When you’re feeling frustrated with your life, it means you’re upset about where you are at this point, and you feel incapable to do something about it.
But before we examine the causes of feeling frustrated with life, what exactly is frustration? In Oxford Dictionaries, the term is defined as the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.
Some people are constantly worried and stressed out. Their jobs are too demanding and things start getting out of control. The stress and lack of progress are the causes of their discomfort.
Some are frustrated with other people. They feel like they cannot find compatible partners or friends. Others are frustrated with their own luck. They have the impression that the whole Universe is against them.
What’s with these frustrations? The more important question is: why do we all have them? There are several components to living our happiness depends on. When one of those components is compromised, it causes us to feel frustrated with our life.
Can we do something about it? Yes. Absolutely. We can deal with frustrations, but the starting point is understanding where they come from. When we discover the reason, we’ll be closer to the solution.
‘Why Am I Feeling Frustrated with My Life?’ Here Are the Most Common Reasons:
You worked really, really hard for something. When you didn’t achieve the results you wanted, the situation made you miserable.
We’ve all had our share of failure. Let’s take the most obvious example: a student. Imagine this student who is doing everything in his power to learn as much as possible. He attends all classes. He completes all papers on time. Still, it’s too much. He decides to skip one chapter because he doesn’t have time to go through the entire material for the exam.
That’s the exact chapter his professor is most interested in, so the student gets tons of questions from it. This makes him feel frustrated. The grade won’t be a valid representation of what he knows. The student will fail the exam although he knows a lot. That’s a valid reason for frustration, isn’t it?
Life continuously puts us in challenging situations. We cannot win the battle every single time. The solution is in acceptance. When there’s nothing we can do about this thing we failed in, we have no other choice but to pick ourselves up and keep growing. We’ll do better. We have to keep evolving.
2. Money… or the Lack of It
According to the World Happiness Report 2017, there are six social factors that determine people’s happiness levels: GDP per capita, social support, healthy years of life expectancy, perceived freedom for making life decisions, trust, and generosity.
The countries that rank highly in these factors have the happiest citizens. Africa has lower levels of happiness when compared to the rest of the world.
You get the picture: the financial and social element is crucially important for our happiness. When you don’t have enough money, you don’t have security. You feel like you’re trying too hard and not getting enough in return for your efforts. As a result, you are feeling frustrated with your life.
The way out of this frustration? Just remind yourself that the financial struggles are a temporary thing. If you keep growing and learning, you’ll start doing better. Do not remain in the same place that doesn’t make you happy. Try harder.
Make a plan. Keep gaining new skills and knowledge. Take a risk and quit that job, so you’ll find a better one. Every frustration calls you to action. What will you do about it?
3. Comparing Yourself to Others
We live in a competitive world. We do everything with the thought of being better than others. That’s why we depict the perfect life on social media, showcasing only our finest moments and best-looking pictures.
This leads to an unhealthy attitude – we constantly check where other people are, so we’ll prove we’re better. Comparisons are sucking the joy out of our lives.
Maybe you’re not trying to showcase a perfect life via social media. Maybe you’re just a humble person, living your own life. Are you free of the comparison trap, though? Can you catch yourself thinking you deserve more than what other people are easily getting?
Do you feel frustrated with your life because others have better grades, jobs, cars, homes, and partners than you? You shouldn’t be.
You have to understand your true values. Is it progress, family, creativity, freedom, traveling, serving humanity, or any other goal? When you discover what really matters to you, you’ll start doing it not because you want to be better than others, but because you’ve found your calling.
4. The Feeling of Being Powerless
The world is an ugly place, isn’t it? Wars. Murders. Hunger. Discrimination. When you realize that you don’t have much power to change things as an individual, you feel useless. That makes you angry and leaves you feeling frustrated with life and the world.
You can solve the root of this problem by finding your source of power. Remember that you matter. You can change things. Even if you feed one stray cat today, you’ll make the world just a bit better. If you help people, you’ll be making a huge difference.
Do everything in your power to be useful to society. Useful to the world. You won’t make drastic changes, but you’ll be doing your share.
5. Not Appreciating the Things You Have
Dissatisfaction is at the root of every frustration. When you don’t have the things you want, you’re not at peace. You think that having a new iPhone will make you happier. When you get that phone, you’ll start desiring the new tablet and laptop, too.
When you get them, you’ll think of other things you don’t have and you really want. This is a bad thinking pattern. You’re constantly thinking about the things you don’t have, and the frustration never ends. The only solution is to replace this behavior with gratitude.
