Containing Frustration and Disappointment - The 5 Tips

If there is a world where you can never experience disappointments and frustrations, I bet everyone of us will jump into the portal leading to such dimension (and I guess there will be a catch, and it will not be an easy one). Life on this Earth has its ups and downs, and by the “downs” I mean being disappointed and frustrated.

Life has taught me that there are 2 things that can disappoint you. Other than these 2, they all just connect to them – you can trace their roots from the former. These 2 things are people and events; they can disappoint you separately or sometimes they go hand in hand.

Disappointed Man

No… No, I do not mean to encourage you to be anti-social or to avoid situations dealing with people and relationships. That is not healthy! In fact, I am going to push you to be more caring and compassionate to people especially to your loved ones and to your own very self as well.

Besides, people and events are what makes human life purposeful, and the people who love you can give you a sense of belongingness. Family and friends along with the events that go with them are what makes as truly human.

Now, since we all agree that disappointments and frustrations are unavoidable, should we then lay our arms down and wave our flag of surrender? In a previous article, I wrote about laziness and procrastination, on understanding the underlying causes behind them. Sadness and depression wrought about by frustration and disappointment can make us lazy and can steal away our vigor for life's adventures. So, the answer to my question – no, we should not – but then again, it all depends on you.

What I suggest we can do against frustration and disappointment is to contain them, weaken their effects on you, and control your reaction that goes along with them, in order that you may continue living a happy and contented life. I have collated and listed 5 tips based on experience, observation, and the many conversations that I had with wise and more experienced people.

1. Aim high but bow low

How many times have you heard that we should dream big, aim high, and reach for the stars? These people who said so were right to advise us on such. Wouldn't you agree with me, however, that most of your greatest disappointments stem from your own dreams, ambitions, and expectations?

As a human being, you will always have goals. They may be short-term or long-term, minute or grand, but human life as we know it always has goals. Otherwise, there is no point to have a purpose for living.

There is this Filipino fable about The Bamboo and The Mango Tree, wherein the Bamboo is hailed for being resilient against storms and strong winds because it can bend low and not go against the wind. The Mango tree, on the other hand looks sturdy and tall, but it is no match against a cyclone because of its arrogant stiffness and it does not know how to bend low along with the wind.

As the old wives used to say, “Go and fly high, reach the clouds and touch the sky, but make sure your feet still know how to walk.”

2. Start small, do not rush

Spiders and frogs are creatures that can jump, take big leaps, and get away with it. How about humans, are we capable of enormous leaps? Oh yes, humans can take the big leap – but always done with faith – the big leap of faith.

There are those who, armed with their dreams and ideas, become excited and take the big leap, but only to land with injuries and broken bones. The rush is not worth it. My advice: be realistic, plan ahead, and assess the risk before you go ahead.

I guess you are no stranger to success stories wherein the protagonists always start on something with the little they had. Slowly but surely, and so they say, they took the ladder to success one small step at a time.

Look at the tortoise, it moves very slowly but its lifespan can reach to hundreds of years, as compared to other animals who move faster but whose lifespan never reaches 365 days. No wonder the turtle is the symbol of peaceful resilience and persistence.

3. Desire the simple things

Desiring too much can indeed cause tiredness to our spirits. When we put our goals on extravagance and expensive goods, we push ourselves towards superficial objectives. Material things are fleeting and they do not have an enduring satisfaction. Once we acquire them, we tend to desire for more until we become restless and tired.

My late father was an accomplished man. Yet, he seldom bought clothes; they were mostly gifts from family and friends. He never went to fancy restaurants on his own; he would only go there if someone wanted to give him a treat. He was not much of a techie or “gadget man” either. In all of these, I saw in him the face of a happy, peaceful, and contented man.

Live simply, desire simply, never go beyond your means!

4. Do not feed the “green eyed monster”

No, it is not the Incredible Hulk that I am pertaining to. The green eyed monster is the human emotion called Envy.

Incredible HulkYou want to be unhappy with your life? Be envious of others, resent the success of people other than yourself, and continuously compare yourself to your neighbor, colleague, or sibling.

You might have achieved some amount of success already. You might have bought a new house or car. Yet, your neighbor's is bigger, better and “beautifuler” (as Princess Anna from Disney's Frozen would say). So how do you feel comparing your achievement to your neighbor's? You feel unhappy, frustrated, discontented, and maybe even angry at yourself and your fellowman.

Envy is the deadly sin that eats up your soul. It devours your capacity to be happy. It is the monster that can destroy relationships.

5. Surround yourself with encouraging people

Now, this tip can be a little difficult since you cannot choose the parents you are born into and the siblings you grow up with. Besides, family is family. However, what you can choose are the friends that you go along with.

It is a tragic scene if you are surrounded by miserable people, folks who think ill of others (probably because they have issues on themselves that they do not want to be resolved). Not to be contrary to being amiable and sociable, I am on the side of being selective of "FRIENDS", a close knit of people who will be honest with you yet will encourage you to be the best person you can be. They are the people who will not pull you down but will push you up. They will be happy for you the moment you are able to reach the heights.

In contrast, friends with negative thinking will not only cause you frustration and discouragement, but they can also pass on their misery to you. With such scenario, you prove the saying that...
"Birds of the same feather flock together."
Life is too short yet too beautiful to let yourself dwell much on failures, disappointments and frustrations. Move on, those are just passing moments of your own life's story. Surely, it does not end there.

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  1. Great words of wisdom, thank you for sharing.


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