Simple steps to flat-line frustration
Start by letting go of your need to always be right
Most of what frustrates us in life revolves around a deep desire to be right and understood.
This desire can be so intense at times that in spite of evidence that is contrary to our conclusion concerning a situation, we will actually delete, distort or generalize information that does not align with our position, even if we could benefit from another’s perspective and life experience.
We step out of reality and into story. Studies have revealed that the majority of what we assume others are thinking is not based in reality.
What lies behind our desire to be right, to have the last word or to at least have another person acknowledge the validity of our position or perspective?
People that push our buttons are our greatest teachers in life because they reveal to us where we are stuck. Perhaps within our emotional interior landscape, the fertilizer of ego fuels the growth of our frustration.
A friend of mine was sharing some frustration she had over the fact that she said hello to a colleague at work and they didn’t respond. What is interesting about this story is that she turned to her friend who was with her at the time and said, “Can you BELIEVE they ignored me?” to which her friend replied, “Maybe she was preoccupied with something in her mind or on her phone and you didn’t see her ear piece.”
The above story is a perfect example of how your choice of perspective can lead to different emotional states. Her friend made a generous assumption and did not take the behavior of their colleague personally. On the other hand, my friend did take the lack of response to her outreach personally which resulted in frustration.
Think back over the last few weeks of your life. When was the last time you felt frustration within a conversation?
Reflect on the flow of meaning (which is the definition of dialogue). When in the conversation did the feeling of frustration begin to bubble up in your body?
Did you find yourself eager to respond more often than seeking to understand what the other person was communicating to you?
How does frustration manifest in your body?
Do you feel tightness in your chest? Jaw? Throat?
Do you feel defensive along with the frustration? Do you feel attacked and the urge to defend your position?
It is in the power of the pause that we regain our ability to discern the flow of meaning that takes place within our conversations.
Set up is also a very powerful practice. Spontaneous conversations are often so quick that we do not have the time to prepare and proclaim our intention for having the conversation.
When time allows, it is a very powerful practice to simply pause and reflect on the intention of your conversation or for that matter in the case of the story, I shared earlier about my friend who was frustrated that her colleague did not respond to her salutation, pausing after the fact can lead to future emotional intelligence.
What was the intention of my friend for greeting her colleague? Was her motivation simply to receive a greeting back?
Even if your intention is to create a positive connection, this will wire your mind to pick up on information and respond to information that aligns with your desired intention.
Giving yourself permission pause and examine your motives when you are frustrated will instantly empower you with the ability to identify and adjust your perceptions and reactions.
The ability to control the tongue creates space for wisdom and discernment to drop in before responding.
Taking some time to reflect on your unique experience around the feeling of frustration will often lead to clues that lead to the specific element that ignites the match of frustration.
When you are left with is the burning haystack of frustration it is difficult to locate the source of the initial spark.
When you identify the spark that first fueled the internal fire of frustration you are then EMPOWERED to step in and put the flame out before you burn down your internal castle, rendering you imprisoned within your mind, ruminating and frustrated.
The ability to lead well in life is in direct proportion to your ability to lead well within your emotional reactions and responses to life.
If I see you as I am, then when I feel insecure about my position in life, I will feel insecure with yours. I will try to control your position, perspectives and responses to life to feel more control and secure within my own life.
When I am secure with myself, my value, gifts and talents, I feel confident. I am then empowered to give you the freedom to have your own unique perspectives and beliefs without feeling threatened that you will take something away from me.
Authentic appreciative inquiry takes place in the presence of people who have mastered the ability to feel secure in who they are and the contributions they make.
Frustration will disappear when you release your need to be right and understood. Wisdom and collaborative executive thinking steps in when the need to be right and understood is released from your mental radar…and along with-it frustration.
Can you imagine waking up tomorrow and going through your day without taking anything personally any human being says or does? Without having the need to be right and understood?
This is a fun exercise that is worth exploring. Each time you could possibly assume that a specific response or lack of response was a personal hit on your mental positions and beliefs in life PAUSE, breathe and release conclusions and assumptions that fuel your frustrations.
Replace your assumptions with effective questions that offer the opportunity to create a fuller model of reality rather than mind-reading and storytelling.
Be kind because of the person you are committed to being, not because you desire to receive kindness in return.
In Sherpa Process Driven Leadership Excellence and Coaching we offer a simple, yet powerful tool to help anchor much of what frustrates you in life (the behavior of other people). A QTIP which stands for: Quit Taking It Personally.
When we take thinks personally, we get frustrated. Our filters in life (knowledge, experience and values) can distort, delete or generalize information and result in conclusions based on assumptions rather than reality.
Cool thing is, you can raise your awareness around what triggers you when it comes to frustration and begin to intentionally choose effective questioning over the drama — simply because it feels better.