Modern life can be frustrating. Delayed trains, traffic, family friction and the demands of other people can all conspire to prevent life from running as smoothly as we would like. Learning that we are unable to satisfy our desires leads us to look for reasons why, someone or something to blame. It raises anxiety and anger; we can feel that we are being thwarted in some way. Sometimes it’s only after a holiday, that we become aware of the frustration we are faced with in every day life.

We try to fight frustration in many ways. The ways that destroy and corrupt the core of our being often involve numbing the feeling. Our favoured ways are myriad but often involve food, sex, alcohol or drugs. Some ways of numbing the feeling such as overwork and exercise can have more beneficial side effects. This can make it harder to stop despite the fact that when we do, perhaps on holiday, an emptiness creeps in.

Paradoxically, however, we can learn to develop a stronger inner core that will withstand stress by learning to bear frustration. It can feel better just to be heard and have our stress acknowledged rather than have lots of solutions or advice thrust upon us. Being able to share such feelings with a trusted other can make tolerating the inevitable frustrations of life when it is truly lived, feel more possible.