In Linda Galindo's book, "The 85% Solution", there is a paragraph that talks about frustration. In it's simplest form, it is the emotional response to unmet expectations. An excellent Buddhist lesson is embedded in that statement.
The Buddhist lesson about attachment has everything to do with frustration. The Buddhist view is that wanting is the source of suffering. This is because wanting is the result of being attached to an outcome. If we are not attached to the outcome actually occurring, then there is no suffering. The desired outcome might happen, or it might not. If we are attached to one or the other, then our suffering will be the result of how much we are attached to what did not happen.
Can you look at all of your disappointments and see that this is true?
You might be thinking that some of these expectations are perfectly normal and everyone is entitled to them. Is that true? Who has decided? Where did you learn that?
These expectations are the source of our frustration. If you enter into a situation without any expectations, then frustration is not a possibility.
Is this practical?
Aren't there some things that we should expect? If someone Says they are going to do something, shouldn't we expect them to follow through and deliver? Yes and no.
You can expect them to do it, but if you are attached to that expectation, then your frustration is proportional to your attachment to that expectation. On the other hand, if I expect that to occur, but I am not attached to it, then my frustration is negligible. I am prepared for all contingencies, knowing that I am responsible for myself and for the work that I entrust to others.
Wait a minute; I am responsible for what I entrust to others? Ultimately, yes. You might be feeling resistant to this idea, so hear me out.
If I take responsibility for all aspects, then I can let go of the unmet expectations. Responsibility does not mean automatic recriminations. I just accept that this was my responsibility, that I delegated this activity, and I accept if it doesn't work out the way I wanted it to, and I learn. My options for future activities at this point are wide and varied.
Frustration = unmet expectations. All of which are directly proportional to the attachment we have to those expectations.
Set expectations. Set them high. And accept the responsibility without judgment of good or bad. Decide if it was skillful or unskillful, and what you can do to support better results.
If you want to learn more about this, read Linda's book. An eDrivenBookClub for this book will be starting in about 4 weeks.
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