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The Beauty of Frustration

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

I actually enjoy frustration – well maybe not the in-the-moment stuck in something “grrrrr-ness” that comes with it. It has a power like sadness, a bittersweet ability to bring one smack right back into the present moment and open to the pain (or in this case frustration) that life can be, sometimes.

Although frustration may not be the most pleasant of feelings, it’s beauty lies in it being a sign that there’s something that is being missed. Something that I had tried to make myself be okay with, or have overlooked, or haven’t taken the time to really understand.

The reasons for not being aware of where the origins of the frustrations are bountiful; maybe I didn’t want to have to deal with it at that moment that it arose, maybe I didn’t want to deal with it at all, maybe I’ve taken on a story that someone told me I had to do something, or I am forcing myself into something, or that I haven’t taken an action that I know I should, or maybe it’s an expectation that isn’t being met, or maybe my body isn’t working the way I wish it would.

All of these boil down to something that once seen, can open up a world of choice; and take a frustration into something empowering. But until it is seen and understood then the cycle of frustration will continue.

This happens a lot in yoga, especially therapeutic movement. When we start becoming aware of what’s not working well, it can be a frustrating experience. If this frustration takes you out to the point of not continuing it becomes a barrier to progress instead of the beautiful gem that it is.

I’m excited when I feel frustration because I know that when I sit with it and really see what it’s about, it’s going to help me become even more myself; it will offer insight and help me be closer to what I truly want.

The beauty of frustration is it seems to arrive just before a breakthrough…that breakthrough is pretty exciting. It may require courage, or a different choice that takes effort, but it’s exciting none-the-less.

I’m not saying that frustration has only one cause, and that it’s always the same reason for everybody, although I do have many friends that could be able to speak to that side of things.

I’m here to lift up the conversation of how we think and feel about emotions. Energy in motion can get stuck or impeded by many things;  a belief, a desire, maybe an unwillingness, maybe a broken heart, maybe something completely different. And isn’t it great that Yoga helps bring all this to the forefront?! (a tiny bit of sarcasm blended with truth)

In our society we say: “I am frustrated, (or sad, or happy)”. Not to be pedantic about meanings, but this isn’t true. I am not frustration, I feel frustration. I know I am not frustration because I have felt times in my life when I am not frustrated…and times when I have. There is something that is deeper than the emotion that remains the same regardless of what emotion I am experiencing in that moment. I also know that I am not frustration because I have the ability to change that emotion by choice of action.

And whilst we are not our emotions, or any emotion,  each one is an opportunity to be truer to ourselves. A gem, a diamond of wisdom in the rough emotional seas; there is something there in the heart of being frustrated that holds information, something to be seen that will bring clarity and eventually closer to ourselves.

So, even those frustrating moments of frustration are fodder for clarity. Really, it’s something to be excited about. There’s beauty in frustration.

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