Conversations at the Crossroads.

Why It’s Hard to Let Go

In a recent coaching conversation, a client and I discussed strategies for “letting go” of frustration. Although the situations he described were situations that would reasonably frustrate anyone, he wanted to experiment with being less reactive.

Frustration, when it occurs frequently or lingers too long, can be moderately to highly detrimental, affecting our ability to thrive and succeed in a variety of ways:

We are less collaborative. We aren’t good listeners when we are frustrated. We are less likely to hear and appreciate someone else’s point of view.

We are less productive. Frustration takes on certain weightiness, causing drag, and impeding momentum. In our determination to move forward in spite of resistance, we are poorly equipped to be optimally resourceful and innovative.

We are less engaged. Frustration distracts us from our purpose and focus. It draws our attention to it like a magnet, at the same time weakening the connection to our interests and aspirations.

For so many reasons, when something triggers frustration, it makes sense to just “let it go.” Get on with things. Get back to productivity. Get back to contentment.

But how?

As my client pointed out, it’s easy enough to say we should let go, yet it’s never that easy to put into practice. The problem is that we become too attached to the idea of “winning.”

When a lot of time and energy have been invested into a task, an activity or a relationship, it may feel important to push through at any cost, to claim some prize or reward for the effort.

When we believe an outcome is a reflection of who we are, an indicator of our success or failure, or a measure of our worth, we hang on for dear life. We want the world to see a winner.

Have you noticed, though, how the “win” at the end of a long frustrated endeavor sometimes comes up short? When you consider what might have been gained by increased productivity, collaboration, innovation and engagement, which would you choose as the wiser path?

If we are to “let go” of frustration, it helps to first let go of the need to win. We can view this as a practice rather than a pursuit for mastery, as we derive benefits by simply trying. So let’s try — and then try, and try again — to release what is weighing us down, recognizing how it gets in the way of awareness, growth and connection. Let’s expand our thinking and evolve beyond a “win-personally-at-all-costs” mindset, towards a mindset that believes growth and connection are the best rewards of all.

With support and encouragement for your journey,

Founder, The Crossroads Coach

Published January 25, 2017