Let’s be honest: people can be irritating. Inconsiderate, slow-walking people block pavements; strangers make rude remarks about you on the internet; your partner never cleans up after themselves, and your mother is always criticising you whenever you ring her. People are irritatingly imperfect.
We’re all prone to feeling irritated from time to time by other people and circumstances, but people who become more frequently and passionately annoyed than others have an underlying problem.
Very few people are good at managing stress, anxiety and insecurities. The most common outcomes of mismanagement are health-related such as weight loss or gain, headaches, hair loss, insomnia, and a lowered immune system. However, most people overlook the extent of a person’s emotional outcomes from stress mismanagement.
Mismanagement of negative emotions related to feelings of insecurity often manifests as irritation because projection is more comfortable to handle. It’s less painful and emotionally exhausting to criticise others than yourself, which is why it’s cathartic for many to pick apart the flaws of others, from their partners to friends, relatives and celebrities.
Change How You See Imperfection
While everyone is capable of change, some things aren’t going to change. There will always be thoughtless people blocking walkways, unthoughtful partners, unkind people on the internet and rude people in the street. You can’t change the world or the people in it; the only thing you can change is how you perceive your flaws.
People who accept they are imperfect and who embrace their flaws, limitations, mistakes and areas of ignorance are much less likely to become irritated by others. Because, by learning how to understand and accept their shortcomings, they learn how to extend that empathy to others.
We live in a flawed society. There will never be a perfect balance of people, nor will there ever be a society which abides by your standards at all times. There will be people who think differently from you, disagree with you, aren’t as thoughtful, respectful or polite as you, but you have to accept that will always be the way.
There’s no benefit to becoming grumpy, irritated and wound-up by people you don’t know or by people you love over trivial imperfections and disagreements. Such emotional baggage doesn’t change the world for the better, and it doesn’t improve your life in any way.
Being Offended isn’t a Bullet – it’s a Choice
You aren’t perfect. There will be times when you are reckless with your words, act arrogantly or unkindly to a stranger or are thoughtless towards someone you love. These moments don’t define you as a person, and you shouldn’t allow those moments to identify others (unless they refuse to learn from them and change their ways). Even then, they’re not worth extending your energy over.
An offence isn’t a bullet you need to take when fired: you choose whether or not you feel offended by something or someone. As you learn to mature and accept your flaws and imperfections, the blows of offensive and irritating words and behaviours become less potent.
As you mature, you begin to realise that the world doesn’t need to be kind to you for you to feel content within yourself and your mindset. It’s time to stop projecting your frustration with yourself onto others and learn to accept who you are, flaws and all.