According to Merriam-Webster, frustration is a deep chronic sense or state of insecurity and dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs. Words like deep and chronic are pretty intense! Here lies the problem though – no one cares that we are frustrated anymore.
There are over-used words in the English vocabulary. Words like awesome, cool, and sweet have lost their original meaning. In business we misuse words like page, plate, box, loop and ball. I don’t even have to give examples. If you are reading this your brain knows what they are. Frustration is our emotional buzzword and it has lost its impact. However, behind every frustration lies a more targeted emotion that can be more richly described then the generic word “frustration”. Are we really frustrated with our kids or are we chagrined (which means embarrassed or humiliated) because all our good parenting doesn’t seem to stick? Are we frustrated with the traffic or perhaps we simply feel rushed? Are we frustrated with our boss or are we really feeling thwarted (which means the feeling of someone preventing us from accomplishing a purpose)? Sometimes behind the word frustration is a disappointing sorrow that some are reluctant to admit. Frustration is an acceptable label and it doesn’t make us feel as vulnerable.
I often encourage my clients to not use the word “frustration” and ask them to choose another emotional word that best targets what they are feeling. If they struggle, I’ll pull out a list and ask them to review it and then pick. Sometimes you just have to name your feelings differently. When you name it, you can claim it for what it really means to you and then work on taming it so it doesn’t keep getting in the way of what you really want.
What is causing you to feel frustrated? Is it really frustration you feel or something else? My challenge to you is to go all week and not use the word frustration!