Researchers from the University of California and the University of Miami linked gratitude to greater happiness. They found that people who practiced gratitude felt better about their lives. They were more optimistic, too.
6. Having Too High Expectations in Life
Sometimes frustration stems from having too high expectations. Yes, we all expect things to go our way in our careers or personal life. We set goals and strive to achieve them. We want other people to understand us and act the way we like. When it doesn’t happen, the only result is feeling frustrated and dissatisfied.
The problem with expectations is that we can’t make other people behave the way we want them to. Similarly, things can’t always go just as we planned, and obstacles are a part of life.
But you set yourself for even more frustrating when your expectations are too high and unrealistic. While it’s good to dream big, setting the bar way too high means that it’s getting more difficult to achieve what you want.
It can be particularly challenging when you have unrealistic expectations about relationships and marriage. Some people seem to be looking for dream-like love that exists only on the pages of romance novels. But the truth is that every relationship has its ups and downs just like every person has good and bad qualities. Looking for the perfect partner or relationship can only bring frustration.
So a good way to stop feeling frustrated with life would be to re-evaluate your expectations. It may be that lowering them will make you happier than you are now.
7. Being Too Hard on Yourself
Similarly, you may have too high expectations about yourself and your work. When you face failure in life or just make a mistake, you spend hours or even days beating yourself for it. If you constantly doubt and criticize your decisions and actions, you might have become a victim of your own inner critic.
Take a moment to think about the way you talk to yourself. Is your inner voice encouraging and motivating or is it critical and negative? Do you tend to focus on the negative aspects of yourself? Do you diminish your accomplishments and overlook your talents?
If you do these things, you are being too self-critical and may even have self-esteem issues. With this kind of attitude, you can’t be happy whatever you accomplish. Anything you do will only bring you more reasons for self-criticism and frustration.
A good start to stop being overly self-critical would be to have better control over your inner voice. Watch how you talk to yourself and silence your inner critic whenever it throws negative remarks your way. Instead, encourage and praise yourself for every achievement, no matter how small it is.
For example, if you had a bad day and are feeling like a failure, find something to be grateful for and praise yourself for. It could be something as tiny as cooking a meal or helping your child with homework. When you stop seeing everything you do in a negative light, you will stop feeling frustrated with life.
8. Feeling Unhappy or Unfulfilled in a Relationship
It is perfectly understandable to feel frustrated with your life when your marriage or relationship has failed. Or maybe you thought you would have started a family by now but are still single. Or it could be that you have had a few toxic relationships and are tired of looking for the right person. You start to think that such a person doesn’t exist.
But being in a relationship doesn’t necessarily mean you are happy either. In fact, unhappy relationships are one of the most common causes of frustration. Being loved and understood is one of the most fulfilling things in life. Thus, when there is a lack of understanding and communication between you and your partner, you are feeling frustrated.
To end the frustration, think about what is missing from the relationship that is making you unhappy. Are you bored or feeling trapped? Is your partner abusive or controlling? Is he or she emotionally distant and does your relationship lacks affection?
The list of relationship problems can be endless. The real question is: Do I love the wrong person or can we work out our problems and have a happy marriage?
9. Living Someone Else’s Life
Do you ever have the feeling that you are living your life for someone else? Like you are living a fake life that has nothing to do with the things you always wanted? If this is about you, it could be that you are acting according to someone else’s expectations.
For example, you could have controlling parents who always knew what was better for you. Thus, they decided what path you needed to follow in life. Did you choose your job according to your own ambitions or did you follow your parents’ advice or example? Have you neglected your dreams in an endless pursuit of money and success? Did you marry the person you wanted to spend your life with or were you directed to this choice?
These are just a couple of examples, but you get the point. When you neglect your own aspirations and follow someone else’s, you are wasting your life. This will only lead you to resentment, bottled up emotions, and feeling frustrated with life.
Take a moment to recall what you dreamed about as a child, a teenager, and a young adult. Did you accomplish any of these things or did you choose a completely different path? If you could meet your younger self, what would he or she say about the person you have become? Would he/she be excited or frustrated with your life?
So the main question here is: have you betrayed your ideas and dreams to become the person you never wanted to be? If this is the case, then the only reasonable consequence is feeling frustrated with the life you never wanted to live.
When You Eliminate Frustration, You Find Happiness
Frustration is the opposite of happiness. When you recognize the things responsible for you feeling frustrated with life and find the ways to deal with them, you are slowly pushing yourself towards a happier life. That seems like a goal that’s worth the effort, doesn’t it?
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