Ever had circumstances that made you feel frustrated? Like, maybe the number on the scale went up? You got cut off in traffic? Or maybe the fact that the dishwasher wasn’t emptied when it was supposed to be? Yes, yes and yes! 🙋♀️
My friends, today’s episode of the Fitness Matters podcast is a revealing🔎 look at all things “frustration.” We’re chatting about:
👉 The blame game
👉 “Butt” feelings
👉 Arguing with reality
👉 Toddlers throwing tantrums
And much more!
Plus I’m sharing practical tools you can use to manage frustration in your own life. Ready to dive🤿 in? Let’s GO!
Have friends who deal with frustration? SHARE this video! 💛
Dealing with FRUSTRATION (FULL TRANSCRIPT)
You’re listening to the Fitness Matters Podcast with Pahla B, and this is episode number 226, Dealing with Frustration. Welcome to the Fitness Matters Podcast, where every week we talk about the fitness matters that matter to you. I’m Pahla B, YouTuber, certified life and weight loss coach, soon to be author, and your best middle aged fitness friend. Are you ready to talk about the fitness and mindset that matters to you? Me too. Let’s go.
Well, hello, hello, my friends. Welcome to the podcast. I was going to say it’s good to see you because that’s usually what I say, and I don’t ever see you on the podcast. So I’m really trying to think of something else to say. And that’s why that came out a little bit awkwardly. Hey, let’s just pretend like that didn’t happen and move right into today, because actually before we even get started today, more awkwardness.
Yay. Here we go. Let’s talk about the March book club. So excited this month. We’re going to be reading “Hormonal” by Eleanor Morgan. I know virtually nothing about this book. I listened to the quick, little – what is it, like – three minutes on Amazon that you can listen to. So I listened to it really quickly, and then I downloaded it from Chirp Audio Books because our book club, of course, is in partnership with Chirp Books. And so far the little bit that I’ve heard, it sounds absolutely fascinating, and I can’t wait to dive in for more. Check the show notes or the description box below with all the information, including the code that gets you $5 off your first purchase from Chirp Audio Books. It’s Pahla5, P-A-H-L-A and the number 5, with no spaces. And there’ll be information there about when we are having our live book club.
So, so excited, because then I will actually legitimately see you, which is super cool. Hey, let’s talk about dealing with frustration and there’s a reason why I’m talking about this today. I have been learning to manage my mind around lots and lots of things in my life. I feel like at this point I’m several years into the mind management journey and there have absolutely been bumps along the road, but in general, I feel like on the daily that I know for sure that I have the tools. That is the number one thing for me. I feel very, very confident that the tools work in every single situation, because I haven’t found one yet in which the tools don’t work, which is to say the tool of finding your thoughts, deciding if they’re helpful, and using the model from Brooke Castillo from the Life Coach School. It’s a little bit more in-depth, where you look at the circumstance being neutral and how you have a thought about a circumstance. And then that thought creates a feeling. Your feelings drive your actions, and your actions create your results.
In some situations, I don’t necessarily need to know exactly what my result is to understand that the thought that I’m thinking is not helpful. We’re going to do a little combination of both. Actually, this is the point in the podcast where I’m going to point you to Episode 32, How to Change [https://getyourgoal.com/podcasts/32-how-to-change/]. You know what? I need to go listen to it again because I don’t know for sure if I talked a lot about how a circumstance is neutral. In fact, I’m not sure if I’ve ever done an entire podcast about the neutrality of circumstances. And that will be something that we do dive into a little bit today.
Hopefully, because I don’t remember, hopefully there’s a little bit more about that in the episode How to Change. If not, I know for sure that it goes through the “thought, feeling, actions, and results.” And I will also point you to Episode 089, Mind Management [https://getyourgoal.com/podcasts/89-mind-management/] where we talk a lot about the two step tool, so that you have a little bit of a background. If these are both unfamiliar tools to you, I strongly suggest that you listen to those podcasts because I’m going to talk about them a little bit. Not like you know what I’m talking about, but kind of like you already know what I’m talking about when we deal with frustration. So it might be really good background information for you if you’re not familiar with that. But anyway, I feel like the tools that I have – both the model and my own two-step tool – I honestly feel like they can handle anything.
