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The Unnecessary Weight of Frustration

Last weekend one of my daughters had a lot of fun things planned with her friends. To begin with, her Besties were going to come over for a breakfast of warm homemade cinnamon rolls. This girl has a knack for baking!

On Friday night, she made the cinnamon rolls from scratch and placed the perfect rolled dough into a pan and topped them with a heavy cream sauce. They would wait in the fridge until morning, when she would pull them out to rise, bake and then serve the luscious finished product.

Except...they never made it into the fridge. When we awoke, the pan was on the counter nearly overflowing with risen dough. My heart sunk.

Because they were topped with heavy cream sauce, I warned her that they weren't safe to be eaten. She disputed, "but I worked so hard on them." and I pointed out that the rest of the weekend would be ruined if they all got sick from eating them.

She googled, "How long can cream safely be unrefrigerated?"

"Do not eat cream that has been left out more than 4 hours." was Google's response.

She was devastated.

Then that devastation turned to frustration, disappointment, failure.

Frustration is the result of expectations placed on yourself combined with the motivation to change something or someone. My daughter may have been thinking, "I went through the effort to create a delicious breakfast and I need to find a way to make it work" When the exerted effort fails to produce the desired outcome, Frustration is created.

The realization that the desired outcome cannot be experienced is so uncomfortable; Besides Frustration, that discomfort might be called disappointing, defeated, irritation, annoyance. Failure.

These feelings are not wrong. They are not weakness. They are simply uncomfortable. To not have what we thought we were going to have is so hard for our brain! But, The bigger issue comes when we make it mean something about us personally. Your Inner Critic steps:

I'm such an idiot. Why didn't I remember to put that pan in the fridge!? I never do anything right. I should just quit trying.

Blaming and/or Quitting is the unnecessary weight of Frustration.

In her book, Atlas of the Heart, Brene Brown admits that on days when she just wants to pull the covers over her head and stay in bed, she promises herself that she's "going to get less excited about things so I feel less disappointed". But then she remembers a man she interviewed for her research years ago.

He admitted he thought the best way to live life was to expect the worst case scenario so that if it really happened he wouldn't be disappointed and if it didn't, he'd be "pleasantly surprised". But then there was a car accident and his wife was killed. He realized that expecting the worst didn't prepare him for the worst. He didn't only grieve her loss, but he grieved all the moments they shared that he didn't fully enjoy because he was preparing himself for the worst "what if."

"There are too many people in the world today who decide to live disappointed rather than risk feeling disappointment." - Brene Brown

You can, and will, survive Frustration. It feels so much better than the disappointment of a life lived to avoid risk.

Assess what brought you there and don't judge yourself for it. Just decide if you want to stay there or choose to accept that you're a human who makes mistakes and learns from them. You can't control as much of life as you thought you could, and that's Ok.

Know that you're capable of learning from the experience. Give yourself grace for what you didn't do or didn't know. Stay anchored to Hope.

And release the unnecessary weight of Frustration.



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