By Lena M. Fields-Arnold
- the feeling that accompanies an experience of being thwarted in attaining your goals
- an act of hindering someone’s plans or efforts
- a feeling of annoyance at being hindered or criticized
I used to hate frustration. Recently, I find myself embracing it. I am discovering that the more I am frustrated the better writer I become. I obtain more material that actually propels me forward into my next goal of being a Pulitzer Prize winning poet. Thus frustration, once an enemy designed to destroy me, has actually become my catalyst for effective performance.
The Greek philosopher Plato said that necessity is the mother of invention. Well I say that frustration is the mother of creativity; for it is during my greatest moments of aggravation that the wheels in my brain turn, as I work on new and more inventive ways to overcome the annoyance.
For example, in the past several years I have been frustrated by my relatives who only call when they need something, or who want money. They are never available for you when you need them, yet their wants consistently hindered my efforts to move forward in the direction God intended for my life.
It took a major life changing event to force me to personally embark upon a voyage of emancipation from them. That is when I entered into the SEASON of ME! From this moment forward, my life would be about me! What I want, where I am going, and what legacy I want to leave my children.
So I warned everyone that if they wanted something from me, they had better be willing to give something back of value in return. In the past I almost allowed the frustrations they brought to destroy me. I let their desires override mine, and became stagnant.
I did well for a while, but recently I saw these same users creeping back in, and I almost let them. It started with a seemingly simple request. A relative suggested that her daughter stay the summer to “help you with the kids.”
In reality, what she was looking for was free childcare under the guise of helping me. I know this because she previously had manipulated five free summers out of me!
Ask me how many times this child’s mother has watched my kids for free in those five years? You guessed it—NEVER! She is always TOO BUSY!
I have another relative who moved to town for more effective support. I say more effective because she was leaving a town where she had supporting relatives. She just didn’t have the all day sucker I can use you up type of support. Enter us here, all hovering around to hold her up. However before long we all started to notice that we were always supporting her, but she never supported us. The stronger among us cut her off immediately. The weaker, like me, just kept letting her use them.
Anytime I tried to say no to her babysitting requests, my family always had a way of making me feel guilty and I would cave. She got two summer’s free babysitting, and I got another headache.
Last year she doesn’t call me for a month. When she finally does, she states that both her daughter and another cousin’s were coming to my house for two weeks. It made sense right because as she put it, “you are at home all day, and they can play with your daughter.” Never mind the fact that I have other kids, a husband, and a stay-at-home job—these two decided for me how two weeks of my life would be!
But she didn’t know that the Season of Me is inclusive of the Season of the Perpetual Staycation. Technically a “Staycation” is a vacation, except that you find fun things to do within a few hours drive from the home. I have an additional definition.
- Staying away from people who are frustrating you, and not allowing their wants, needs, and desires to override your own.
“I will be on Staycation all summer.” I told her. “You guys are on your own!” So now, both the above mentioned women are frustrated by me. Both sarcastically remarking that they hope I enjoy my Staycation!
“I will,” I proudly proclaimed. Thinking to myself, “I’m staying away from your wants, your drama, and your constant woe is me whining about your self-imposed crap!”
I now encourage others to enter into their Season of Me and take a Perpetual Staycation. We all have ordained missions to accomplish and you cannot accomplish it by allowing frustrations to get the best of you. Turn the tables on the people frustrating you by cutting them off! Become unavailable. They may even have the nerve to ask you what you are doing that is so important (as one of mine did.) Guess what, you don’t have to answer them! You are not accountable to them for your time. You are only accountable to your mission.
So let me give you some concrete steps on how to do it.
- Decide-decide to do it.
- Make a list of the people in your life-put two columns by their name. In one column write the word assets, in the second write the word liabilities. In the asset column, write down all the ways they enhance your life and support you in the accomplishment of your goals. In the liabilities column write down all the ways they hinder you and keep you from your goals. If the liability side is greater-cut them off. Commit to never allowing their desires, wants, and needs to outweigh your own.
- Become unavailable-Stop answering the phone when they call. Ignore their voicemail messages. Only call them back when you are strong enough to resist their negative pull against you.
- Be okay with saying no!- Yes, they are going to get mad at you. But you have to decide that it’s okay if they do. Guess what, their anger only serves to prove your point.
- Move on to a new set of people!-Actively seek out friendships with people who are assets. People like you, who don’t mind giving to people who want to give something back.
I found my new set of people through a colleague who was forming a circle of women, who desired to love unconditionally, accept without the adversity, give with generosity, and provide care compassionately. We spent a year together attending monthly workshops, holding each other accountable for reaching personal goals, supporting each other through tough times, and hanging out together. When the year was over, we each had made a solid group of friends, whose only objective was to help one another achieve their personal and professional goals.
My fervent prayer is that you will accomplish every dream and desire that the Master has etched on your heart. Seek wisdom and journey towards your dream with positive people who will affirm you, support you, and lift you up. It all starts with two simple sentences—“This is the Season of Me.” And, “Sorry, I’m on Staycation.”