I have not found a situation yet in which those two tools don’t work. I feel like I am personally capable of using the tools. So yes I have the tools, yes the tools work, and yes I know how to work them. Additionally, I feel like I use the tools and I use them appropriately most of the time. I’m going to tell you that even after years of managing my mindset, even after years of really, really seeing the results of managing my mind, sometimes I still don’t. And I hope that that sounds to you like an olive branch, like you know what? You never have to be perfect at this. You can really change your life and see magnificent results in your life without being 100% with this.
Simply, I personally believe that like so many things, it’s what you believe will work, works. And if you believe that what you are doing is working, it is working. I truly believe that my having the tools and knowing how to use the tools and using the tools even sometimes, gives me the confidence that I am capable of making any change that I want to make. Therefore, I AM capable of making any change that I want to make. And I realize that I don’t have to make changes that maybe I’m just not ready for yet. The thing about both the model and the two step tool is that you have to step into a certain amount of compassion for yourself in order to use those tools. That’s part of the tools themselves – that self-compassion, that compassionate observer. And I feel like that compassion that I offer myself while I am managing my mind, I’m also capable of offering myself when I’m not managing my mind.
I’m capable of even seeing on the very, very surface level when I am not managing my mind. I can see, “Oh hey, I’m not managing my mind right now, but that’s okay. This is all going to work out. And later I’ll figure this out. Later, if I feel like looking at this, I will. And if not, then I’ll get to it when I get to it.” So even when I’m not managing my mind, I’m still managing my mind. And that is something that I will offer you, that while you are using the tools, be sure that you are the compassionate observer of your mind. In fact, I have a podcast called The Compassionate Observer [Episode 211: [https://getyourgoal.com/podcasts/211-compassionate-observer/] that can help you figure out how to get into that compassionate observer mode.
And I will tell you that this particular topic that we’re talking about today is going to test your compassionate observer. There’s just something about frustration. Am I right? The reason that I noticed or wanted to even talk about frustration today is because I had something frustrating happen. And I will tell you that even that sentence right there, it’s wildly incorrect. And I’m going to manage my mind about it, because the thing that happens in the world is not frustrating. I know that it feels like it is. I know that this is actually the bad news part of our brains being the way they are. Our brains are so amazing, so amazing. The teeny tiny bit that I understand about how our brains work, it’s just utterly fascinating to me. They are smarter than any supercomputer on the planet.
And also they’re a little bit dumb. But the smartness part, they work so fast. Your brain is working so fast. It’s like a lightning bolt. It really does seem like the thing that has happened is the thing that is frustrating as though the frustration comes from the thing outside of you. And I will tell you that it just doesn’t. And the way that we know this is because somebody else in your exact same situation might feel differently, might not feel the frustration that you feel. Really specifically this morning, I got up. I had run the dishwasher last night, as I often do. That’s one of the things I normally do, finish doing dishes at night and run the dishwasher. I, generally speaking, leave it to run overnight. I do the dishes earlier in the day, for me it’s the afternoon because my day is so skewed.
I get up at 3:00 in the morning. We eat dinner at like 3:00 in the afternoon. So I’m usually doing dishes by like 4:00 or 4:30. I don’t go to bed until 7:00. So technically speaking, the dishwasher was completely done running before I went to bed. But generally speaking, I don’t empty it before I go to bed. I just wait until the morning. One of the reasons I wait until the morning is because allegedly it’s my husband’s job to empty the dishwasher. He randomly came up with this. It used to be my son’s job. My son moved out about a year ago. My oldest moved into his own apartment about a year ago. And so that was one of the things that he would do around the house was he would empty the dishwasher. He would also take out the garbage and a couple of other little things too.
