I have been off lately – not as calm as I want to be, not as present, not as with it…and the thing is I usually am those things. Sure I have moments where the world is right-side-up and I’m wrong-side-out. But really these don’t happen much (anymore)…except lately they are. Now it’s the moments of calm, peace, centered, etc that are fleeting and lacking. 

Now this could be a top ten list of things that frustrate me or annoy me or just piss me off, but that doesn’t really make anything better. Sure I’d get to spout off about pet peeves and I’m sure some of you would share them and commiserate with me and we’d get to fantasize a bit about a perfect world where “x” didn’t happen or “y” didn’t say the thing. 

And while all that seems very validating and helpful, it isn’t. It just plain and simple isn’t. Because ultimately that top ten (let’s be serious ~ top hundred +) would be gripes and complaints about other things or people or situations. And there really is no power in complaining. It drains energy and is in reality just busy work that accomplishes no lasting change. 

So what am I to do with all these bits of frustration. Send them out as seeds of discontent, infecting those around me and leaving me more alone? Well, I’ve been doing that for the past…it’s been so long now I’ve lost track. And sure it doesn’t happen all the time and sometimes I put on a good front, but those who know me best certainly take the brunt of it all. 

Clearly I can’t keep this up or I’ll be bitterly alone. 

 What has worked in the past for me is to take ownership of all the frustration. Not necessarily of the events that spark it, but of the emotion itself. And this goes beyond just admitting and moving on. That doesn’t work for me. I have to take it into my possession and be with it. Recognize it as coming from me and needing to return to me. It is the avoidance, the sewing of these twisted little spores, that keeps it going. Complaint breeds complaint.

It also isn’t about putting on the front of being nice or optimistic or happy. That also fails. 

So this is my frustration. I take events and the things people say and it fuels this critic in my head. This little gremlin that says horrid things that when in these sort of funks I believe wholly and without doubt. And while I would like to get rid of him, he’s a part of me. And man can he remember everything that has ever gone wrong or had the potential to go wrong. 

When at his best he insults me deep to the core. He points out how I do a poor job of living out my values. He shines a light on all my short comings. He even is so masterful to beat me up over letting him beat me up. Yeah, out for the count before I can really put up defenses. 

But he is also the one that encourages the complaining. To pass the buck to others or the situation. See it’s part of the game. It blurs the line between what is in my influence and what is not. It clouds the vision of what really is there. Fault finding is the invisible clothing of this nefarious king in my head ~ my mind. 

By taking ownership of my frustration (or any other emotion) I can make a counter move. There are further steps to limit the gremlin’s power, but it starts here. Acceptance of what is my creation. Acceptance of my becoming frustrated. Acceptance that the process, in the end, is initiated by me, sustained by me, and will ultimately be changed by me. 

So what are you paying rent on and not taking ownership of when it comes to your emotional life? How do you get the critic in your head to back off, take a seat, and be quiet for a while? Just some questions this week. No challenge other than to consider if your top ten frustrations could be summed up like mine ~ 

1 – me (and my perspective). 

2-10 – refer to 1. 
Thanks as always,

with civility ~ Brian

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