Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?

(Yes, that is a "Dumb and Dumber" reference - my apologies to those of you whose humor is more refined :)

When my son is fussy or discontent with his current situation he scrunches his face and makes a sound halfway between a yell and a grunt. It's his way of communicating "I'm not happy!!!" but it's also his uninhibited attempt at working out his frustration and releasing tension. He can't explain it to me, but I think he feels better after yelling and not just because he's made his feelings known. It's an actual release.

Sometimes I wish it was socially acceptable as an adult to express my frustration in a similar manner. On the other hand, how annoying would it be to walk around and have people constantly yelling out. But this also leads me to think, how much do we hold in on any given day? Do we exponentially increase our stress levels by suppressing our thoughts, feelings and emotions?

I'm at a conference this week where the comment was made at a break that you can tell we're a dysfunctional community because we don't fight enough. Our discussions are civil and restrained and then we gather in corners to vent. As a result, nothing is solved, tensions aren't released and we walk away with more wrinkles and frown lines.

How many marriages are like this? Businesses? Parent/Teen relationships? What if we stopped learning to stop fighting and instead learned to fight better? I'm not talking about punching and yelling. I'm talking about honest and respectful disagreement, a forum to be honest about our frustration without fearing ostracism - loving each other enough to risk upsetting the status quo.

I'm as guilty as the next person. Too often I wait until I can't control my anger to express my dissatisfaction and the results are never good. I'm resolving to start sharing my feelings while I'm still in control - how about you?

How do you deal with frustration? How do you express dissatisfaction in ways that produce actual results instead of shared misery?

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