Warning: Frustration Ahead


Frustration occurs when we get less than what we expected.

When I rent a car, I never get frustrated when they tell me they are all out of economy class and I have to get an upgrade to a sports car. Frustration sets in when I order large fries and I only get a medium!

Frustration is more than unmet expectations. When I receive a free upgrade my expectations are surpassed and I feel the opposite of frustrated. I feel blessed, excited and surprised.

I have found that frustration is a part of daily life. What makes the difference is how you respond to frustration.

Image courtesy of Sura Anankkml / DigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Sura Anankkml / DigitalPhotos.net

I don’t always respond in the best way possible. So I need your help and suggestions on what you do when you become frustrated.

Here are a few things I strive to do:

1. Take a break. 

This is especially helpful when I am at a road block and can’t seem to get past the frustration. Maybe you are trying to put your kid’s bike together and you can’t get the back wheel to fit on.

Try taking a breather. Take 10min and distract your mind with something else.

I have found that when I return, it’s much easier to finish.

2. Lower your expectations

This is not to say to never expect anything. Dream big and plan for something awesome. Just make sure your expectations are realistic. If you get frustrated when the rental car company doesn’t give you a free upgrade, your expectation might be out of line.

Sometimes our expectations aren’t reasonable, either. When this is the case we need to adjust them so they are more accurate.

Our standards should be high and our expectations reasonable.

3. Take a step back.

Have you ever been at an art museum and noticed how people look at paintings? They rarely stand really close. You never see a guy with his nose against the painting. Usually they are a few steps back. This helps them see the whole painting. We sometimes need to take a step back from our frustrations.

This helps us to take in the whole picture and put things into proper perspective.

Your frustration is valid. The problem is when you make small things in the moment seem too significant in the long term.

Frustration happens when we receive less than what we expect. Tweet this!

So those are a few of my suggestions on how to handle frustrations.

But like I said, I need your help and want to hear your suggestions.

What do you do when you get frustrated?

Paul Jolicoeur

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Husband, Father, Disciple, Blogger, writer, author. Learner & desire to make an impact on others. Each one of us have influence on the world and this influence is a gift. We can continue to grow and increase in our influence.
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8 responses to Warning: Frustration Ahead

  1. I’ve learned to believe that thinking in terms of “expectations” can get us into
    trouble. We may want or desire things or people to behave as we’d like,
    but when we “expect”, we move into thinking it “should” be the way I want it to
    be. Thinking and truly believing in terms of wants, preferences, and
    desires cuts down on our frustrations. There’s a difference in thinking about
    expectations (e.g. it has to be the way I want it to be) vs. preferences/wants
    – (I hope/want to have things turn out as I’d like). When things don’t
    turn out as we’d like (which happens), this difference in thinking helps us experience
    a different level of feeling. Unmet expectations = high emotion; Unmet
    wants = disappointment.

    • Thanks Margy, there is nothing wrong with having expectation as long as they are reasonably based. When you ask your 15 year old son to be home by 10pm, you can expect that because its reasonable. We get into trouble when we expect things that are unreason or unknown by those we have placed that expectation on.

  2. Great thoughts Paul! When I start to get overly frustrated it’s usually a sign for me to take time to rest and relax. So your first suggestion hits home for me. I also know the importance of not allowing it to negatively effect my attitude or mindset. It can be challenging but I make sure to check and have a good attitude when something frustrating happens.

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