One of the most common negative feelings we experience in this life is that of frustration. Many times it’s our frustration towards doing the wrong thing, frustration towards making mistakes, frustration towards spending time on something that doesn’t pan out, frustration towards thinking you want something and then realizing that you don’t know shit about what you do want and never will.
Well, you get the point, there’s a lot of frustration out there.
But what’s most interesting is how much frustration isn’t ours. Times when we’re having a great day but our spouse or partner comes walking through the door sweating, says one thing to you and boom, whatever feeling we had is now absolutely gone.
We see this in many places, children experience it with their parents, parents experience it with their children, partners experience with each other, students experience it with teachers and so on and so on.
What this means is that a significant proportion of our frustration with the world doesn’t even come from our own actions!
Now, I’m not trying to encourage looking at yourself as a victim here (that rarely does any good) but it is important that we recognize the reality of the world we live in.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter how much you try to fix yourself or learn new things, there’s always going to be a proportion of life that is completely out of your hands. This is a proportion of life that regardless of how “Zen” you’re able to get yourself, you’re still going to be the catching-net for a large amount of frustration, anger, bitterness and disappointment that isn’t even yours.
But there is a way forward.
Maybe there always will be frustration and bitterness in our lives and maybe it just might be out of our control, but we can make things easier for ourselves, we can find a solution that helps us feel good about the situation despite having to experience these emotions.
My strategy is self-acceptance.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about going “Ah the world is just like this, oh well,” this is about more than that.
Self-acceptance is something we must realize transcends just who we “think” we are.
What I mean is that when we experience another person’s feelings and frustrations and disappointments towards life, you must realize that what we are really experiencing is something about ourselves.
No, this isn’t our feelings that we’re experiencing, but the fact that we can feel them and pick up on them, that part is definitely us.
I think a lot of us forget how empathic we can really be and weirdly enough, I think we forget how empathic a lot of us just are.
There is no on or off switch, if we’re around someone else who’s feeling things, we will automatically just pick on them.
Do you ever feel this way? I know I do.
I also know that this part of me (the part that picks up on others) can be an absolute pain in the butt when the emotions I pick up on are negative and difficult to handle, but you’d never hear me complain about any of this when I pick up on the good-feelings, things that make me happy.
It’s almost scary how quick I would be in those cases to attribute what is really the good-feelings of someone else to something about me.
Ok, let’s get back to the point.
The point is that a lot of our experience is just out of our control.
There is a lot of experience (and feelings) that we get from other people.
Now while this is not us (it’s other people who are affecting us) we must realize that the fact that we are able to be affected in the first place, is us. It means your empathy is part of being human, it means your society matters to you.
And while we may not be able to do anything about these energies that come from other people in our lives, we could start by accepting our part in the matter.
Now it might be presumptuous of me to say this but if we’re gifted enough to be able to experience another person because of our own ability to pick up and read on their energies, then maybe the point of being able to pick up on other people is to let these other people know that it’s ok to feel these things and show them that however frustrated, disappointed, bitter or angry they might get, there is always a place in us that they can come to and that there is always a place in us that understands them.
If we all start to feel just a little bit more understood, then maybe self-acceptance will do for us what self-improvement never even could, it will finally make us feel normal.