When was the last time something ticked you off? How easy was it for you to think up something to complain about?
If just thinking about it agitates you, how bad really was the thing? Bad enough to still be bothering you? Or is your agitation a reaction to the fact that you were agitated in the first place?
We all experience this experience mental chafing. It pops up any time our expectations aren’t met, and often continues to affect us well into the future.
Being anxious about the possibility of becoming anxious is an unfortunate cycle to get caught up in.
Consistently becoming annoyed about the fact that something annoyed you is just as dangerous.
“How much more harmful are the consequences of anger…than the circumstances that aroused them in us.”Marcus Aurelius
When we think back on the times where felt annoyed, what we really mean is that our expectations of a situation were met resistance. But when we reflect on these times, we have another option; instead of thinking back with regret and frustration, we can look back with gratitude.
Resistance is feedback. From feedback, we can learn. Greet all opportunities to learn with grace, and our problems become gifts; puzzles which we can relish the opportunity to piece together.
Your boss dumping too much work on your plate towards the end of the week is only becoming frustrating because you’re been avoiding a conversation with them about it.
Stubbing your toe on the corner of your table only happened because you were in a rush.
The first step is to diagnose the problem, and the only other step is to act. If you can’t (or won’t) act, it’s time to change your expectations – because the problem doesn’t care how you feel about it.
Neither of these things are about fault, they just are.
Have that conversation with your boss, take more care walking around the table, and all annoyance is torn out from the root.
Or, if these aren’t actions you’re willing or able to take, then you simply have to accept that being overworked and occasionally having sore toes are parts of what it means to lead your life. If you’re not willing to have the conversation or build the habit, these are the natural consequences. Once you’ve accepted them, how could you possible expect them not to happen again?
If you’re annoyed, it’s usually because there’s something you’re avoiding, or something you can change.
Sometimes resistance is a cost for the things we do. If you’re consistently annoyed by the price, stop doing the things.
Going through the process forces us to realise that indignation is a choice.
We have a lot more control over our lives than it ever feels like we do, so we ought to take it.