling of not winning over the thing that you consider most important? Learn to manage your expectations and teach yourself that not everyone will be able to meet your demands and that not everything will happen the way you want it to.
Some of your expectations may be too high and they couldn’t be attained no matter how hard people try. So when they do not, make sure not to blame yourself, or others, for falling short. At least give yourself and others a chance to change or to try again.
When you work closely with your expectations and how to manage them, you can see the pain that it is causing in your life. Take a moment and be compassionate towards yourself and others. There is goodness in everyone, and while you are at it, look into yourself and recognize the goodness that you possess.
Finally, never take things personally. Don’t ever think that the failure is about you. Free yourself from the hell that expectations have put you in. Practice this, and you’ll see that life will be even more worthwhile.
As you go through the day, remember to stop whenever you feel frustrated about things and situations. Ask yourself this, do you want this feeling? Is it worth it?
You will surely see the difference that it can make in your life.
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