The Number One Cause For All Of Your Frustration

I am convinced that the root of frustration we experience is directly due to unrealistic expectations. Our expectation level of something or someone should match that of their particular position at that moment. You are nodding your head in agreement right now. But think back for a moment to that last interaction you had with someone.
Think of that interaction you had that frustrated you. Was your frustration due to someone not fulfilling or meeting your expectations? What makes you then create unrealistic expectations which then ultimately cultivate perpetual frustration? Here is why I think this happens:
Paul writes to the Colossians and reminds them to not shift from the hope of the gospel (Col. 1:23). I believe that every single time we create unrealistic expectations, we are in turn shifting the balance point of our lives. We shift from the hope that is laid out for us in Christ and by Christ.
We fail to function from a distinctly gospel-centered perspective. This is the real cause of our frustration. Frustration then is a man-made defense mechanism that is activated when we ourselves creates undue duress for ourselves. 
Let me share a few stories from my life that illustrate this point: 

The unrealistic to-do list. As I have mentioned before, I love to do lists simply because they work for me and help me stay on track. I have one problem though. When I create the list, my mind dumps everything I want to get done onto one list. The issue then becomes that I do not complete every single thing on that list. While I am writing this post, my task application shows 14 items. I know that with the alloted three hours that I have, there is no way that I will finish all 14 items. This frustrates me. I start to say what I hear many people say “There are not enough hours in the day,” or something similar. This however is an issue that can be quickly resolved. What I need to do is cut down my list by about ten items. This will alleviate unnecessary frustration and will definitively boost my productivity. 

The unrealistic time-frame. When I worked a regular 9-6 job, I created for myself unrealistic expectations. I knew exactly the amount of time I needed to get to work. I knew that at least 15 minutes would be added to my commute if I needed to get gas for my car. I knew that my commute would be extended by another 15 minutes if I did not brew some coffee at home and wanted to stop at a Starbucks on my way to work. Often, I assumed there would be no traffic. A person who is wise will leave a comfortable buffer zone that can handle unforeseen obstacles. I liked to live life on the edge, providing myself a dose of frustration. This morning routine did not serve well to set off the rest of the day. The reason for my frustration was me. No one else. It was my fault for setting up unrealistic expectations. It is an easy change. If I changed my habit, there is most certainly hope for you. 

The unrealistic pace setter. We often want people to change instantly. When they do not show signs of significant change, we get frustrated. The funny part is that we tend to track the change needed in others much closer. We become unrealistic pace setters. I have grown to agree with reality. I know that some people will not change. At least not for a while. I believe that there is no use in getting frustrated over particular behavior. I know it will happen. I know how a person functions. I know their mindset. What would make me get frustrated? This is not the first time that they do that which irritates those around them. What makes some people frustrated and some who appear as though their feathers were not ruffled one bit? It is the same concept. Unrealistic expectations perpetuate unwanted frustration. 

We need to agree with reality and see things the way they are. When we filter every single frustration through a gospel lens, it becomes an opportunity for growth not a burden to carry. God looks at us not as we are but as Christ is. We should imitate the God who created us. We need not shift from the hope of the gospel. The gospel rescues and redeems us from the frustration that we may experience.  

Question: When have you experienced frustration because of an unrealistic expectation? Do you agree that unrealistic expectations fuel your frustration? Please share your opinion in the comments below! 



10 responses to “The Number One Cause For All Of Your Frustration”

  1. Love this post! Bogdan, I have long ago learned that my frustration is caused mostly by my dear self 🙂 Indeed, unrealistic expectations we (I) set for ourselves and others are the stumbling blocks that actually slow us down while we mistakenly think they should speed things up. I am guilty of falling into this trap quite often, and this post has reminded me of it and has given me hope for improvement 🙂

    1. Oksana — glad to hear that — there is absolutely hope for everyone — we just need to be intentional about the position from which we function. If our actions and attitudes are not filtered through the lens of Jesus’ gospel, then it is due time for reflection and maybe even repentance — I can certainly testify to that from my own life!

  2. hi Bogdan. I agree. Unrealistic expectations, thats it! And I really like when u include personal examples. I can def relate to #3 the most.
    But I felt that the post could have included more explanation in how to “filter those frustrations thru the gospel lens,” specifically in those three examples. I would love to hear how are ur solutions different than just “improving efficiency” tips? or “less stress” tips that I could find on yahoo articles? How are they distinctly gospel centered? I found myself trying to think of ways to complete ur thoughts, or take them one step further. But I would love to hear it from ur brain, rather than mine. I get bored of mine. haha.

    Also, I think unrealistic/different expectations between individuals are the #1 source of conflict and frustration within relationships. agree?

    1. Inga hi — thank you for stopping by and commenting! I totally agree with your last sentence — we need to approach people where they are — and then lead them to where God wants them to be — provided that we are spiritually mature and are able to do so by the power of the Holy Spirit.

      The way to look at these frustrations through a gospel lens goes back again to what I write a lot about here on the blog. It is all about perpetual worship. If your position is that of a perpetual worshiper, you will come at any life situation in the right way. This goes back again to what fills your heart.

      I always say that whatever fills your mind, fuels your life. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, and the actions demonstrate the position of the heart. Not shifting from this gospel-centered position is the way to handle each one of these issues.

      These are not self-help tips 🙂 Self help says: do more, try harder, try different methods — the gospel says: surrender to Christ — lean on Christ — rely on Christ — what does this look like practically? I am vigilantly aware of my current state every awake moment that I exist — I am constantly checking to see the pulse of my Christ-centered position. This also means that I am quick to repent and reconcile if I do wrong.

      I do not think your thoughts are boring 🙂 Please add to the conversation!

  3. Our mom often says – don’t expect anything from other people, so that when you receive something, that would be a pleasant surprise.

    1. Mariya — that is one way to avoid being frustrated with people 🙂

  4. Great point! I am going to make this a goal to work on. Thank you. I have realized this recently that I become irritated with people because they dont act or say what I would EXPECT them to say. Well, and you’ve definitely completed my discovery in a nice summary! [lol] God bless! 🙂

    1. Yuliya — wonderful! I am glad to hear this — if we just eliminate the unrealistic expectations — we can meet people where they are — not where we wish they were — and the goal for us is to view others as God views us — not as we are — but as Christ is — when we look at people through this lens, the approach we take and the attitude we have is radically altered!

  5. Thank you for this article! I’ve been so frustrated with my husband lately and all because he wasn’t behaving the ways I wanted him too (not being romantic, or anticipating my every need). My frustration has come from looking at other people and how their husbands act sometimes. But like you said we don’t get the whole picture so it’s setting us up for failure. Im working on esteeming my husband and giving him the respect he deserves.

    1. Hi Anna – glad you found it helpful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *