If it Bothers You, Learn from It

It’s happened to all of us – we come across people, or specific traits in those people, that we simply cannot seem to tolerate. This can upset us, make us angry or frustrated, it can make us lash out, or, conversely, cause us to withdraw into ourselves. As the founder of Soul Manifesto, this – reaction that we have to others – is just the sort of issue that I work to resolve for my clients and followers. In a new episode of my podcast series, I speak about dealing with these feelings. I think you will find it illuminating when I explain why we have these reactions to people, and what we can do about it.

What bothers you?

Let me give you an example of the sort of person or personality trait that bothers you: maybe you could cast your mind back to the class bully from that time back in school. Perhaps you now have a colleague who has a similarly hectoring attitude – the guy who tries to bulldoze everyone around. Or maybe it is that smug uncle or annoying cousin that you have to meet every time there is a family get-together? Maybe that cousin is constantly rubbing her so-called success in everyone’s face. Or maybe that uncle is an absolute know-it-all and has some opinion for every situation and some advice for everyone who never asked for it.

These are people who make situations uncomfortable for you. They spoil an otherwise fruitful or fulfilling day at work or the joy of meeting other loved ones in the family. How do you deal with these people? And how do you make sure they don’t have that kind of power over you and your emotions, mood or feelings? The answer is simpler than you might think.

Is it you or is it them?

When you have a strong negative reaction to someone, their attitude, behavior, or the words they use, why do you think this happens? I find that a number of self-help books and so-called spiritual guides urge us to look within, to locate the source of that irritation within ourselves. There is this understanding that if something bothers us, this is because it finds an echo within ourselves. Would it surprise you if I told you, maybe you don’t need to look within at all? Would you believe that sometimes the very opposite may be true?

Your negative reaction to a person or a personality trait could well be due to the fact that they are your exact opposite. So, contrary to what some self-help gurus would have you believe, you are bothered not because something annoying finds an echo in you, but precisely because it doesn’t; because you simply don’t have that personality trait within you.

So what is the solution to this situation then? How do you control how much that person bothers you? Watch this episode where I explain the ways to cope with such people and situations. There’s a lesson in there when I share how I stopped allowing people to bother me – maybe you can do the same for yourself.

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