how to be content

9 Ways to Be Content in the Midst of Frustration

“Frustration, although quite painful at times, is a very positive and essential part of success.” – Bo Bennett

What would you rather prefer: frustration with things you have control over, or frustration with those you don’t?

That question may not even be useful, because in the end, frustration will always be a terrible feeling. Worse, you may not know when a frustration—big or small—will finally end.

Whether at ourselves or at external forces that keep distracting us, we simply get frustrated. It happens in one way or another, every day. Giving in to it may mean trouble, especially if this kind of feeling only seems to pile up over time.

So, how do you become content anyway?

1. Accept reality.

Accept things as they are. In reality, frustration only happens if you allow it to. Remember, like any other sorts of feelings, frustration is out of how you perceive your circumstances.

This, however, doesn’t mean you should just allow frustrating events to happen. Such events still happen whether you expect them to, no matter how you respond to them.

For example, you want to perfect a skill. You’ve been working for it for months. But you feel that it’s still so far from being satisfactory even.

Accept it. Just accept reality. It’s simply the way it is.

Continue to do your best but don’t let frustration rule you.

Perhaps you only love the pace. Perhaps you only need more time. That’s it.

2. Keep learning.

You will, by all odds, learn a lot of things in the midst of frustration.

You’ll discover what you really want to do, and out of frustration you’ll start looking for solutions that may not always be apparent but are effective specifically for the problems you’re going to tackle.

You’ll realize how distractions can become a real hindrance, and will start eliminating them, eliminating all the “noise.”

When you change your perspective, you’ll understand that frustrations aren’t actually meant to bring you down, but are rather solid opportunities for you to hone your creativity, attention to detail and courage.

Being content is knowing you’re being responsible for your wellbeing—by keeping the desire to learn burning.

3. Practice gratitude—every time.

Frustration, like adversity, is something you should be thankful for—it generally makes you wiser and stronger.

Moreover, psychologists report that people who practice gratitude develop patience. These people may be able to delay immediate gratification for a greater reward after.

Gratitude nourishes inner joy, the constant joy you experience even when you’re alone, even when things aren’t going as planned. And this joy can be contagious. You become content as a person, and your loved ones and friends who see you will most probably feel that joy, too.

There’s no reason not to be grateful, even during the most frustrating times.

Remember, your whole life does not consist of frustrating events only.

4. Stop the negativity in your head.

Yes, you’re surrounded by frustration. And it could be too much to handle.

Do yourself a favor by not engaging in negative self-talk. Arguably, most of your frustrations are a result of your actions. But don’t react negatively to the already-negative situations you get caught in. Instead, look for the brighter side.

If you used to say, “I can’t do it,” change it to “I’ll do my best!” Change “Things will remain the same, anyway,” to “Small achievements are going to take place!”

Don’t blame yourself. Don’t blame others.

Contentment is about looking for something positive among the sea of negativity. The best part is, there’s always—always—going to be something positive.

5. Develop meaningful relationships—with the right people.

Choose the people who you hang out with and who you’d like to develop deep relationships with.

Everybody has their own frustration baggage, but choose people who’d rather have a positive outlook in general.

Nurture these relationships as you will learn from them, as much as they’ll learn from you. You could start being accountable for one another, promoting contentment even if frustration continues to hang around everywhere.

Frustration simply means you have to think of workarounds as you look for the best solutions to your issues—true contentment means you are happy despite doing that.

There are people who’d also like to be content—and share their life with you. You’d be better off in their company than in others’.

6. Reward yourself for your efforts.

Frustrations are unsuccessful attempts—yet.

Don’t wait for the desired results before you celebrate. If you did that, you might only get more and more frustrated, which could burn you out.

Don’t focus on the results. Focus—and be proud of—the efforts you are putting in to make things happen.

Be proud that even if you’re going to be frustrated tomorrow, or next week, or next year, you continue to raise the bar for yourself. You may even be surprised to have reached success one day, as if it were easy—when the truth is you only got better every time, because you chose to.

7. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself; you may only get overwhelmed. If you handle frustrations the wrong way, you encourage more stress, less efficiency and less productivity.

Be thankful for what you already have, for what you’ve already accomplished, for the progress you are making.

Get perspective—something you don’t usually think of. Think that your current situation could be worse you could have no other options. But hey, you are able to find other ways to deal with your frustrations, and yes, you can do them!

Love and respect yourself. There’s no point attaining all the success in the world if you don’t take care of yourself in the first place.

8. Complain—with this right reason.

The only time you should complain is when complaining means pushing a solution to a problem. Otherwise, you only vent out negativity, which you pass on to the person you talk to. Venting out complaints could be healthy, but why not just do it to address your frustrations straightaway?

Complain about your bad habits to a trusted friend who can give you solid advice without reservations. Complain to your neighbors who just won’t put the volume down past midnight. Complain to a family member who doesn’t want to cooperate.

Complaining this way could be hard, but like other hard things in life, it’s actually for the better.

You’ll be content recognizing you are able to voice out your opinions, especially when they’re needed.

9. This too shall pass.

Believe it.

Frustrations are not forever. If they were, they’d eventually become smaller and smaller anyway, until you wouldn’t notice them.

That is going to be case, especially if you untiringly apply the previous tips above.

Stand your ground, and don’t give up. It will be difficult, but the principle could be that simple.

Just think about your present situation. If you’ve been applying the previous tips, do you think your frustrations are still as strong as before? That’s right, some of them could even be nothing more than an amusing memory.

Be content with your life starting right now, by accepting that so many things—including your frustrations—will come to an end.

Think About It

Being content and being frustrated seem to be exact opposites. But the truth is, we become content if we want to be content, in the same way that we become frustrated if we allow ourselves to be frustrated.

The path to choose is now up to you.

Remember, frustration can only mean failure. And failure is not the end of it all. Failure is only a stepping stone to success. Failure is inevitable.

And that is not the reason not to be content at all. Frustration is not even meant to work that way. Frustration should contribute to your own personal growth.

Being content is a constant state of mind, of feeling. Frustrations are just a test, while you can still be content, anyway, after all.

Speak Your Mind

How do you keep yourself content despite frustrations? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Ethan Bridges is a life enthusiast and blogger who loves to help others achieve anything they want in life—by first believing in the power of setting goals and reaching them, one at a time. Join the journey with him on his blog, Fine Mortal!


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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