Do You Get Frustrated?
THIS modern age may well be termed the age of frustration. More and more are people giving expression to their frustrations in violence or in other ways. For example, there is the “Dropout Wife,” described as “A Striking Current Phenomenon,” and featured in Life magazine, March 17, 1972.
The magazine told of one such woman, thirty-five years old, a college graduate, wife of a middle-level executive and the mother of three children. After fourteen years of married life she suddenly walked out on her family and started a life of her own, taking along her ten-year-old daughter and leaving two younger boys with their father. Why? Because she began “to see her life as increasingly frustrating and suffocating.” Now she teaches for a living and has joined the women’s ‘lib’ movement.
But it may well be asked of the one who is frustrated, To what extent is it your own fault? Does it inescapably follow that the conditions under which you labor have to be frustrating?
True, there are, even as the Bible shows, certain conditions over which we have no control and which bring frustration. Due to the transgression of our first parents, Adam and Eve, all of us have been “subjected to futility.” In particular do all lovers of righteousness long to be “set free from enslavement to corruption.”—Rom. 8:20-22.
The Word of God holds out a hope of relief from such frustration, namely, by means of the kingdom of God, for which all Christians pray: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place . . . upon earth.” Until that kingdom brings an end to such frustration it can be endured with the help of God’s Word, his spirit and his servants.—Matt. 6:10.
Another reason why some get frustrated is that they try to do too many things at one time. The course of wisdom and contentment would be for them to focus their attention on one thing at a time. A bee in a grove of orange blossoms does not get frustrated because of seeing so many flowers from which to get nectar. No, it concentrates on just one blossom at a time. And so with things that need to be done—take them one at a time.
Of course, here again we should use practical wisdom and realize that if there are too many things that need to be done, some may not get attention, and so we should put first things first; start with the more important and avoid yielding to the temptation of starting with the easiest or more pleasant things. Then if something is not done, it will not matter so much.
In doing this, however, do not devote all your time to one or two things and totally neglect the rest. Extremely conscientious persons need to watch this. Do not handle one task so thoroughly that you do not have time for others. As Jesus, the Son of God, noted, put first things first but do not disregard the lesser things.
If you happen to be frustrated because of having too many things to do, it may well be that you can enlist the aid of others. If a big meal is to be prepared, mother can ask the rest of the family to help out, even letting the young folks have a part. It may take longer the first time to show a child how to help, but, then, in the long run and on subsequent occasions time will be saved. And that is not all. Training children to be helpful will aid them to mature intellectually and emotionally.
In the same way a husband may get frustrated at times because of having too much to do. But if he is willing to be patient he can aid his wife to become a real help; she can learn to use the family car in running errands, make repairs about the house, and so forth.
Similarly if one having oversight, such as a foreman or a manager, at times gets frustrated because of having too much to do, he can give some of the work to subordinates. So here also the course of wisdom is for one to be willing to delegate responsibility to an assistant and so avoid the sickening effects of frustration.
On the other hand, there is the frustration that comes when more is expected of one than one can possibly do or be reasonably expected to do. Research indicates that this form of frustration is common in industry and business. Then what?
As the poet puts it, ‘Just do your best, then praise or blame that comes to you, counts just the same.’ So long as your conscience does not condemn you, try to live with the unreasonable demands of others, be they at work or within your family, by not taking the demands too seriously, or by sugarcoating them, so to speak, with a little humor. It may well be that you can make adjustments elsewhere in your life so as to accommodate the frustrating situation about which you can do little if anything. Remember the Bible principle that in the final analysis each one stands or falls before his Maker. Hence, “whatever you are doing, work at it whole-souled as to Jehovah.”—Rom. 14:4; Col. 3:23, 24.
Whatever you do, do not let yourself become frustrated to the point of exploding in a fit of violence. As one psychologist put it: “If expression can get you into trouble, the best method is to swallow your frustration.” Yes, “do not show yourself heated up only to do evil,” the Bible counsels.—Ps. 37:8.
And do not become a dropout, a quitter. The dropout wife mentioned in the foregoing admitted she has just as many “hassles” now as she had before, except that now they are her hassles. But what about the two little boys she deserted? What about when she gets older? Her husband may well remarry, but who would want to marry a woman with such a mental disposition? Will ‘her sons rise up and pronounce her happy’? Will her husband give her the praise that King Lemuel said would be given the capable wife? By running away from her family problems she may well have jumped from the proverbial frying pan into the fire!—Prov. 31:10, 28.
Yes, there are better ways of dealing with frustrations than resorting to violence or becoming a dropout!