People Who Annoy us are Great Mirrors!

When we get annoyed, it is so easy to put all the blame on the annoying one.  The truth is, every time we get annoyed is an opportunity to grow.

I find that when people annoy me there are a few simple, but often hard to see things going on.

  1. They are reflecting back at me a trait that I have and despise in myself.
  2. They are reflecting back at me a trait that I used to have and worked hard to overcome and a part of me is jealous that they get to “act out!”
  3. They are reflecting back at me my own impatience, intolerance, or self-righteousness.

None of these are pretty.  It takes courage and a degree of humility to be able to see our own shortcomings.

Let’s take a closer look:

“They are reflecting back at me a trait that I have and despise in myself.”

When we become aware of this, we can start to be kinder to ourselves and begin to accept our whole being.  It can be as simple as when someone cuts you off in traffic, you can say to yourself, “I have done that” with kindness in your heart toward the both of you.  We all mess up from time to time.  If we can allow instead of resist our foibles, they happen less frequently and with less devastating effects.

“They are reflecting back at me a trait that I used to have and worked hard to overcome and a part of me is jealous that they get to ‘act out!’”

This one is all ego!  Eckhart Tolle said that the function if the ego is that it is never satisfied. This is a great example of that condition.  When we are judging people because they should “know better,” we can turn it around into gratitude that we have been able to transcend that obstacle and compassion because we know what they are experiencing.  They could be acting from pain or ignorance, but if we have been there, then why not give them a boost of encouragement in the form of understanding?

“They are reflecting back at me my own impatience, intolerance, or self-righteousness.”

A Buddhist nun that I knew said that anytime we are impatient, intolerant or self righteous, it is like the mindfulness bell, ringing to remind us to stop, breathe, and go inside to our compassionate nature.  This transforms the struggle that I might have with myself for being impatient!  So much of our misery comes from struggling against what is.  The vicious cycle can look like this: stimulus, reaction of impatience, and struggle against the reaction of impatience.  Instead, can you make a joke out of it?  You may think something like, “Wow!  I was really impatient just then!  How interesting!”

Your assignment:

Next time that you are annoyed, instead of going down the usual path, take a breath, take a look inside at what is going on and see if you can harness patience, compassion, or humor with yourself and the other.

Comments

One Response to “People Who Annoy us are Great Mirrors!”
  1. Judy says:

    I agree with the premise of this article. I truly believe that the things which annoy us are a reflections of our inner workings.

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