Posts Tagged ‘conflictresolution’

10 WAYS TO STOP PEOPLE FROM ANNOYING YOU

They’re like mosquitoes on a hot summer night – those irritating and annoying people. They can be found anywhere from our families or coworkers to drivers on the roadways to complete strangers we encounter while on vacation. Their quirky behaviors and annoying habits can ruin our day. Other than blow up, walk away, or simply endure their lack of sensitivity towards others, we often feel powerless to do anything about it. Uncle Joe who thinks he knows everything, a spouse who is chronically late for even the most important events, people who interrupt or bite their nails or cannot complete a sentence without saying “um” a gazillion times – augh! They drive us crazy!

Being annoyed is the mildest form of anger and subsequently takes the least amount of effort to address. If left unresolved it can easily progress to anger, then aggression (the 3 A’s of Anger, as I refer to them – annoyed, angry, aggressive), each becoming more intense in nature. What is it about those people that make them so irritating and perhaps more importantly, what can we do to get them to stop? Actually, the problem isn’t with them at all. Feeling annoyed is a state of mind, an emotion, and all emotions originate in our thoughts. While their actions may be less than what we consider ideal, we choose how we interpret them, feel about them, as well as how we react.

There are several reasons why other people’s behaviors bother us, such as when they behave in ways that are different than ours or what we deem to be normal or appropriate. It’s easy to place labels and judgments on others and the moment we do so we experience feelings about them. We compare their behavior to our own: “I would never do that” or to others: “No one else behaves that way.” And since our behavior is acceptable to us then the logical conclusion is that there must be something inherently wrong with theirs. We view their actions as flawed.

When others don’t live up to our expectations of what we believe they should or should not be doing or who they should or should not be, we feel disappointed, uncomfortable, or concerned about their well-being or perhaps about our own welfare within the context of the relationship. Opposing belief systems, as well as behaviors, lend cause for discomfort and concern. A law firm comprised of three generations of attorneys finds a rebel grandchild who chooses to start a rock band instead of continuing a long-established family tradition. The older generation cannot comprehend why anyone in their right mind would reject a foolproof career choice for one of little certainty. They cannot discuss any aspect of it without becoming agitated and annoyed.

In some instances, people will try to manipulate the other party into changing their ways with such statements as “Why can’t you be more like your sister/me/everyone else?” Or “There’s something wrong with people who act the way you do. You need to get some help.” Other times they may ban certain subjects from discussion or may even choose to disengage with the bothersome individual.
Humans, by their very nature, do not feel comfortable with those who are different. We tend to date the same kinds of people and socialize with those we share common interests with. When someone enters our world who has even the slightest quirkiness we are quick to criticize. We feel uncomfortable, out of our element, and want them to conform to our standards in order that we may feel at ease. Keep in mind, however, that annoying people are not the problem. Problems only exist in the mind. They do not view themselves nor their beliefs or behaviors as problematic. They are at peace with them. It is only the outsider, you or I, that labels it a problem. Therefore, the problem is not them but with us. You and I have the problem and likewise are the only ones who can institute a solution. Keep in mind, too, that unless an attitude or behavior is illegal, immoral, or a threat to my health or well-being, I have no right to ask or expect anyone to change anything about themselves. Just as I expect others to accept me as I am, so must I be willing to do the same first.

So how then do you stop someone from annoying you? Below are some suggestions in no particular order:
1. Remember that being annoyed is a personal choice. No one can make you feel anything. All emotions originate in the mind. Change your perception (thoughts) about them and the feelings will change accordingly.

2. Remove all expectations of how people should be or act. Never should on anyone. People are not here to live up to your expectations. Respect them enough to give them the freedom to be who they are.

3. Life is meant to unfold naturally. You can force a rose to bloom in a greenhouse in winter but it will not survive the harsh conditions of its natural environment. So it is with people: each has to grow and bloom in their own time and way. Let go and let God. It’s all in His hands.

4. Make light of the situation but do not make fun of it or the individual. Interject humor to diffuse your exasperation for your own sense of well-being. Put things into perspective. Remember my 10 year rule: if I won’t remember it or it won’t matter in 10 years then it’s not that important.

5. Be compassionate if the situation warrants it. Sometimes those who have odd behaviors are struggling with deep rooted personal issues.

