The Oklahoman

When life deals frustratio­ns, sometimes the best response is acceptance

- Your Life Charlotte Lankard Guest columnist Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Contact her at .

“Therapy can be expensive but popping bubble wrap is free,” a friend told me. Her philosophy is someone will always be prettier, smarter, live in a bigger house and drive a better car. Their children will do better in school, and their husband will fix more things around the house. “So what?” she says, “we’re better off to just let it go.”

Fuming and fussing and whining makes us lose our dignity. Sometimes a good therapist will help you make some changes. Other times, it’s just the way it is, and no therapy in the world is going to change the situation.

Those are the days you pop bubble wrap, or put on some fast music and dance, or sit with a stack of magazines and catalogs and rip out those pages with large gestures and satisfying sounds. And, always, invite any children who are in the house, or the neighborho­od, to join you. First, of course, they must also share their frustratio­ns and whine and complain.

The advice to count to 10, or if you’re really angry, count to 100, before you take any action, is far from being just an old wives’ tale. Waiting until you cool down to respond is always a wise thing to do. It not only will improve your relationsh­ips; it can make you healthier.

One husband whose wife was often angered by long, red lights, reminded her — gently — the red light really didn’t care and she might as well save her fury.

Different triggers provoke different people. Bad traffic, slow waiters, an insensitiv­e boss, an incompeten­t employee or an inattentiv­e spouse are all common provocatio­ns for angry people.

Others operate from a mispercept­ion the world should be other than the way it is and become enraged when beset by the ordinary hassles and inconvenie­nces of everyday life — an airport delay, a traffic jam or a person who breaks into a line.

One of the great lessons we pass on to children and grandchild­ren is life is often neither fair nor easy, and there are times when the wise thing to do is to simply accept that, but just in case, keep an ample supply of bubble wrap on hand.

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