Welcome to part five of my six part series where each week we will talk about the upside of what are generally referred to as negative emotions. These are emotions that are uncomfortable, that we attempt to deny and avoid at all costs. Yet as humans we cannot live in a state of constant bliss. And believe it or not, these negative emotions, in moderation, can actually be positive, they serve a purpose and have a function. So we are going to explore these various emotions rather than run and hide under the covers.

We have already talked about sadness, anger, jealousy, and fear, now we are going to talk about frustration and disappointment. Frustration is an emotion in response to not being able to achieve or to do something.

Frustration drives problem solving. As a child, how many hours did you spend trying to solve that Rubix Cube? When we cannot figure out a puzzle, problem, or resolution, that frustration can serve as motivation to practice, to set forth greater effort, or to try something different.

Frustration builds self-confidence. How great did you feel when you finally solved that Rubix Cube? When we finally overcome an obstacle, achieve a goal, or solve a problem, we feel a sense of accomplishment and pride. And in the future when we experience a frustration, this self-confidence leads to a decreased likelihood that we will just give up.

Frustration attracts support and teaches us to ask for help. We cannot do it all alone. When we experience a disappointment, others reach out to provide support and assistance. When we just cannot figure something out, whether how to solve a math problem or how to not burn cookies, we ask others. This fosters empathy and human connections.

Frustration helps us value what we do achieve. Although we might like to be happy all the time and to achieve everything we desire, that would make life pretty boring. Without frustration and disappointment, we would most likely take things for granted and not recognize the positives that we do have in our lives.

“I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understanding that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.” Tony Robbins