6. Be understanding. Everyone journeys through life in their own time and way. Every experience and choice they make has purpose and value to them. It is all a necessary part of their evolutionary process.

7.Stay out of their business and focus your attention on your own beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. “Wherever you direct your energy is where change will occur.” You cannot change others; the only change you can initiate is within. Let go of the need to fix or change anyone other than yourself.
8. If their behavior puts you at risk, speak with them and set some reasonable boundaries. Keep in mind that they must be fair and realistic with equal consideration for all parties.

9. Be aware of your own behavior and how may be impacting others. It is not only the other person who can prove to be irritating.

10. Understand that every person who enters our life, every experience we have, no matter how bothersome we may think it is, has purpose and value. Learn to trust in God. Find the significance in everyone and everything. In that way, rather than being annoyed, you can appreciate the experience and find inner peace and acceptance.
In conclusion, annoyance is the mildest form of anger and if left unaddressed can lead to more serious conditions. Never allow small insignificant irritations to rob you of your joy and tranquility. Being annoyed at someone is a matter of judgment. “Judge not lest ye be judged.” Once aware, we must be more diligent in allowing others to simply be. “It is what it is” is a mantra that helps to restore the serenity that slips away when we allow other people to bother us. We cannot change how others behave but we can certainly, and must, determine how we allow them to impact us. Inner peace matters most.

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IT’S NOT FAIR!

At one time or another, we’ve all complained that life isn’t fair. Children do it all the time: Karen, who is older by two years, is allowed to stay up later than her younger siblings. They complain to dad that they’re being treated unjustly, not realizing that at the same age her bedtime was thirty minutes earlier. As adults, we attribute this behavior to immaturity and expect that as children grow and develop this rationale will make way for a more judicious way of thinking . Sadly, many people carry this mind-set with them well into adulthood. Two of my favorite comedians from years back, Tom and Dick Smothers, had a standing skit where one grumbled that “Mom always liked you best!”, indicating a biased favoritism. On stage, this is entertaining. In real life, it’s unflattering and harmful.

Gary Zukov, NY Times bestselling author of The Seat of the Soul, says that the most important thing we have are our belief systems. Our entire lives are built upon them and if inaccurate we struggle and suffer. Believing that life was designed to be fair and balanced is a faulty tenet. When we see an perceived injustice we seek to recreate rightfulness. When it is not forthcoming, we feel frustrated and discriminated against. “I should have gotten that promotion, not the boss’s son. I’ve been here longer. That’s not fair!”

In our relationships, especially the close, personal or intimate ones, this kind of mindset can prove devastating. There are those who actually keep score: “I helped you when you needed it. Now you should give me a hand as well. That’s only right.” “I paid for our last evening out. Now it’s your turn.” In an attempt to keep things equitable, we manipulate the other party into feeling guilty should they decline our request. Seeking equality is a futile endeavor – it simply does not exist in an imperfect world inhabited by imperfect human beings. Attempting to do so is one of the quickest ways to build anger and resentment – toxic ingredients capable of destroying lives.

Life isn’t fair yet it is perfectly just. The lyrics to a Colin Raye song state that “You don’t always get what you want, you get what you need.” If we subscribe to this premise, which I do, then life is exactly what we need it to be. Each experience, each individual, each loss, each success is exactly what is necessary for us to fulfill our Divine Destiny, our Dharma (as Wayne Dyer calls it). If my child wants to be a great artist, I provide them with the proper canvases, brushes, and paints. If my son has a sprained ankle, I get him crutches. Identical? No. Fair? Yes. Each is receiving exactly what they need in that moment for their own good. Fair does not mean the same – it means having equal value. We become angry in part because we mistakenly assign random values to events and then compare what each of us has.

One of our greatest challenges lies in realizing that we are not meant to be treated alike but that the Universe, in all of its infinite wisdom, always provides exactly what we are meant to have for our higher good and that each experience has equal value.

