Managing Frustrations in a Frustrating World

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“Face challenges, fear, and frustration by seeking out knowledge and opportunities for growth.” 

~ Fanny Mairena

Today’s leaders must be powerful without entering into the fray caused by frustration. They must refrain from the all-to-often ugly, closed-hearted responses typical when affronted, unfairly treated and disrespected. So how does one remain influential in the face of frustrations? To do so puts an end to victimhood. Contrary to popular thinking, victimhood is not when other people treat us poorly. It’s when we are influenced by their negative convictions and choose to treat them similarly. In our work, we use The Frustration Tool; from the book, Getting the Love you Want by Harville Hendrix. The tool goes like this:

Step 1: State your frustration about a behavior (not a person’s character). Say, I don’t like it when youand state the behavior, I don’t like it when you leave before completing your work.”.” You are not saying, “I don’t like it when you are selfish or thoughtless.” We often resist saying, I don’t like it when you… because this way of being direct often became an attack if done without intention, and we were also discouraged in speaking up too, so we avoided managing frustrations at all.

Step 2: State desired outcomes. Say “because “I don’t like it when you leave before completing your work, because I want us to be a team that supports each other. I want to know that I can count on you to do that.” When we take this step, we are inspiring care and values in each other rather than rushing for a resolution which is often then a demand.

Step 3: Ask for changed behavior. Say, What I want is…“ (we often don’t like saying, “I want”) and “Are you willing?” When people skip step 2 and rush to step 3, often backfires. Also, we fear asking for commitment, Are you willing?but need to learn it’s good to allow barriers to arise to be resolved. Say, What I want is for you to submit your work over to me before you leave for the day … Are you willing?”

Staying in Your Yard. I once had a client use this tool with her boss who frequently set up meetings with her and then cancelled them without telling her, causing her great anxiety and frustration. She did not like conflict but felt this tool would be a respectful way to address her frustrations. She practiced the tool in advance because she values harmony and relationships. Here’s what she reported afterwards: “When I used the tool, my boss said, “Who the hell do you think you are?! I pay your paycheck lady; you don’t pay mine! How dare you come and say this to me!” I replied, “You practiced and consciously chose to stand up for yourself respectful to you both, using this tool. When you consider this from your side alone, ‘how do you feel about yourself?” She said, “I’m proud of myself!” I said, “Good, that’s all you are responsible for so hold onto that. 

About six months later, she called to say, “He has not done that behavior again and he keeps coming around to ask questions about what we’re learning over here.” End victim consciousness through your personal responsibility, not focusing on others and their lack of personal responsibility. In this way, you end frustrations and grow in loving your life!

This article was published in Autentico Magazine, October 2019

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