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Dealing with Frustrations

There’s story of a 14-year-old boy named Derry, narrated by Susan Hill. Derry has a personal problem: a horrible scar on side of his face made by acid. He hates himself because of that scar and keeps running away from people. In fact, he is running away from himself. Until he comes across an old man, Mr Lamb.

Lamb teaches Derry that he is not his scar. There is a scar on your face and it is far from attractive. But you are not your scar. You are Derry with all the potential that every normal boy has. What you are is your choice. If you look in the mirror and choose to see only your scar every time, you will be the scar. Why don’t you look at the numerous other things that are available? At the fruits in this orchard, for example.

Lamb was sitting in his orchard when Derry jumped over the wall. If you help me, we can gather these crab apples and make jelly. We can make toffees with the honey. Or discover music in the buzzing of the honeybees. We can do a lot of things other than look at scars and wallow in self-pity.

Lamb teaches Derry the most fundamental lesson of cognitive psychology: change your perspective and the reality changes. In fairy tales, physical miracles take place. A fairy comes and kisses the monster and the monster transforms into a handsome prince. Such miracles don’t happen in real life. In real life, Derry has to give the miraculous kiss to himself by transforming his attitudes.

Derry’s frustration melts away with Lamb’s guidance.

How can we deal with our frustrations?

I carried a lot of frustrations within me for long. I saw myself as an utter failure. My wife was my constant and only support in the period of my protracted depression. She was the Lamb in my life. What did she teach me?

1.     That I am largely responsible for creating my own emotional problems. I carried too many self-defeating beliefs about me as well as others and the world in general. I learnt to question those beliefs and found that they were irrational.

2.     I learnt that I have the ability to change these irrational beliefs. I give the miraculous fairy kiss to myself. You are not your limitations. You have so much goodness of various types. Let that goodness shine. And a miracle begins to unfold.

3.     This miracle doesn’t happen once and for all. You have to make it happen again and again because the world keeps throwing all kinds of challenges and irrationalities and insanities at us. It’s a tough journey, this life. Get tough and get going.

4.     Keep a guard on your thinking. Your emotions are a product of your thinking. Frustrations flee when you learn to think right.

PS. Written for Inndispire Edition 453: How do you deal with frustration? #Frustration


  1. This is the sort of self development that should be dealt with in school too but I suppose its not possible for a 1 on 1 interaction when you have over 50 students in a class.

    1. The number does matter. When I was teaching in Delhi there were only 20 students in a class. That made a huge difference. Plus, that was a residential school which means the students are with you day and night. Family. That school was killed by a godman. Now i work in a parody of that school.


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