What then is the solution to avoiding the bitterness and resentment assigned to the belief that life should be fair?
1. Remember that if life were perfectly balanced we would learn nothing: patience, appreciation, determination, forgiveness, and much more.
2. Celebrate the successes of others, extend compassion for their losses regardless of where you are in life, knowing that at the precise moment it is needed each will receive what they are intended to have.
3. Keep in mind that every single experience, no matter how insignificant, no matter how painful or frightening plays a unique role in fulfilling our Divine Destiny – which is always to bring us closer to God.
4. Don’t compare or keep score. One never fully realizes the challenges others are struggling with. Focus only on addressing and learning from your own. Failure to do so leads to self-pity, victimization, misery, and suffering.
5. Trust that God’s love for you always directs you to your highest good. Be at peace with your life. You are in good hands, the best hands, with God.

Life may not appear to be fair but it is always unbiased. Each of us is given exactly what we need to assist us in our spiritual growth and to bring us into a more intimate relationship with our Lord. Sounds pretty just to me.

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EXPOSING COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ANGER

I’ve been presenting seminars on understanding and healing anger for 25 years and it never ceases to amaze me how much misinformation is circulating about one of life’s most powerful emotions. Lack of accurate facts and techniques can have serious repercussions in every aspect of life from relationships to health to joy and happiness. Consider the following myths and truths:

Myth #1. It’s wrong to get angry. Anger is a bad emotion.

Truth: In truth, all emotions are neutral and only have the value we assign them. Each one serves a necessary purpose as they act as messengers that provide great insight into the self: what matters to us vs what’s unimportant; where our values lie and what things violate them; what our expectations and judgments are concerning others, ourselves, and the world in general; what our personal issues are (in need of healing) which are currently causing us distress and trigger anger, jealousy, fear, etc.

Humans are hardwired to feel a wide variety of emotions which is a valuable asset. Once we are able to decipher the message and purpose of the feeling, we can use it to better understand ourselves, work on our personal issues and find peace with them, motivate us to make positive changes within ourselves and in our relationships or our environment.

Anger itself is neither wrong nor bad. Again, it’s a powerful messenger that alerts us to the fact that something in our life needs our attention to correct. It is the way in which we process it, express it, and use it that determines if it’s going to be a positive or negative force in our lives and in the lives of those affected. Anger can cause serious damage or allow for personal growth.

Myth #2. When you feel angry, it’s best to let it out and get it off your chest.

Truth: This is a double-edged sword. While suppressing or denying anger can prove detrimental to the one experiencing it (and ultimately to the relationship since those involved are not being honest with one another), doing so at the height of the emotion can be extremely risky. First let me state that it is not always necessary to express how you feel in that precise moment. Many issues can be resolved internally without ever verbalizing one’s displeasure. When I am angry, I need to first ask myself “Why do I allow this to bother me?” Very often, once I am able to answer that question I realize that it is my own perception, judgment or personal issues that need to be addressed. In truth, there may be nothing wrong or offensive about the other person’s behavior at all.

Sometimes, expressing your displeasure can hurt the other person’s feelings, cause the situation to escalate, give the appearance that you are unreasonable or hostile (if your anger is out of control), lead to embarrassment or regret, damage relationships, and more. People respond to various situations in one of two ways: either from an intellectual perspective or an emotional one. When operating from an intellectual mind, one collects all relevant data, processes it, and comes to a rational conclusion. When expressing themselves they are typically more calm and focused, offering logical, well thought out comments. Conversely, when one is highly emotional, they rarely act or speak logically. Emotions are powerful tools that cloud rational judgment and offer irrational statements, assumption, conclusions, and demands. It is best to practice the SWaT Strategy (from The Secret Side of Anger) giving yourself the necessary time to calm down, rethink the issue, and respond intelligently and fairly.

So the answer is both yes and no. There are times when it is perfectly acceptable and advantageous to let the other party know that you are upset with them or with what has transpired. Sharing feelings invites open dialogue that can clear the air, gain deeper insights, and strengthen relationships. In other circumstances, it is best to remain silent, giving oneself adequate time to process the event, draw a reasonable conclusion, find peace with it and let it go without revealing one’s initial displeasure.

Myth #3. You can’t help the way you feel.

Truth: Believing that one has no control over how they feel is one of the most dangerous and self-destructive beliefs one can have. In essence, they relinquish their authentic power over to others; they are at the mercy of how others treat them and their reaction to such. “You make me mad. You hurt my feelings. You embarrassed me.” They believe themselves to be powerless (the very definition of anger) thus putting themselves in the role of being a victim: helpless and without power. That is a terrifying place to be as others now have control over your feelings and life.