But that was his main job. Because especially when there were three and even four of us, I would run the dishwasher almost every single day. Now that it’s just the two of us, I run the dishwasher like twice a week. I mean, it’s really nice. I rarely run it. So when my oldest son moved out, my husband randomly was like, “Well, I’ll take that on. I’ll go ahead and empty the dishwasher.” And he empties it once in a blue moon. I mean, yeah, I only run the dishwasher twice, maybe three times a week now, but he empties it maybe once a month, maybe. So there are times when I think to myself, “Huh, sure, thought this was your job,” when I’m emptying the dishwasher, because it’s almost inevitable that I’m going to empty the dishwasher.
And I frequently find myself feeling frustration from my thought, not because the dishwasher didn’t get emptied. Not because my husband didn’t empty the dishwasher, but because I have a thought about it. And so here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to tell you, first of all, really clearly, frustration is a feeling which means that it always, always, always comes from a thought. And again, here’s how you know this. This is what I was telling you about how somebody else could feel differently in that same situation. Somebody who doesn’t expect their husband to empty the dishwasher wouldn’t think anything about it, would just walk on out in the morning, empty the dishwasher. Wouldn’t have a thought about it in their head. Would probably be thinking about what else they’re going to do, what the day holds. Can’t wait for coffee. Whatever they’re thinking. That’s what they’d be thinking.
For somebody else, a clean dishwasher would not create the feeling of frustration. That’s how you know that frustration doesn’t come from the scale. The frustration doesn’t come from the dishwasher. The frustration doesn’t come from the guy who cut you off in traffic. The frustration doesn’t come from spilling your coffee. Frustration is a feeling. So it is always created by a thought that you have in your brain. So the thing that you’re going to do here is you’re going to take responsibility for creating that feeling for yourself. This is hard. This is really hard, especially with frustration. There are other feelings. And we have talked about this before about taking responsibility for the fact that you are creating your own feelings when you recognize and truly know that your thoughts always are the only creators of your feelings. For some feelings, it’s really easy and really obvious. For frustration, I tend to think that this one is a little bit harder to take responsibility for.
And the thing that I want you to know about this – about taking responsibility – is that what you are taking responsibility for is the feeling, not the circumstance. The circumstance is that there was a number on the scale. The circumstance is that you got cut off in traffic. The circumstance is that coffee spilled. The circumstance is that the dishwasher isn’t emptied. You do not need to take responsibility for a circumstance. Really specifically, if the circumstance involves another person, you’re not taking responsibility for what they did or didn’t do; you’re not taking responsibility for any of that. No way. Not even for the “other person involved” – heavy air quotes here. I’m literally doing air quotes with my fingers, even though you can’t see me doing it, because I feel like it’s really important that you know that I am air quoting the “other person involved.”
If the other thing involved in your frustration is the scale, you do not need to take responsibility for the number on the scale, in the sense of being frustrated by it. You need to take responsibility for your thought. Recognizing that the number on the scale is a number. It is data, and it is data that is generated by your body that is going through billions of processes every minute of every day. And that even while you are losing weight, sometimes you will gain weight because your body fluctuates. It is a biological specimen. I could go on about this for a while. I feel like I’ve talked about it in lots of different places. Really specifically, I feel like I talk about this a lot at Q+A Friday. I don’t know if you listen to that podcast. If you don’t, please do come find it.
I don’t have it on my website, but it is everywhere that you listen to podcasts. These are live events that I hold almost every Friday on YouTube. However, I don’t keep the replays on YouTube for very long. They’re only on there for like a week or two. So if you’d like to listen to me answering questions for an hour, go find Q+A Friday. You can search for it anywhere you listen to podcasts. It’s Q+A and then a space. And then the word Friday. And I actually talk about body fluctuations a lot. We talk about mindset a lot on that podcast, but I also talk a lot about really practical things like this muscle is doing this thing, and this is how your body works while it’s losing weight. And this is how your body does this or that.
