How your “annoying” and “infuriating” tells everyone about you

How your “annoying” and “infuriating” tells everyone about you

I’m a teacher, giving lectures on psychology to students. And today one of them stood up, interrupted me, and said emphatically: “I don’t agree with you!”.

I love these twists and turns, when a couple has just started, we sit down, say hello, exchange news, and then, lo and behold, “I don’t agree!” The guy is serious, approaches everything objectively, and all of a sudden he’s pushy, either arguing or asking:

– Yesterday you said, if there’s something that makes me angry and irritated, it means I have all these irritating qualities in me…
– Yes,  I nod, smiling.

I could have said that. I remembered the conversation we had yesterday about emotions. Having heard them say so easily: “I am angry”, “I am annoyed”, “I can’t watch”, etc., I allowed myself to comment on WHAT was behind it all.

I know they love these “in formation” conversations we have with them. Sometimes we carve out time for such lyrical digressions and “pro-life” stories. Yesterday we talked a little bit after the lecture about annoyance and anger, about helper situations, about people-mirrors. Yes, you see how… It stuck, though.

– Well, yes,  I said. – I could have said that.
– And I do not agree!
– I’m not here to convince you of anything, I’m not here to get you to agree with me. I’m just sharing information. I don’t argue. I answer questions.
– Okay, then I’ll ask. There’s something that annoys me about others, but I never do it myself, I never do it… So what? I don’t have it in me, but it irritates me a lot! – He backed up his resolve with an iron argument. – How does your theory work, then?

It became clear that he was determined to go all the way. Oh, how I love such students!

– I’ll start from afar: the theory is at least a hundred years old, – I upset him at once. – To deal with your irritation and understand what your irritant “mirrors” you, you just have to dig deeper. If everything was on the surface, it wouldn’t be interesting, would it? Where’s the intrigue then, where’s the self-discovery, where’s the inner digging, where’s the work on your favorite self, finally?

The whole group, accustomed to my ironic comments, have starched their ears and are also practically participating in our dialogue. I understand that we were brought up on some hot topic for them. And until we get this situation cleared up, we shouldn’t start the class. Well…

– Can you be more specific about the situation? Because I don’t understand: “they do it,” “I don’t do it,” “it irritates me. With such closed content, we will be theorizing about nothing until morning, while we still have “effective business communications” on the agenda. If you can, give me an example.
– I can, he hesitated for a moment, trying to mentally imagine the situation that had so disturbed him. – I don’t smoke. Never smoked at all. But when I see girls who smoke, it irritates me!
– It annoys you when you see girls smoking, I repeated.
– Yes! Annoying! When I see them standing on the street, lighting their cigarettes, blowing smoke… It really makes me angry.
– And what exactly makes you angry, can you tell me?
– Well, what… he hesitated for a minute. – ‘It makes me mad that they smoke. And how can that be my “mirror” if I don’t smoke? What clues does it give me about myself if it’s not about me at all? And there’s nothing to dig into.
– Wait, wait, I cool his ardor a little. – It depends on the purpose of digging. We are not digging a pit now: take more and throw farther! We’re making an archeological dig, so we dig gently and carefully not to miss anything important or precious, don’t you agree?

He nodded, and I was curious to watch him and the rest of the group with the anticipation of what discoveries might await them at the end of this excavation!

– Tell me, though: what is it that annoys you the most when you see girls smoking?
– Do you dislike the smell of tobacco from girls or the fact that it looks untidy? – The silent well-wishers with starched ears tried to think for him. But my mutely reproachful gaze promptly told them to sit down and be quiet.

– No, it’s not annoying, he said not so assertively, no longer arguing with me, but rather searching for answers somewhere in himself. Digging. – I don’t think about unkemptness at this point. If I do, I don’t think about it in the first place.
– What is the first thing? – I decided to speed up the process a little.
– The first thing I think about is that they are future mothers, they have children to give birth to, and they smoke! – He started to boil again.
– Well, it’s them to give birth to, and their children will be sick. You think they don’t know about it? They do. And they choose to smoke. What’s so annoying about that? – I, though a little cynical, keep laying out the route for him to dig.
– How can you, knowing the consequences, choose to smoke?! – you can see that this is a really exciting question for him, his emotions start to run wild. – How can you be so irresponsible about your health and the health of your future children!

