Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Frustration and Expectation

Do you feel frustration a lot? If you experience it occasionally, that’s normal and fine, but if you feel it quite frequently, that’s not so healthy. I will talk about the emotion of frustration today.

We feel our basic emotions, such as anger, sadness, joy, and fear, naturally from birth, but frustration is more complicated: When we have some “expectation” of something and this expectation is not met, we get disappointed and experience “frustration.” Without such expectation, we would not have frustration, even if other emotions may be experienced.

We tend to have a lot of expectations of ourselves, our spouse, family, company, others, society, and so on. And the more expectations, the more disappointment and frustration we end up having. What is most important in this picture is to look into our expectations themselves, instead of experiencing frustration and/or frustrating situations.

Our “normal” is not really normal for everyone. It varies between individuals, cultures, and generations. What we think how things should be is not an absolute common belief. Others and society actually rarely satisfy our desires. The important thing is to understand and admit what are reasonable expectations “at this point,” “realistically speaking.”

As a result, there is some sense of “acceptance.” Based on this acceptance of reality, we can make a decision of what to do and how to do. For example, either to promote improvement, give up, avoid, etc.

What’s essential here is to recognize what is under our control, and what is out of our control. If we try to do something beyond our locus of control, the worries and expectation will be unresolved with an outcome of disappointment and exhaustion. Sticking to the realm under our control and doing what we can do is most important.

Excessive and unrealistic expectation is nothing but harmful. It is helpful to reexamine your expectations for yourself, others, and the world.