I have a confession to make to all of you – I have a couple of pet peeves. Yes, there are a few things that I find particularly annoying. I came to this conclusion today when I felt myself getting quite upset over something that happened.
I believe that I’ve demonstrated on a pretty consistent basis that I’m a fairly calm and even-keeled person. I take what life throws at me in a pretty cool manner and I bounce back fairly quick.
With that said, I did some hard thinking when I was working out today, wondering why I reacted so strongly to a recent event. I decided to figure out WHY it bothered me so much. Why do I react so strongly to certain things when I let the majority of stuff that happens throughout the day just slide off my back? Well, here’s what I found.
I have a hard time dealing with people that are late. When I did some deep thinking on this subject, I began to have a vision. I’m about 7 years old and I’m standing at the bottom of my stairs with my brother. We’re yelling upstairs for my sister to hurry up because we’re late for Sunday School. This same scene played out every week in our house. My sister was never able to come down on time. In fact, my sister was never able to get to any event without running late. I remember years later, at an event to honor my son, I didn’t even expect my sister to get there on time— which she did not.
Now, I’m still not sure why she was always late. However, I do know that I acquired a strong distaste for people that aren’t on time. Apparently, it triggers some negative feelings that developed many years ago. This piece of information is important to know. Recognizing why I’m reacting so strongly to an event helps me deal with the situation.
I have a hard time dealing with people that commit and then don’t deliver. Those of you that know me really well are probably laughing and nodding your head. You’ve seen me get upset about this very thing. After some deep thought, I realized this one is also rooted in my upbringing. My mother and father always taught me that your word means something. If you’ve said you’ll do something, you do it. I’ve lived my life this way, and it always surprises me when others don’t feel the same. This one is a strong trigger for me— especially if the individual doesn’t take any accountability for not following through.
Right about now, you’re probably thinking about your own “pet peeves” that drive you crazy. There’s a reason WHY you react so strongly to them and it might be helpful for you to understand just what it is. What’s the story underneath that pet peeve? What past experiences have shaped your perceptions? It might help you to better comprehend why you react so strongly to a boss, peer at work, family member or a friend.
The next time your pet peeve strikes, you can step back and remind yourself WHY you are reacting so strongly to the situation. Then, you can give thought as to whether this situation is truly worthy of the emotional energy you’re expending.
Chances are, it’s not.