Here we go. It’s getting really hot… There’s already something to talk about. A word that’s practically dug up has been said, but I haven’t raised an eyebrow. It’s important to me that he hears himself.

– I mean… You’re so annoyed with…
– Yeah, irresponsibility! Yeah, that’s right. It’s that irresponsible, and consciously irresponsible attitude that annoys me!

You should have heard him exclaim that! It was like an epiphany! And the facial expressions, and the gestures, and the tone of voice – everything said that we had unearthed his true irritant.

What happened next?

It gets even more interesting! I don’t even have time to finish my smiling, slow: “And tell me, my dear friend… Have you ever heard any… reproaches in your address in this very…”. He suddenly turned serious, and then he grasped his head and thought for a moment.

Then he looked at me again. He was sitting there smiling. Shaking his head, as if he was afraid to comprehend his discovery.

– You won’t believe it!

No, I wouldn’t believe it. I’m always amused to hear that: “You wouldn’t believe” in situations like this.

– You wouldn’t believe it, I’ve been scolding myself most lately for my irresponsibility, he exclaimed with a different, I would even say joyful mood. – I got a job. I thought I could do my senior year. It wasn’t easy to combine it with the studies. Here and there I had a few slip-ups. I told myself off for being irresponsible, and sometimes I heard it from my parents. Often from teachers – for absences… Irresponsibility! Well, look at that…

– And the girls who smoke are hinting and hinting at you, what you should sort out in yourself, and you still can’t, – I allowed myself to provoke him. – It turns out that they, these girls are good – they come in your face all the time, irritating you, annoying you, so that you can finally deal with its irresponsibility. Which, in fact, you are very exhausting and disturbing.
– No, well, that’s not it… he wonders to himself. – What is the connection: smoking girls and my irresponsibility.
– Mirror.
– I agree.
– About a person can learn a lot of things that irritate and “piss off”.
– Now I understand.
– There are a lot of telltale mirrors around.
– There are.
– And how do you find them? – These are those who “sit – silent” into the conversation.

It made me laugh.

– They find you by themselves every now and then! Some even chase you and say: “I am your mirror! I’m your mirror!” Whenever you say all these “angered”, “annoyed” and “irritated”, it’s you about your mirrors … Only you prefer not to see this as a clue, and get angry and irritated. Of course, it’s more interesting to live this way: there is always something to talk about. And most importantly, you don’t have to do anything – discuss, judge, and complain. Beautiful!

Silent, thoughtful, but they have me – guys sharp ideas (for which I love), they somehow quickly boiled everything:

– Well, cool! It really works! – exhales one of the guys.
– Now what do we do with it? There are a lot of these “mirrors”! – Already guessing the answer, just in case, one of the girls asks.
– Dig, my friend! Dig! – laughingly, replies my advanced and now agreeing with Jung disputant.

Catching the familiar intonation, I understand who he is now parodying.

P.S. Well, just in case – the traditional “And what to do with all this”, right?

How to fight with things that annoying and irritating you?

  1. To begin with: trace what “annoys” you, irritates and angers you. Just go ahead and list the most characteristic irritants;
  2. Treat them as mirrors that help you to start working on yourself, showing exactly those character traits, those emotions of yours that cause unconscious anxiety and often hinder your progress;
  3. Conduct your digging carefully, so as not to hurt or miss something important. Try very accurately to find the true irritant. He sometimes cleverly disguises himself, as in the story above;
  4. And when you find it, it’s up to you to decide what to do with it. Yes, another important thing: this only applies to your own digs. You shouldn’t try to dig into others, especially not without their consent.

That’s all the rules. Well, don’t forget to thank the mirror! From the moment you sort yourself out, it will stop bothering you.


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