Updated: Aug 27
How many times have we had interactions with other people that have left us annoyed or angry? Colleagues, family members, people we run into at the gym, the supermarket or in the elevator?
I can confidently say that I face at least three unpleasant encounters a week- situations which leave me amazed at how creative humans have become at irritating each other.
Imagine with me having a long, hard day at work. During that day, someone might send you an unnecessarily rude email. As you drive back home, another person might cut you off on the road. You then go to pick up your groceries, and as you wait in line to pay for your items, someone else just decides to take your turn, and goes ahead in front of you.
By the time you get home, I can assure you that you are not going to be particularly pleasant to talk to!
But did you ever think that those people are probably having a similar day too? The person who sent you that email could be worried about losing their job. They could have a family to support and the pressure of providing for their children could be getting to them, causing them to be overly defensive. The other person who cut you off on the road could be in a rush to get home due to a family emergency, and so on.
Each one of us is facing challenges that no one else can see, and so to take people’s actions at face value will lead you to judge them prematurely, and to overreact to different situations, simply because you’re not seeing the big picture.
Ultimately, we have to realize we are all humans, with our unique insecurities and challenges, trying to be the best people we can, day in and day out.
Does that mean that when I receive a rude email I don’t get angry? Of course I do! But after my initial reaction, I take a deep breath, realize that it’s not about me, and then I just let it go.
And that is the most freeing and liberating feeling you can have! Acknowledge that we are all just imperfect humans, dissociate yourself from the situation, and get on with your day.
Call it age, wisdom, or valuing your peace, but as cliché as it sounds, the moment you hit your thirties, you become acutely aware of how simple life really is, and how unnecessarily complicated we make it.