It feels like being stuck, and powerless, and out of control.
You want to change something, but it seems like you can’t.
And it’s not necessarily that you haven’t made an effort. Maybe you’ve tried and
failed and tried and failed, and you’re not sure you can do it anymore.
It’s exhausting when nothing seems to work. It’s infuriating when you give it your best, but your best just doesn’t seem good enough.It’s even worse when it feels like other people and things are standing in your way.
You could do it if only things would change, or someone would change,or the world would change.It’s all so mind-numbingly frustrating.
At this point, most of us make one of two choices. We either plow full force ahead at obstacles that don’t seem to move, which ultimately leaves us feeling helpless; or, we conclude that it’s just not worth trying and do nothing, which also leaves us feeling helpless.
When I had no money, no job prospects, no friends, and no confidence, it seemed that no matter what I did, I wasn’t making progress. I’d exhaust my energy, feel I had nothing to show for it, and then conclude it was better to give up.
I assumed I had no choice; I’d always feel stuck, powerless, and out of control.But I’ve since learned there is another way.
If we choose to stop reacting to frustration, we can instead respond to it wisely and proactively so we can learn from it, move through it, and let it go.This section will explore how to do that.But first, to recap from the previous sections…
The key to releasing difficult feelings is to first accept three things:-Feeling difficult feelings isn’t the problem. The problem is thinking we shouldn’t feel them and then causing ourselves more pain by feeling more feelings about our feelings.
-We can’t always control our feelings, but we can control what we do with them. We can either stew in them and get ourselves stuck, or learn from them and do something proactive.
Letting go is not a one-time decision. It’s something we may need to do repeatedly. But the more we practice, the easier it becomes to come back to the present moment.
That’s what it means to let go of frustration. It’s not about never feeling frustrated again. It’s about taking power back from frustration so we can use it to improve our lives and ourselves. In this way, our frustration can work for us, not against us.
How, exactly, do we do that?
FIRST, CHANGE YOUR STORY ABOUT HOW THINGS SHOULD BE
Frustration results from unmet expectations. It’s when you’ve told yourself a story about how things should be, but the reality is nothing like it.
If you feel the present should look different than it does, you’ll likely conclude there’s no value in the way it is, and this only serves to exacerbate the frustration.
But, if you can challenge this idea that you know how things should be and that things aren’t working now, you can create some mental space to more effectively work with the now.
In other words, when you stop seeing the present moment as something that stands between you and where you want to be, you’re better able to accept what is and create what can be.
It’s not about surrendering to something you don’t want. It’s about changing the presumption that you’re not getting what you need. Maybe you are, but you just don’t know it.
Think about the people who inspire us the most. They’ve often created meaning,happiness, and success, not in spite of their challenges but because of them they’ve felt stuck, lost, and confused, and in the process of navigating the chaos,discovered their strengths, their priorities, or their purpose.
For example, it’s the non-profit foundation that wouldn’t exist if someone hadn’t been sick. It’s the club that would never have formed if someone didn’t first feel completely disconnected. It’s the satisfying relationship that never would have developed if someone hadn’t first lost another.
Maybe your unmet plan is part of a better plan that you don’t yet know to appreciate.
NEXT, EXPLORE YOUR FRUSTRATION
Once you’ve accepted where you are and considered there may be some value in it,you’re then free to identify why, exactly, you felt so attached to a different story.
You may think you’re frustrated because you need a different job. But why? Is it because you’re trying to live up to the expectations of other people? Because you’re comparing yourself to others? Because you think everything would be easier if you made more money?
You may think you’re frustrated because you want to be in a relationship. But why?Is it because you assume you’d be happier if you weren’t alone? Or you’re afraid of how it looks that you’re alone?
Or you’re afraid of what you feel when you’re alone?It’s entirely possible that the motivation behind your wants isn’t really aligned with your needs.
See this time of unmet expectations as an opportunity to get clear on your internal motivations. Start with what you think you want and then ask why.
