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’re often 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 it), each becoming more intense in nature. What is it about those people that make them so annoying anyway? Actually, it isn’t about 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 ideal, we choose how we interpret them, feel about them, as well as how we react.
We get annoyed for several reasons: when others behave in ways that are different than we do (or what we deem to be normal) it is easy to place labels and judgments on them. We compare their behavior to our own: “I would never do that”. And since our behavior is perfectly acceptable then logically there must be something inherently wrong with theirs. Or we compare them to others: “Normal people don’t think that way.” – again seeing their actions as flawed.
We may try to manipulate them into changing their ways with such statements as “Why can’t you be more like your sister/me/everyone else?” “There’s something wrong with people who act the way you do. You should get some help.”
Humans, by their very nature, do not feel comfortable with that, or 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.
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/it and the feelings will change accordingly.
2. Remove all expectations you have of how people should be or act. As I always say, “Never should on anyone.” People are not here to live up to your expectations. Give them the freedom to be who they are.
3. Life is meant to unfold naturally. You can force a greenhouse rose to bloom in winter but it will not survive the harsh reality of the environment. So it is with people: each has to grow and bloom in their own time and way.
4. Make light of the disturbing situation in your mind (do not make fun of the individual). Interject humor to diffuse your exasperation for your own sense of well-being. Put things into persepective.
5. Be compassionate if the situation warrants it. Sometimes those who have odd behaviors are struggling with deep rooted personal issues.
6. If the behavior puts you at risk, it is perfectly acceptable to speak with the other party and set some reasonable boundaries.
7. Be aware of how your behavior may be impacting others. It is not only the other person who can prove to be irritating.
8. Every experience, no matter how bothersome we may think it is, has purpose and value. Trust in God. Be at peace. All is exactly as it is meant to be for a higher purpose.
Planning this show proved to be a revelation for me. I discovered that there is more that bothers me than I realized – little insignificant irritations that rob me momentarily of my tranquility. Now that I am aware, I must be more diligent in allowing others and life to simply be. Inner peace matters. My mantra, “It is what it is”, will help restore the serenity that somehow slips away when I least expect it.
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