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  • Writer's pictureHelen Burt Iain McCormick

Finding Relief from Frustration

Photo credit: Tianshu Liu

Despite the affirmations that many self-help books preach, life can be difficult and challenging with many important things stubbornly outside of our control. A very common frustration is working alongside or being managed by people who are insensitive, rude and egotistical. There is a lot we can do to overcome these blockages such as providing feedback, being assertive or even making a complaint to the human resources department. Sometimes this helps and sometimes it does not. As a coach, I see many people who are deeply unhappy but feel unable or unwilling to move jobs. What can be done for these clients?

Morita Therapy developed by Japanese psychiatrist Shoma Morita in the early part of the twentieth century was influenced by the psychology of Zen Buddhism. Morita suggested that human motivation was influenced by two opposing drives; a desire to live fully (grow and develop) and a desire to maintain stability and comfort. As we grow our skills, roles and careers we often experience insecurity, self-doubt and irritation. We often try to avoid or suppress these feelings and this makes matters worse. Our attention then becomes focused on trying to escape these unwanted feelings. So the ugly cycle of frustration starts!

A powerful part of Morita Therapy involves finding some quiet time and asking three simple questions about the troublesome individuals in our lives:

1. What have I received from this person?

2. What have I given to him or her?

3. What troubles and difficulties have I caused him or her?

A focus on moving away from ‘poor me’ or blaming others for your irritation and focusing on the relationship you have built and the pain you have caused others can be both surprising and liberating. Give it a try!

Iain McCormick – Executive Coaching Centre – 021 575449

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Jul 12, 2020

Hi Iain, this reminds me of the delightful talk by Ajahn Brahm on how to deal with difficult people - "They are a great blessing in our lives". He has a wonderful sense of humour.


Jul 07, 2020

Very innovative approach, thanks.

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