According to Merriam-Webster, frustration is a deep chronic sense or state of insecurity and dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs. That’s a pretty intense emotion! 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 than 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)? To get different results in life you have to actually do something different. Often by shifting the language we use we can get a different reaction, a different conversation and maybe a different result. I guarantee you if I tell my husband he frustrates me, he may just chuckle and say, “You frustrate me too, babe”! But if I say to him, “I feel nonplused by you,” my bottom dollar is he’ll drop what he is doing, look at me and say, “You feel what by me?” Nonplused (also spelled nonplussed) means at a loss for words or at a loss for what to think.