Can’t live with ‘em; can’t kill ’em.
“Hell is other people.” –Jean Paul Sartre
No matter how much you like, love, adore or enjoy the company of someone, if you live with them long enough, you will eventually find yourself annoyed by something they do. This is just one of those crazy things about being human. I’m sure it’s been this way since we were doing the hunter/gatherer thing. I can just picture one tribesman saying to another, “Would you stop chewing with your mouth open!”
I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and we got on the topic of what people we’ve lived with would do that would drive us up the wall. Needless to say, we talked for quite a while. And most of the stuff was utterly inane.
I’m sure relationships have been put in jeopardy many times over for someone forgetting to pick up their clothes or put the toilet seat down. It’s funny until it happens to you.
Why do I get so upset if someone doesn’t put things back in the cabinets where I put them? It’s not like we sat down and discussed it. Or if the toilet paper roll is going over or under (over, by the way, is correct). And don’t get me started on wiping off the counter tops if you spill something. Jeesh!
These are jokingly called First World Problems, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still have the same physical reaction as I would have to some gross injustice or cruelty. I really don’t want to waste any more emotional energy and build up stress in my body over this stuff anymore.
When I take the time to question and examine things, I’ve found that my upsets usually come down to a few mistaken notions that we all have about life.
One of those goes something like, “It shouldn’t be this way!” Says who? We were not born with a set of rules and guidelines (even though many religions would argue). There is no right way to squeeze the toothpaste tube since the only goal is to get it out and onto your toothbrush.
If I don’t like the way someone is doing something and I would like it to be different, I can always ask but it really is ridiculous to assume that people should do things a certain way because I do (it must be common sense to do it that way, right).
Another trigger for upset comes from the feeling that some kind of personal affront or insult has been done to us. We take way too much shit personally in an impersonal world. That guy didn’t cut YOU off. He’s just driving badly where you happen to be.
And if for some reason when we have expressed what we’d like and other people don’t comply, we often think they’re being an asshole. This is especially true of people we know and love. They want me to be happy, so why aren’t they doing what I asked? Grrrrr!
These all become heightened when we are in close proximity to others. But these are also great opportunities in disguise for us to learn something about ourselves while expanding our capacity for kindness and generosity.
The holidays are coming and something about this time of year makes people’s fuses extra short (like we’ve used them up for the year or something). Be the change you wish to see in the world and cut people the kind of slack that you yourself think you deserve. That’s truly the greatest gift you can give. And the peace you get in return is the best gift you can receive.
Goodwill to All leads to Peace on Earth… and Peace within.