How Annoying People Are Helping Me

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picture of a guy
I’m writing . . . well I’m trying. It feels like a fragile thing because once I get into the zone I worry that a little distraction will yank me out of it.

The door knocks.

Ahh. There it is.

My sister has been needing constant help with her college classes. Some psychology and sociology stuff that requires writing and reflection. She comes to me because she thinks I ENJOY writing.

Needless to say I got a little annoyed.

I already finished college. I shouldn’t have to revisit all those discussion questions and essay prompts. It’s not my responsibility. College was dumb anyway. All those kids just wanting to party and don’t give a crap about what was going on in class. I can’t count how many times I heard the phrase “I’m just trying to get through this and get my degree.” Well then. If you’re not enjoying this then JUST LEAVE.

Dammit! Right when I think I’m a calm and clear-headed person, the universe throws a little test at me.

Life Gives Us Tests, Not Annoyances

That’s what I’m beginning to believe all of life’s little “annoyances” are. Tests. They show up in the form of a traffic jam, spilled coffee, burnt tongue, annoying co-worker, family member, friend, sports fanatic, slimy politician.

Normally we react right away when something happens.

My co-worker is so damn annoying. He’s always asking for help.
That Donald Trump is going to ruin the whole country.
Those football fanatics are almost as big as the football players.

Although saying those things might feel REALLY REALLY GOOD (like really really good), it shows no empathy. And in the long run it only causes one stress.

Rather I try to look at situations like this:

My co-worker must really need a lot of help, he seems to always be lost.
Donald Trump probably really believes he is going to help the country. It’s funny how good intentions can cause negative things to happen. Is it a possibility that I’m guilty of this?
Those football fans really love their sport . . . I guess I could just stop thinking about them right there.

Two Ways of Looking

There are two ways I can choose to see an annoying event. I can see it as a purely unproductive/negative event that is there only to be a detriment to my life.
Or I can see an annoying person/event as an opportunity to practice patience, empathy, or compassion. I always like to think of it as the universe testing me. We all like to think of ourselves as patient and compassionate people. Well there’s only one way to find out: test our patience and compassion.

If I Fail The Test

What if I fail? What if I go on having an argument with someone in my head for 10 minutes without let up? Well, now it becomes an opportunity to practice compassion towards myself. Will I begin to criticize myself? Pointing fingers at everything that wrong with me? Or will I understand I are only human? Will I realize that no matter how patient I am, there will always be moments where it slips away from me. This is a natural part of life.

So I’m not saying we should all become like some monk who never gets angry. I’m saying we could pass the tests just 10% more of the time. That will make a world of difference in our lives.

Here’s a wonderful activity.

Make your own list of “tests”. They can be a wet sock, empty fridge, or overbearing parent. This list will help you stay aware when something that usually pisses you of shows up. You’ll better be able to identify it and say “Okay, my patience is being tested. Let’s show em’ what I got.”

Do me a favor and post your list below. I’d love to see what shows up in other peoples’ lives.

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