Lately, I’ve found myself getting easily annoyed.
Not necessarily by experiences or situations or moments—but by people.
In some ways, I’m annoyed by people in the collective sense. There’s so much craziness and apathy and pain in the world right now.
But mostly, I’m annoyed by people in the specific sense. People I know and interact with, some by choice and others…well, not by choice.
I’m annoyed by the things they do (or don’t do). By the things they say (or don’t say).
By their lack of respect. By their egos. By their selfishness.
By their insensitivity. By their choices.
By how easily they forget that other people have feelings.
By how quick they are to hurt other peoples’ feelings.
By how okay they are with disregarding anything (or anyone) that doesn’t align with what they want at a given moment.
Honestly, people are annoying the sh*t out of me.
Then today, I reread a Pema Chödrön quote that I’ve read hundreds of times, but something about it connected differently than it has before:
“If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your heart, it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person. It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart…”
The truth is, people are always going to be a little (or a lot) annoying. It’s normal. It’s human. We’ve all acted selfishly or disrespectfully at different moments in our lives.
But when I read this quote, I realized that the issue isn’t other people, as obnoxious and insensitive as they may be. The issue is the level of focus I’ve been giving these people. The level of focus I really should be giving myself.
So, I asked myself: How am I reacting when I’m annoyed?
Am I obsessing about conversations I had, or conversations I wish I’d had with them?
Am I allowing them to take up too much space in my head?
Am I taking things too personally?
Am I worrying about how to fix them or change their behavior when I should be changing my own?
Am I getting sucked into their drama and issues instead of setting strong boundaries?
Am I putting them and all their emotional crap first when I should be attending to the arrow in my heart?
It’s so easy to lose ourselves in someone else’s mess—their ego and issues and limitations (because, again, we’ve all been there).
It’s so much harder to look at ourselves. Not to see how we may be contributing to the situation (although that has its own benefits), but to see how we can better take care of ourselves. How we can change the mental conversations we’re having with ourselves. How we can heal whatever is coming up in our hearts. How we can put ourselves first.
How we can show up for ourselves, even and especially, when we’re sad or hurt or disappointed—or, yep, annoyed.
And with the way I’ve been feeling lately, it’s at least worth a try.