So there’s a fun mix. The questions are always interesting, but the answers are usually interesting too. Because that’s the part I’m responsible for: the answers. But here’s the thing. You don’t need to take responsibility for the number on the scale, I mean, unless you can look at it with the compassionate observer and be like, “Hey, you know what? I’m really not meeting my calorie target. I’m really not actually meeting my water target. I’m really not sleeping the way I intend to. I’m really not exercising moderately, like I intend to, I’m really not managing my mind.” There are ways to take responsibility for the results that you are getting, but you don’t need to take responsibility for the number, being what it is, because that is your body’s responsibility.
When coffee spills, that is gravity’s responsibility. When somebody drives in front of you in traffic, that is their responsibility. The thing that you are taking responsibility for is your feeling and therefore your thought. I mean, you have thought about the thing that happened and then that creates your feeling. But in this case, because we’re really in the feeling of frustration, I just want you to take responsibility for that feeling and recognize that you have options. Does that mean that you have to take the option and not feel frustration? Absolutely not. Oh my gosh, you can totally feel frustration. This is where we started this conversation. You don’t have to manage your mind. You can feel anything that you feel from your automatic thoughts, any old time. What I’m offering you here are the tools to understand that you have the ability if you choose to feel different.
And I’m not even necessarily going to say better, because maybe you feel better, maybe you don’t, maybe you still feel the frustration. None of this is like, “Oh, your life is going to be so happy and you’re going to feel positive all the time.” No, what you’ll feel is a sense of control, which is one of my favorite feelings in the world. And just a sense of, “I’m responsible for this. I can handle this.” That feeling to me of “I can handle this” is the gift that I’m offering you. It’s not that you won’t feel frustrated. You probably still will. I still do. Even when I’m managing my mind, I still feel the frustration first and then manage it and then recognize, “Oh, okay. Here’s what’s going on. This is all good. This is my brain.” Be in my brain.
All fine. What you will give yourself is simply the sense of mastery. And that sense of mastery comes from taking responsibility. So take responsibility for the fact that you are creating this feeling for yourself and recognize the empowering thought that you have the ability to change it if you want to. You get to decide, “Do I want to change this right now? Do I want to do something about this? Or am I just going to go ahead and feel frustrated?” You always get to choose. Always, always, always get to choose.
But make sure that it’s a choice. Not just, “I feel frustrated and gosh, darn it, it’s my husband’s fault. Or gosh, darn it, it’s the scale’s fault. Or gosh, darn it, it’s hot coffee’s fault. Or gosh, darn it, it’s the fault of that guy who cut me off.” It’s somebody else’s fault. When you find yourself blaming somebody or something else, that’s what I want you to come back to. Bring that responsibility back in-house. You’re still possibly going to feel the frustration, but you will recognize that it’s yours. It’s yours to change if you choose.
Okay. So the other thing about frustration really specifically is something that I call a “but” feeling because the thought that is creating the feeling of frustration includes the word “but.” And frankly, when in doubt, make a butt joke. Am I right? I love butt jokes. They’re funny. Anyway, the thought that is creating frustration for you almost definitely includes the word “but.” But here’s the thing. I couldn’t come up with an example of a thought that you might have that includes the word “but.” If you can think of an example, hand it to me, please. Come find me on social. Tell me, “Hey, I heard that you were talking about “but” thoughts. And here’s my example of a time when I’m frustrated.”
Here’s what I think happens. You have a thought that is something along the lines of, “My husband said he was going to empty the dishwasher, but he didn’t. I thought I was going to lose weight today, but I didn’t. I thought I was losing weight, but I’m not.” I mean, you might have lots of different thoughts about the scale. The scale was supposed to go down today, but it didn’t, whatever. People shouldn’t cut me off in traffic, but that guy did. I wanted to drink my coffee, but it spilled. That “but” in the middle, first of all, I’m going to point you to my podcast called Goal Language [Ep. 008: https://pahlabfitness.com/goal-language/].
