It’s a typical situation, you wake up late only to find that your children are already awake, and they are coloring on the walls with sharpies. You get yourself together and out the door, but you are still 30 minutes late to work. You walk in just in time for a meeting you are unprepared for and you notice that you have spilled some of your coffee on your shirt. You’re feeling frustrated. We’ve all been there. Whether it is a series of unfortunate events that ruins your day, or a colleague that is difficult to work with, none of us are strangers to the feeling.
It doesn’t matter as much where your frustration stems from as it does how you handle your frustration. The expression of frustration ranges from people who completely suppress or internalize their feelings to people who take out their frustrations on others in their lives. Neither of these extremes are appropriate or healthy behaviors.
We have to find a midpoint of acknowledging and dealing with our frustrations by giving them a healthy outlet. For some people, that outlet is exercise; others channel their frustration to motivate them to work harder to achieve their goals. By giving your frustration a healthy outlet, you can relieve some of the pressure of keeping these emotions bottled up inside of you.
Aside from identifying an outlet, it is important to communicate about your frustration with a confidant, or in some situations, the person from which the frustration stems. Venting to someone in your life who is a “neutral other” to the scenario that is frustrating to you is a good way to relieve the stressful feelings and talk through your feelings and actions.
Additionally, there are some situations in which it is appropriate to communicate with the source of your frustration. This doesn’t work in every situation; for example, it would not often be smart to communicate your frustrations about your boss to your boss. However, in situations such as friendships or relationships where both people are on an even playing field, it is healthy to communicate your frustrations in efforts to mend the relationship. Frustration will always be a part of our lives. We just have to find the best way to deal with it. Appropriately dealing with frustration and identifying a healthy outlet for frustration shows a lot of maturity in one’s life.