The Value of Frustration
The Value of Frustration
Have you ever felt frustrated with a situation in your life? You feel like you’ve done your best and whatever you were trying to achieve just wasn’t happening? Does it seem like there are periods of your life when all you experience is frustration? It seems like this is especially true when you feel like you’ve been getting where you want to go, but then something seems to block you.
When I work with people on their healing, I’ve seen this so many times. They’ll be getting better and actually feeling like there’s progress and then there will be a setback. If you’ve ever been ill, you know that as healing happens, there are often setbacks.
Kayla has Lyme Disease and has been making some progress in getting better after 6 years of being ill. She had 3 good weeks and felt like she was moving in the right direction. Then suddenly she had a bad night again where she felt more pain than she’d had in six months. Her immediate response was severe frustration. Was she doing something wrong she thought?
Frustration is actually a required emotion on the spiritual/healing path. When we want something, we begin to create a plan for achieving our goal, be it wellness, money, or even romance. We put all this energy into getting better and then suddenly it seems like we’ve gotten nowhere. We re-examine our path to see if we did something wrong. Perhaps we find that we did do something that didn’t work, and start again. Perhaps we find that its all okay but we still aren’t where we want to be. Frustration is the fire that drives us to push deeper within to achieve our goals.
I know the law of attraction folks want us to believe that everything is based on attraction and if you aren’t getting what you think you want, you may not actually want it. But I maintain that on a spiritual path, frustration is a necessary element of our growth.
When you get to the place of frustration, you tend to want to give up. If you want something badly enough, you don’t actually end up quitting. It causes you to redouble your efforts to achieve your goal.
When I applied to medical school, many years ago, I didn’t get in the first time I applied. I went to the dean of admissions and he told me that I needed higher test scores. So I spent the summer studying harder than I had before. I put everything I had into my studies. When I took the MCAT (medical school admissions test) the second time, I actually did worse!! Oh no! I was of course quite frustrated. I had dedicated my life to getting in to medical school and I hadn’t done well enough.
I had to figure out a way to get into medical school in spite of doing worse on a key test. I was determined and no way was I going to quit. I decided that the only way to get in was to do really well in the interview. A professor who had been on the admissions committee coached me. He helped me overcome my shyness and practice answering questions in a way that would explain my performance. My frustration is what led me to seek more deeply into my resources so that I could achieve my goal.
As I was talking to Kayla this evening about her health, I realized, it was the frustration that was forcing her to go inside of herself to find the strength for her healing. She is determined to get better, and she is working hard at it. In the case of difficult diseases, like Lyme, autoimmune disease, and cancer, all of your focus is needed to get you to move forward. The frustration is a tool for pushing you into your determination. For Kayla, it is helping her to go deeper into what is required for her to heal her illness. Every time she is frustrated, she has to make a decision if its worth it for her to move forward. When she does that, she keeps pushing herself further, and she takes another leap in her progress.