I loved that one. It has so much important information for you about how you use language. And in fact, I’m probably going to create a sequel to it because there is so much that goes on with the language that you use that affects how you feel and therefore what you do and the results that you are getting. So anyway, the “but” in the middle of . . . Wait a minute! That wasn’t even goal language. That was literally the episode called The Big “But” [Ep 024: https://pahlabfitness.com/the-big-but/]. That’s funny. You can listen to both of them so help yourself. There’s an entire episode about the big “but” where I make lots of butt jokes and talk about how anything that comes in a sentence after the word “but” is automatically given more weight in your brain.
So when you say, “I thought the scale was going to go down, but it didn’t,” you are essentially arguing with yourself in the space of one sentence, and truly you are arguing with reality. The scale was supposed to go down in your mind, but it didn’t. The “but it didn’t” is the reality of the situation that you are arguing with. The “but” is more important. And it is the thing that you are basically railing against. The “but” is the thing that is creating frustration for you. So here’s how we deal with this: we recognize reality. The scales said X, Y, Z, whatever the number was. My husband didn’t empty the dishwasher. A person drove in front of me in traffic. Coffee spilled. The thing about those sentences is that they are circumstances and therefore, they are neutral. They exist. They are a thing that happened. They are a thing that happened in the past, and they are unchangeable because they happened in the past.
And therefore, you are continuing to argue against it like it didn’t happen. “I didn’t want that, but I wanted something else.” That is the source of your frustration, arguing against something that exists. Something that already happened. Something that is reality. Arguing against reality is an argument that you are going to lose every time, no matter what. And that’s part of the frustration. “I don’t want to lose my arguments. I really like to be right. I thought something was going to go this way and I wanted to be right about that, but I’m wrong and wrong sucks.” That is the source of your frustration. Your thought that something should go a different way than it did. And here is actually how you deal with that. You recognize it all. Let me tell you something. Arguing with reality is one of the most, in my opinion, it is one of the most pervasive thoughts. These kinds of thoughts come back again and again and again and again and again and again and again. They come around far more so than other thoughts.
Frustration is a feeling you could sit in all day long if you wanted to. And here’s why, because frankly, you’re wrong. You are arguing with reality. I can come back again and again to the idea that my husband should have emptied the dishwasher, but he never did. I mean, he has of course in the past, but this morning, he didn’t. That has already happened. So your brain coming back around to what he should have done is always going to hit a brick wall and your brain is going to keep coming back to it. So here’s the thing. Recognize first of all, that your brain is going to keep coming back to it again and again and again. You are going to have to treat your brain like a toddler throwing a tantrum because that’s essentially what’s happening here.
I mean, honestly – honestly – a thing happened even if your brain wasn’t a toddler throwing a tantrum. It would just be something that exists. The dishwasher would just be clean. The coffee would just be on the ground. A car would just be in front of you. The scale would just say a number. Your brain throwing a tantrum about it is the problem. It is the thing that’s creating the frustration. So recognize that you’re going to have to manage your brain. Just like you would a toddler who’s being completely illogical. And frankly, a little frustrating. Simply remind yourself this thing happened. That’s true. The dishwasher was clean and I emptied it. It’s true. The coffee’s spilled on the ground. You’re absolutely right. The coffee’s spilled on the ground.
You can, if you want to . . . this is a little bit of an advanced technique and not all of you are going to love this, but this is the thing that I tell myself because to me, this feels really good. This feels helpful. This feels like a helpful thought to think this thing should have happened this way, because it happened this way. I love that word “should” because my brain is trying to tell me it shouldn’t have, it shouldn’t happen that way. He said he would empty the dishwasher. It shouldn’t happen that way. I’ve been doing all the right things to lose weight. It shouldn’t happen that way. People shouldn’t cut other people off in traffic. It shouldn’t have happened that way. My hand just slipped. And the coffee spilled.
Your brain is offering “you shouldn’t,” “it shouldn’t” have happened this way. I personally feel a deep sense of calm when I remind myself that something that already happened should have happened. And the evidence that I have for that is that it did. That word “should,” might not sit with you. This is where you can listen to Goal Language because your words matter in your brain. However it sits. This is the two step tool. If it feels good, it’s a helpful thought. If it feels bad, it’s not a helpful thought. You get to decide for yourself whether or not that thought about the way things should happen is the way they did happen. If that doesn’t feel helpful for you, I encourage you, truly I encourage you to find some language that does feel helpful because reality exists.
