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Why Do We Get Frustrated?

Have you ever considered that frustration isn’t necessary?

This week I went on a long bike ride up a mountain canyon. It was tough. It was hot. My legs were on fire for a good portion of it.

Every time I pedaled, though, I kept thinking about how worth it, it was going to be. I imagined cruising down the other side of the mountains. I was going to be flying! I would feel the warm breeze on my face and let out my signature whoop, hollering like no one was around.

Once I turned for the ride down, though, I felt the hugest headwind I ever remember feeling. I had 20 miles of hard pedaling downhill in the highest gear saved for uphill grinding. I had to work harder to get downhill than I had going uphill.

It was long. It was rough. I did some serious mental work and coaching myself through to the end of that 50 mile ride.

Here is what I rediscovered.

It is never the situation that causes us frustration, anxiety, disappointment, despair, it is the thoughts about the situation. My thought was the one that is flowing underneath every frustration and disappointment that I can think of, that life can offer.

“This shouldn’t be happening.”

This one little thought is the one affecting our interactions on the highway, with our teenagers, the phone solicitor, the in-law, the autoimmune manifestation of the day…and it is totally optional.

Here’s why.

We live in a world that is half good and half bad. We have the amazing ability to choose to be ornery that day or be kind. Others have the same choice. We live, we die. We are sick, we are well. It is the nature of this experience, and yet we choose to believe on some level that this isn’t how it should be.

What if we chose to think that others are acting exactly how they should be?

What if we chose to believe that having an autoimmune condition is exactly as life should be?

What if we chose to believe that the universe, God, whatever you believe is bigger than you, is working for our good?

The only reason I didn’t suffer going uphill was because I was telling myself this is exactly how it should be.

How could life be different if we tell ourselves, “This is exactly how it should be.”?

Try it on. How does it feel?

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