In Praise of Frustration

In Praise of Frustration

This past week has been, shall we say, challenging. Euphemisms aside, the past several days of my life have been aggravating, frustrating, and exhausting, for a variety of reasons. The specifics are unimportant; what really matters is the way in which these inevitable curve balls are perceived and managed. As a spiritual individual, I realize that the human experience brings with it a measure of difficulty, which is an integral part of soul growth and evolution – the very purpose of our earthly existence. I also understand that the most challenging times provide the greatest opportunities for growth, and that they must be embraced for the lessons they bring. Yes, I understand all this, and teach it in my classes. However, as an all-too-human being, I find it easier to embrace these concepts when life runs smoothly. When the inevitable challenges arrive, my instinctive reaction is to rail and complain and whine. Why me? Fortunately, my strong spiritual core usually helps me return to my true center of being, which allows me to confront obstacles on the path and accept them as necessary for growth.

 That being said, there are exceptions to every rule; the past week has been one of those. Perhaps it was the relentless onslaught of problems, difficulties, crises, and glitches. Perhaps it was the seemingly endless severe winter weather, of which we are all weary. Perhaps the week was intended to be nothing more than an extended lesson wrapped in misery. Whatever the purpose, frustration was truly the order of the day – or to be more exact- the week.

 Frustration – an unpleasant feeling at best. At its worst, it can lead to anger, violence, and destruction. However, like all emotions, it is neither good nor bad – it simply is. When circumstances cause us to feel frustration, acknowledging the feeling is a good first step. A simple, sincere acknowledgement allows the frustration to rise to the surface where it can be fully felt, then released.

 It is also important to realize that the feeling of frustration is often a gift. If we continually experience frustration in a certain aspect of our lives, perhaps it is Spirit’s way of telling us that we need to take a different approach. Frustration results when goals are thwarted or desires are unmet. It creates the illusion of a “dead end”. However, if we remember that the Universe always provides, with the Highest Good as its goal, then we may realize that there are no “dead ends” for Spirit. Once we realize this, frustration may be seen as a clear message to change our approach or tactics. When we heed this message, the path becomes clear, the frustration diminishes, and balance is achieved once again.

 From this perspective, frustration becomes an ally, a compass to use if we lose our way. It also serves to illustrate the higher purpose of those emotions and feelings that we, in all our humanness, have labeled as “bad”.  As stated earlier, emotions are neither good nor bad – they simply are. How we respond to them is what matters. When we begin to view these challenges and frustrations as messages and learning opportunities, we align ourselves more with the Universe and Spirit, in accordance with the Highest Good. We relax into the all-encompassing wisdom of Spirit, and allow ourselves to Accept and Trust.

As for myself, I listened to my intuition, my Higher Self, and heeded my own advice. I allowed the frustrating aspects of the week to surface, be acknowledged, and then released with gratitude for what I had learned. As I did so, I realized that I had been stuck in an illusory dead end of my own making, creating unnecessary emotional hardship. By simply shifting my perspective and appreciating the alliance of frustration, the path was once again clear.

 Lesson learned. Why not me?