Can you recall the last time you were frustrated? Maybe it was just today when something happened and you furrowed your brow, threw your hands up, or eye-rolled in exasperation.
When I look at my own life, I can see I spent several years feeling frustrated or annoyed with people and situations. At work or at home, I found lots of things frustrating…
Apathetic bosses, boring weekly progress reports, pointless meetings, uninspired work, spineless people in positions of power, spam, the work required just to go on vacation, the dread of the work waiting for me when I got back from vacation, potty training, feeling like I had to do everything myself, the stack of unread books mocking me from my nightstand, errands, in-laws, red lights when you’re running late, people who don’t get sh*t done, and flies in my chardonnay. Thanks, Alanis, it does go figure.
I mean, really, who hasn’t felt like screaming at one point or another? No wonder I lived for a while counting the days until Friday, wine-o’clock. The responses in my inner conversation went something like this:
“He’s a jackass!”
“What the hell is wrong with them?”
“This is a total waste of my time.”
“This is so ridiculous.”
“She should know better!”
“If he/she/they cared about me, they would not be doing this.”
“How did I get myself into this?”
“I must be doing something wrong.”
“I think he’s doing this on purpose.”
And, “This is not sustainable.”
Not that I didn’t have a point at times, but here’s the issue. Every one of those thoughts contains a big fat judgment of someone else or the situation or both. And when we judge, we become the victim, and no one can be happy feeling victimized and disempowered. The antidote to all of this is acceptance.
Acceptance puts you back in the driver’s seat.
Acceptance doesn’t ask you to like what’s happening or approve of it in any way. It simply recognizes what is and doesn’t make it “wrong” or “bad.” When we make a person/situation wrong, we’re resisting it and we’re going to be upset, angry, annoyed, etc. In other words, not happy.
When you are not happy, you are in resistance to something (or someone).
Resistance means we are pushing against something or someone with our own thoughts, beliefs, and opinions for how things “should” be. To be against something, rather than “for” something, puts us in our weakest position. Notice how resistance takes us out of our power by placing the thing outside of us in control of whether or not we are happy. From that position, you cannot be your most powerful, creative, able-to-take-action self.
When you stop resisting what’s happening around you and accept it, you shift your energy.
Acceptance is like a breath of fresh air. It is a gift you give to yourself whenever you notice you could use some more uplifting feelings, a little less stress, and more joy. No one can be happy playing the victim. Acceptance is the ticket out. Acceptance is recognizing you are free to change your experience of any situation. It is a skill and a mark of emotional maturation that enables you to access your own happiness—and you deserve it.
Next time you’re frustrated, try this:
Repeat the affirmation:
- I can’t change this, but I can change my response to it.
Then, complete these sentences to help you see your choices:
- If I was willing to accept this person or situation as-is and use my energy differently, I would_____.
- If I was willing to accept this situation, one way I might choose to respond to this person or situation is_____.
- Another way I could respond to this person or situation is_____.
- One more way I could respond to this person or situation differently is_____.
Interested in mastering these tools?
Heathere Evans, APR, teaches teams and individuals how they can enhance their success through emotional intelligence and effective communications practices, inside and out. Learn more about Pivot workshops and coaching or follow her on Twitter.