The human experience can provide many opportunities for frustration. At times it can feel like the entire world has turned its powers of gravity against us; nothing is going our way.
We struggle against this tide, and yet it grows stronger.
And yet I call them “opportunities” for frustration, because as much as they seem like inescapable issues at the time, every single one is the result of actively choosing to be frustrated by something.
I think back to my childhood. I would be minding my own business, swimming through Super Mario Bros 3 in my frog suit, when my sisters would decide to start a conversation with me, or show me the hairstyle they gave Barbie.
Next thing I know, I’m dead and the frog suit is a thing of the past. I would immediately lash out at them, claiming they “made me die.”
As we grew a bit older, both sisters still provided daily doses of frustrations. One would play music that annoyed me, the other would watch television shows precisely when my show of choice was on.
We all have that guy in the gym who “distracts” us with his grunting, or the construction crew that has been working a little to long just outside our apartment window.
Just as I did with my sisters, we take these inconveniences as personal slights.
We see the guy in the gym as purposely grunting for attention, or the construction crew making noise just to bother us.
The guy who cut us off made us miss that light to make us late for work. The cop gave us that ticket to ruin our weekend.
As though I was the centre of the universe, I believed my sisters intentionally infringed on my comfort.
The fact is, people are doing their thing. They are the pilots of the spacecraft navigating their own little personal universe.
The moment I stopped taking things personally, the easier it was to let things go.
The construction crew doesn’t know we exist. The guy in the gym is in the zone. My sisters had no idea I was home from hockey, or school, or hanging out with friends. The cop was doing his job.
Things will happen to us every day, and that’s a good thing. I would feel like I had been robbed of this amazing experience we call life if every day wasn’t a complete random series of events.
But it’s how we interpret these events that matter.
We can struggle against the current, and fight it until we’re tired, frustrated, and angry at the world.
Or, we can float downstream and worry about the things we can control.
For nothing can frustrate or annoy us without our complete and explicit permission.
Be good to each other,