We need to understand the time-space continuum, something that has already happened, already happened. And you arguing with it is the source of your frustration.
So these are a lot of tools in your tool belt here. And some of them might not feel like things that you want to do. This is where I’m going to tell you again: you don’t have to manage your mind, but if you want to, you can. You can take responsibility. You can accept reality in one way or another. You can understand that you are the creator of your feelings and you can gently redirect your brain when – not even if – but when it comes around again and again, to this thing that “shouldn’t have happened.” You can accept the neutrality of a thing that has happened and accept the responsibility that it is your thought that is creating the feeling of frustration.
For me personally, this dissipates the frustration. This creates for me, an understanding and a calmness that, yeah, here’s what happened. And here’s what I’m going to do about it. Because that is what managing your frustration allows you to do. It frees up the space because when you’re sitting in the frustration, you keep going over and over the past. As soon as you recognize that the past is past, it is done. And that is completely okay that you have the ability to manage your mind however you’d like to. It frees up the space to decide what you’d like to do next. The fact is I could have left the dishwasher clean all day long and gently reminded my husband (or not so gently reminded my husband) when he gets home from work this afternoon, “Hey, by the way, remember how you told me that you would empty the dishwasher, could you do that?” That’s the thing.
Did you hear that passive aggressiveness in my voice? That’s exactly how it would come out. That, my friends, is why I empty the dishwasher. I know for a fact that the way I want to show up in the world is doing things that need to be done, not passively aggressively asking “again,” heavier quotes, somebody else to do something that they said they would do but didn’t do. My husband has no interest in the clean dishwasher. I do. He thinks he’s being nice when he says he will empty it, but it doesn’t really matter to him. He doesn’t use a lot of dishes. I mean, he doesn’t get them out of the cabinet the way I do. I serve up dinner. I have a very traditional wifely role for food and really all kitchen things. I truly do kitchen stuff.
I do the cooking. I do the cleaning, and I like it. Let me also be clear about that. If I didn’t like to cook, I wouldn’t. If I didn’t like to clean the kitchen really specifically (I don’t really like cleaning the rest of the house, but I like to have a clean kitchen. So therefore I like to clean the kitchen.), I wouldn’t. And it would be a different conversation because I care about the dishwasher. And I care about being the kind of person who is not passive aggressive.
I had the mental bandwidth to be like, “Hey, I’m going to go ahead and empty this dishwasher and get on with my day.” This is what will happen for you. You will give yourself the mental bandwidth to look at the number on the scale and be like, “Is this something that I need to deal with? Or is this my body?” Because if it’s your body’s fluctuations, it’s your body fluctuations. If there’s something that you would like to come around to like, “Hey, you know what? I’m just really going to make sure that I hit my calories every day, or, you know what? I’ve been a little bit slacking on water. Let me go ahead and make sure that I’m hitting my water every day.” Whatever that thing is, you’ll have the bandwidth to think of that slightly more logically and slightly more compassionately when you are not frustrated.
My friends, feel free to be frustrated if you want to. I get it. I totally get it. Frustration is a feeling that comes from you and you can deal with it however you want to, by not dealing with it or by using the tools that I’ve offered you here today. You guys, I hope this was helpful. This was fun for me mostly because I’m just laughing at myself. Honestly, at this point, I am laughing at myself at how I got an entire podcast out of the dishwasher today. You guys, thank you so much for joining me. I will talk to you again soon.
If you’re getting a lot out of the Fitness Matters Podcast, and you’re ready to take it to the next level, you are going to love the Get Your Goal coaching and accountability group. We take all the theory and knowledge here on the podcast and actually apply it in real life, on your real weight loss and fitness goals. It’s hands on, it’s fun, and it works. Find out more at pahlabfitness.com/get-your-goal. And let’s get your goal.