Co-written by Drs. Yvonne & Scott Rheinschmidt Ph D LPC
“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt 28:20)
I AM FRUSTRATED! When will things go back to normal? Can we handle another change? These are not uncommon feelings and statements we can be telling and asking ourselves. Let’s face it, we have been going through a lot of changes. It’s normal to feel frustrated. It’s normal to question what’s happening and to worry a little bit. It’s ok to wonder and to question what we are going to do or how are we going to handle all the changes within our community. It’s ok to ask these questions and seek some guidance. So, the question now is what do we do?
Often, when we are frustrated, upset, and angry, we tend to avoid and not deal with situations, problems, difficulties, etc. Sometimes we try to cope in unhealthy ways as part of the avoidance by ignoring problems, like an ostrich burying it’s head in the sand, by using substances (alcohol) to drown our sorrows or by enlisting others into our pity-party where the karaoke song is “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen”. It goes without saying that these methods feel good in the moment but are not really going to reduce the stress we’re feeling. So, what can we do to reduce the frustration especially from all the changes we’ve been experiencing?
Glad you asked! Mindfulness practice helps us to ‘face’ our difficulties versus avoiding them. A key concept in mindfulness is to reduce judging situations as good or bad, right or wrong. When we immediately judge a situation as bad or wrong, we start feeling stressed.
There’s an ancient parable about a farmer who lost his horse. And neighbors came over to say, “Oh, that’s too bad.” And the farmer said, “Good or bad, hard to say.” Days later, the horse returns and brings with it seven wild horses. And neighbors come over to say, “Oh, that’s so good!” And the farmer just shrugs and says, “Good or bad, hard to say.” The next day, the farmer’s son rides one of the wild horses, is thrown off and breaks his leg. And the neighbors say, “Oh, that’s terrible luck.” And the farmer says, “Good or bad, hard to say.” Eventually, officers come knocking on people’s doors, looking for men to draft for an army, and they see the farmer’s son and his leg and they pass him by. And neighbors say, “Ooh, that’s great luck!” And the farmer says, “Good or bad, hard to say.” This parable helps us to understand that we are often shortsighted and just see a situation with minimal knowledge. I think we can agree that in many situations and changes, we don’t know God’s plan. It helps us to understand that it is better to look at our situations with curiosity and with openness, seeking understanding instead of judging right or wrong, good or bad. By seeking a greater understanding of problems or situations and by trusting God, we can begin to feel less frustrated, thereby reducing our stress.
With faith, we can “face it”. We can face whatever challenges, changes, difficulties, and uncertainties show up in our lives. By using mindfulness, we will know what to do: we can stay in the moment, be curious, seek understanding and grow in wisdom. Let’s face it without frustrations.
According to the Vatican News, Pope Francis stated that “at some time in our lives we are all faced with the experience of error and sin, and it is the Holy Spirit who helps us not to succumb, and enables us to grasp and live fully the meaning of Jesus’s words: ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments.’ The commandments are not given to us as a kind of mirror in which to see the reflection of our miseries and inconsistencies: No, the Word of God is given to us as the Word of life, which transforms, which renews, which does not judge to condemn, but heals and has forgiveness as its end. A Word that is light for our steps.” (Regina Caeli, 5/17/20)