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How You Can Find Peace with People Who Annoy You

It’s usually those closest to us who annoy us the most. Angela Mager, RN, HC explains how you can learn to let things go that might otherwise drive you crazy. Read more from Angela on her blog, Happy Healthy and Hormonal.
Are there any people in your life that annoy you?  They could be people you run into now and then, or maybe they live in your house.  But, they do things that just really grate on your nerves.  Do you know anyone like that?
Yes, I do.
I won’t name any names, but I live with this person.  I’ll call him Hal.
How You Can Find Peace with People Who Annoy You: Optimist
Maybe he isn’t sooo irritating, but he does things not entirely right.  You know?  Like, loading the dishwasher.  Hal doesn’t have the skill I have of properly stacking the dishes so that the space is maximized, and all dishes get completely washed without any getting flipped over and holding the dirty dishwasher water until I pull out the upper rack and water splashes on the lower rack dishes.  Maybe even on my feet.  Yuck.
Sure, that is minor.  At least Hal is loading the dishwasher, you might be thinking.  True.  So very true.  I could use more impactful examples, but that may get too personal.
I can get pretty worked when things are done wrong.  I can try to explain to Hal how much better my way (i.e.: the right way) is.  I might even feel the need to ask why he has chosen to once again do it his way, when clearly that is upsetting to me.
But, that never works.
Of course, I save these confrontations for really important and meaningful points that need to be made.
Oh wait, that is just what I tell myself before I raise my complaint.  As the conversation (using the term loosely) unfolds, I begin to see how small I am thinking.
I become aware then of a universal truth.  I can only change myself and my perceptions.  I can not change anyone else.
Not by force, or request, or threat.  Not by rationalization.  Not even by imploring someone’s kindest sensibilities.
It is impossible to impose any change in another.  They have to change themselves.  They have to view a change is necessary, or at least that it could be beneficial to them.  As it turns out, this is an inside job.  Even in the case of something as trivial as loading a dishwasher.  It is only when someone is open to the idea that there is a better way, that they would like to become more efficient with their dishwasher loading skills, that they listen to and adopt a new way of completing the task.
Understanding this to be true, what are we to do?  How do we go through life living with people who don’t realize that our way is the right way?
This is where it gets real.  We need to change our perception.
To prevent hard feelings from developing in yourself, you need to take a moment to listen to your inner optimist.  Your optimist can see the good in any situation.  It is always there, but when things get really annoying, it is hard to hear.
Even if you do hear the optimist, that in itself can be annoying.  Its too Pollyanna.  That is why you have to listen with purpose.
Somewhere inside you is your highest self who can see the good in others.  When you catch yourself being upset by someone else, its time to take a breath and step out of the situation.
Step back from your reaction, and remember that the other person is not trying to annoy you.  As much as it seems to be the case, 99% of the time that is not the motivation behind their action.
So the question is, what positive motive could it be?  In the case of the dishwasher, it is to load the dishes so they get clean, and I could go so far as to say…so I don’t have to do it.
Wow, thank you!  Suddenly I am overwhelmed with gratitude instead of annoyance.  The positive motivation was obvious in this case, but it isn’t the first thought I had when the dishwasher was run half full.
Here is a bonus tip:  When you find yourself getting irritated, interrupt your thoughts.  Instead of allowing the negative thoughts to multiply, which they tend to do, remember something positive that person did.  It may take a list of happy memories to beat down the negative thoughts.  Its worth it!
Changing your perception isn’t as difficult as it sounds.  It is really as easy as looking for the other person’s positive purpose.
And maybe, probably not…but maybe, we will see that the other person’s way is better than our own.
Angela Mager, RN, HC

I am an RN and a cardiac wellness coach. I work with women at risk for heart disease to help them finally succeed at creating a healthy lifestyle that they love, so that they can feel energetic, grow confident, and love their life.

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