In the past (and long before I read book called The Way of Zen by Alan Watts) I really thought that some people were simply irritating – and it was their fault. I was sort of doing the same as in the blaming the dogs post entry.
After reading many books about philosophy, psychology and religions I’ve come to sort of “see” that it’s not “their” fault if *I’m* getting upset. Naturally there are people who act and even try to irritate you, but in the end: it’s your decision how you react. I’m not saying there’s a switch you can click to control your emotions 100% all the time, but I am saying that you can practice and train yourself to get less upset in different situations.
In those annoying situations (especially if you are without enough pizza and coke…) it’s easy to get frustrated, but here’s some methods to with these situations:
- Ask the “How does this look like after 5 years?”: Is the situation really so big that it’s something to care about even after 5 years from today? If your car doesn’t start on one morning – so what? After five years you don’t even remember the whole situation, why make a big issue about it now?
- Remember how many people in the world would gladly change your problems to their problems. Almost sixth of the world’s population don’t see food every day, and if you get irritated because pizza was cold – how crazy is that?
- Consider the reasons behind other people’s behavior: If they are irritating, they simply might have had a terribly bad day at work – that might happen to any of us, so we really got to try to remember what we would like to hear after a bad day.
- Can you stay calm for 15 minutes if somebody mocks you: Ask yourself if you can try to stay calm and not to say anything insulting for 15 minutes. That’s all what I’m asking. Try to wait for 15 minutes before making counter attacks to the other. Surely you can control your feelings for 15 minutes, so there’s no reason not to do this. You can make intelligent answer to the other, without need to get angry. If you still feel irritated after 15 minutes has passed, then repeat this method.
- Don’t send that email angry: Remembering this might save you from lots of problems. Don’t send emails when you are angry. Don’t reply to threads if you are angry. Don’t write your blog angry (grumpy is okay, but not when angry ;). Wait until you’ve calmed down, and then re-read what you were about to say. It doesn’t hurt to wait 30 minutes or so.
- Just shut up: Remember that you can always keep your mouth shut. If you cannot control your emotions, control your mouth. Combine with the 15-minute rule.
I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t care about anything, I’m just pointing out that there’s no need to get upset about everything.