And when you answer that question, ask why again.Keep going until you have an answer that isn’t dependent on a specific outcome but rather a need you’re looking to meet.
For example, at the most frustrating time of my life, I felt convinced that everything would be better if I made a lot of money (which motivated me to sign up for a get rich-quick scam that cost a lot to join, compromised my values, and didn’t earn me a cent).
When I broke that apart, it looked like this:
Why do I think I need a lot of money? Because I could do a lot more if I had more.
Why do I want to do a lot more? Because I hate how I spend my time.
Why do I hate how I spend my time? Because I’m lonely, bored, and purposeless.
Why am I lonely, bored, and purposeless? Because I isolate myself all the time.
Why do I isolate myself all the time? Because I’m scared of being rejected.
Why am I scared of being rejected? Because it may confirm that I’m not good enough.
So what is it that I really want? I want to do something fun and meaningful with my time and, in the process, connect with other people without worrying that I’m not good enough.
If the get-rich-quick scam had worked instantly, melting my frustration over not getting what I thought I wanted, I may never have taken the time to discover what I really needed and why.
After you do this…
TAKE SMALL STEPS THAT ALIGN WITH YOUR INTERNAL NEED.
You don’t need to create one specific outcome to honor your deepest internal motivation.
You can likely meet that in any number of ways—by both working toward long-term goals and doing small things right now.
If what you really need is to feel more purposeful, volunteer while you try to identify or find meaningful work. If what you really need is to feel a sense of belonging, join a club while you open yourself up to new relationships.
In this way, you won’t feel that your needs will only be met at some destination down the line (that you may or may not reach); you’ll be proactively striving to meet them now, even as you work toward other goals.
And each tiny step, no matter how small, will feel a lot more satisfying, because it won’t be just another inch forward on your march toward a happy ending; it will be a vital part of a new life story that’s far more satisfying and aligned with who you really are.
If you can change your story about how things should be, identify why you wrote that story in the first place, and then create a reality in which you don’t feel powerless to meet your needs, you’ll inevitably feel better about the present.
Doing this doesn’t completely eliminate frustration, since we are, after all, only human; it does, however, make it easier to let it go more quickly each time it arises.
Now, Let's Talk About Anxiety
The first time I felt intense anxiety I thought I might explode through my skin. It felt like something pulsating, then trembling, then full on quaking, deep within my core.I couldn’t breathe.
I couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t sit still. I felt overwhelmed,beyond uncomfortable, and certain that I needed to do something anything to make this terrifying sense of panic go away.
Underneath the panic was dread—a sense that something was wrong, or might go wrong, and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.
If you’ve ever felt this type of scared and unsafe, you know how difficult it can be to not only get through it but also decide how to respond to it.After all, anxiety itself is never the problem.
It’s a problem, but mostly, it’s a symptom of something deeper, some underlying pain.
Deep within the folds of the panic, there is a fear for the future or grief for the past that needs to be acknowledged and addressed.This section will explore a few ways to do just that.
But first, to recap from the previous sections…
The key to releasing difficult feelings is to first accept three things:
Feeling difficult feelings isn’t the problem. The problem is thinking we shouldn’t feel them and then causing ourselves more pain by feeling more feelings about our feelings.
We can’t always control our feelings, but we can control what we do with them. We can either stew in them and get ourselves stuck, or learn from them and do something proactive.-
Letting go is not a one-time decision.
It’s something we may need to do repeatedly. But the more we practice, the easier it becomes to come back to the present moment.That’s what it means to let go of anxiety.
It’s not about never feeling it again.It’s about taking power back from anxiety, so we can use it to improve our lives and ourselves.
In this way, our anxiety can work for us, not against us.How, exactly, do we do that?
PEEL AWAY THE TOP LAYER STORY
When we feel anxiety, most of us immediately think, “This feels bad, and I need to get away from it.”Since we feel anxiety when our fight-or-flight response is triggered by something we think will hurt us, fleeing may seem like the best possible option.
