It is impossible to have our lives without occasionally having those down moments that creates anomalies in our routine and emotional pressure in our decisions.

Vila do Conde beach.
Vila do Conde beach. Taken on Vila do conde by me.

Frustration appears specially when we reach our emotional limit. It influences on our decisions by not allowing us to have a clear perception of all the points when we need to make a decision. Becoming attached to our emotions without looking the existing facts is half the way into releasing thoughts that will created more damage than good.

One thing is for certain, frustration may or not appear in every situation depending on factors past or present, expectations and individuals.

On the next section I will present a situation which on the last couple of weeks forced me to deal with the personal frustration.

The Situation

Recently I’ve changed my dance teacher to have with my girlfriend (solo classes with her) a moment of connection and learn more about Kizomba. After a year of learning different types of dances which included Kizomba I had the confidence to try and show him what I have learned so far.

My girlfriend never had a class until that day so it was a challenge to have specially because I tried multiple times to teach her a few steps unsuccessfully.

Needless to say it didn’t go very well. It was so bad that it felt I had learned nothing at all from its past year. The teacher said calmly that there was a lot of room to improve by saying:

Forget everything you learned on Kizomba until today.

Well, that sentence could have broken my spirit making me not wanting to go on more classes but knowing that the person teaching us was known I took his words for granted and took that as a challenge.

Before I continue forward on this matter it is important to reveal that from all of those dances I knew some were better taught than others. It didn’t also help the fact that I was learning to many of them but it was school rules and I had a lot of fun until then.

A new retry.

Over the next weeks, my girlfriend would learn on an incredible pace while I was struggling to make sure she understood every move I wanted to practice.

With each lesson I would get more and more disappointed with myself for not being able to achieve her level of progress. She would get praise for learning faster while sometimes in some classes I was failing hard no matter what I tried. Not being able to keep up caused me to:

leave the lessons without talking a word with nobody for minutes.

No matter what I tried there were always something failing when practicing with her. Sometimes I would not pass the message correctly, sometimes I would fail completely on during my steps. All of that were making me more frustrated and inutile. Until one day my girlfriend told me:

Hey. What is going on? This is supposed to be a good moment for us to have a learn and increase our connection.

Which I responded:

How would you feel if in the hobbies you loved the most, I in a short time would be better than you? Would learn faster than you? Every time I enter the room to learn it feels I know less and less.

Silence started. My girlfriend thought that I was competing with her. She didn’t even liked that much on the initial classes to go.

In other hand I felt like crap because I couldn’t evolve and I thought with time she would stop evolving at the same pace she was learning because of me.

A moment of an emotion explanation without any thought put onto it just frustration on her and embarrassment on me. On the next day we talked, I explained better what I really meant.

Now the worse part on all of this was the fact that this was just a hobby. The mindset was to learn as fast as I could without enjoying the moment with her. During that week the majority of the time was put to think and make decisions. A few things I did to overcome frustration.

  1. You are frustrated, speak up.

On the next week our teacher asked us how it was the week. From me there was lots of questions and doubts on the dancing and that I felt frustrated for a long time. After he told me I was no amateur for a long time. That the details were setting me off emotionally and that the focus should be canalize on making the connection with her while enjoying the songs.

Those words cheered a bit and I was ready for another. Should have talked sooner to him and to my girlfriend but I was afraid of the reaction most of all.

2. Mentality.

There were moments where I would get cheered up before the situation happened and I would feel good and I always wanted more and more.

It was a hobby that I love to do. It should have never been some a big deal in the first place. I forgot about what was really important over the weeks and it was becoming more of a painful hour to have instead of a relaxing moment. When the mentality changed I managed to get back to a good pace on the learning process.

Of course not all the things we do are optional such as a job and have to exist in our workflow. My advice in here is to analyze the source of the problem, add all the variables into a paper and go with a strategy to face the issue. Taking a step back in most of the times a good idea to do since it lets us have a different perspective.

3. We have bad days.

When I was doing my thesis a good friend told me this.

There are days when all the tasks you perform will not work or will be useless and you will feel like crap. It happens. But the day after, you don’t know what will appear and maybe an important task will appear and you might make it happen in five minutes.

The context was related with software engineering on a problem we had and no matter what we did it was never gonna work.

4. Feedback

Our feedback is as important to give as to receive. In giving opinion it should be taken with consideration on where we think there is room to growth as a person.

We like to receive favorable feedback. That will not happen all the time and some times it will not be to our liking. Nobody is perfect and there is always room for improvement. Listening in an equal balance to good and bad. If there is only good or just bad feedback something doesn’t feel right.

5. Learn to core well, details after.

On this fast world we are always wanting to learning something new. We move from learning idea into another in a snap of fingers. The core idea gets forgotten which most of the times is enough to solve a problem or to make something happen. The details come with time and when we are more comfortable into trying something new.

Have a nice week,

Paulo

Software Programmer, Youth Facilitator, Idea Maker

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