Anger, as are all emotions, is a choice. All emotions originate in the mind with a thought. I choose my thoughts and therefore choose the corresponding emotion. Thoughts are the single most powerful tool we have. Every decision ever made began with a thought. No one and nothing can control one’s mind. Someone may suggest that I think a certain way, let’s say that I should dislike a family member whom they despise. They may offer all sorts of reasons as to why I should hate them but ultimately I chose what I believe or disbelieve about the individual and those thoughts will ultimately dictate how I feel about them.

When my best friend fails to return my call after a week’s time, I can tell myself she’s being rude or consider that she might have simply forgotten. I decide if I want to be upset about a situation or just let it be. One evokes anger, the other compassion. Either way – my choice.

Myth #4. Other people/things make you angry.

Truth: People or events (outside stimuli) are triggers, not causes. Whenever we experience an event (something occurs, someone says/does something that does not meet our criteria for what we believe should happen) we become agitated. Pay careful attention to the expectations and demands you place on yourself and those around you. Unrealistic or unfair expectations are a leading cause of anger. We demand far too much from ourselves, (“I should be doing more/should be able to handle this”), from others (“He’s an adult. He needs to be more responsible.”), or from the world “(“If I work hard, I’ll be successful.”) Life and others will not always conform to our demands. When we experience disappointment, disillusionment, become frustrated or hurt we will create feelings of anger as we feel let down by others or the world.

Keep in mind that people are under no obligation to conform to our demands nor am we here to conform to theirs. Each of us has a God-given right to live life as best we can, keeping in mind that no one has a right to cause harm to another in any way. Remember too that life owes us nothing, therefore we have no right to expect anything other than what we create on our own.

Therefore it is imperative the consider that a simple readjustment of one’s expectations to something more reasonable and realistic for the situation alleviates any potential anger from manifesting. Pay careful attention to the thoughts you entertain concerning the event or individual you are engaging with. Those outside stimuli are only triggers; your anger arises from your thought process.

Myth #5. Anger is hereditary. If you have a bad temper you can’t help it – it’s in your genes.

Truth: Anger is a learned behavior. Claiming that it is inherited is an avoidance tactic – a way to circumvent taking responsibility for one’s attitude and subsequent behaviors and consequences. Children may grow up in a toxic and violent family and see anger as a normal way of life. But what is learned can be unlearned as well.

Under the right conditions, anyone can control their anger if necessary. If the consequences are potentially high enough (perhaps one risks getting fired for an explosive outburst at work) that person could contain their feelings until they were in a safer environment where the dangers of expressing it are far less. A bad temper is typically the result of one being overly sensitive and taking personal offense to minor infractions. Or it can arise from feelings of fear: the need to control in order to keep oneself safe and happy. All anger can be healed with the proper knowledge, tools, and commitment.

Myth #6. People with anger issues yell, scream, throw things, hit, punch, etc. Those who don’t react with aggression don’t have a problem with anger.
Truth: Not so. One is simply more apparent than the other. Many people are afraid to openly express how they feel and will keep their anger bottled up inside. This can lead to depression, health issues, relationship problems, addictions, somatizing (inflicting harm upon oneself such as self-mutilation or self-sabotage), self-loathing, and more. Others resort to sarcasm, the silent treatment or other covert behaviors. And still others are in denial of their anger believing that it is wrong and/or that they will be judged because of it. Either way, suppressing anger can have potentially deadly consequences.

It is critical to identify suppressed or denied anger within oneself. Those who are fearful of speaking up put themselves at risk for being used, abused, overlooked, taken advantage of and more. Their relationships lack truth and candor and will undoubtedly suffer the consequences. Sadly, undefined anger interferes with one’s ability to experience authentic happiness and joy in life. On every level, it can have devastating consequences.
Anger is a normal, healthy, useful, and necessary emotion. Acknowledge it when it arises, get to the root* of what is bothering you, heal those issues, and let the anger go. Anger appropriately utilized can yield positive benefits for you and those around you. Choose your emotions wisely for they direct the entire course of your life.

Q: Proverbs 15: “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute.”

*Learn more about the 3 root causes in The Secret Side of Anger
To order a copy of The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth visit http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html
Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://www.iheart.com/talk/show/53-Anger-911-Radio/
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