But unlike in the past when a threat might kill us—like a hungry lion gaining traction behind us—we now often feel anxiety in response to events that won’t do us any harm.
And often when it’s something that’s already happened or hasn’t happened yet.
Our bodies may tell us to run, but that will accomplish very little, since the real threat is within.
This may be incredibly difficult, but the first steps in letting go of anxiety are to accept, observe, and sit with it.
Identify all the physical symptoms, breathe through them, and then tell yourself that this won’t last forever.
But more importantly, if you can learn from this experience,the underlying issue won’t either.
Anxiety isn’t just an uncomfortable state that makes you feel powerless; it’s an indication of something that needs your attention, and that’s actually something to appreciate.
IDENTIFY THE MIDDLE LAYER STORIES
Now that you’ve stopped resisting the anxiety, you’ll be better able to get through the most crippling part of it so you can start to create some mental clarity. The next step is to identify your thoughts and feelings.
Ask yourself: What do I fear has happened? What do I fear might happen? What threat, real or perceived, am I responding to? In what way do I feel out of control? What is the uncertainty I am facing? What else am I feeling?
My responses during one of my worst episodes of anxiety looked a little like this:
What do I fear has happened? I have irrevocably alienated everyone I care about.
What do I fear might happen? No one will love me, everyone will judge me, and I will probably deserve it.
What threat, real or perceived, am I responding to? I am going to be alone and I will feel ashamed for the rest of my life.
In what way do I feel out of control? I can’t take back what I did, which means I can’t stop everything from falling apart.
What is the uncertainty I’m facing? I don’t know what other people are going to say and do in response to what I did, and if I don’t know what they’ll say or do, I don’t know if I can handle it.
What else am I feeling? I feel insecure, guilty, scared, and helpless.
Once you identify your thoughts and feelings, you can then get to the real issue.
IDENTIFY THE ROOT STORY
Underneath the thoughts and feelings, there is a belief or beliefs that make you feel stuck. There is a story you’ve been telling yourself, consciously or unconsciously, that creates a sense of powerlessness.
That story is the real problem, of which the anxiety is a symptom.
For me, the beliefs underneath those thoughts and feelings were: I am a bad person,other people will always have reasons to look down on me, and I will always feel pain as a result of these truths.
Truths.That word was the problem. I believed these things were facts. These things were the lions gaining on me. These things were the inevitability of ruin.Of course I felt anxious when I regularly told myself I was going to hurt, and it was my fault.
My anxiety was there to teach me that I needed to change my belief about myself, I needed to challenge my assumptions about other people, and I needed to empower myself instead of resigning myself to a life of inevitable pain.
Once you identify your beliefs, you can then work to change them. You can recognize when you’re thinking thoughts that fuel them and consciously choose to dispute those thoughts.
And you can identify new, healthier beliefs, and slowly start acting on them. This isn’t an easy process, and it entails a whole new set of skills.
But the first and most important step is developing self-awareness so your anxiety can actually serve you.
If you can accept and move through anxiety, examine its cause, and initiate a process of self-discovery, you’ll be able to address the core issue to create meaningful change in your life.
Doing this doesn’t completely eliminate anxiety, since we are, after all, only human;it does, however, make it easier to let it go more quickly each time it arises.
I hope you enjoyed reading today's class and I want you to apply what you read only than this 7 day course will turn out fruitful.
Of course you cannot apply each and everything in one GO, but you can highlight some important points and make note of them and use them as a tip to release your frustration and anxiety.
BYE for now, see you tomorrow in the next class on LETTING GO OF SELF-JUDGMENT.
Hi, I'm Manish A passionate blogger from India. I'm on a mission to help you discover your lost happiness and inner peace again by truly connecting with your soul. Believe me you deserve to be truly happy and prosperous in this one and only life.