Have you ever been really irritated with someone?  So irritated that every time you see them, hear about them, or even think about them you get this little wave of disgust?

I sometimes find when that happens to me that I’m responding to something about that person that I, too, have the capacity to be.  I am especially triggered when it is a behavior I judge myself harshly for.

Unfortunately, it usually takes me a little bit of time to figure this out, because I first rationalize my judgments.  My mind is SO good at that.

  • He’s so emotional.
  • She’s so opinionated.
  • He’s so controlling.
  • She’s so selfish.

These are the ways I justify how annoyed that person makes me feel.  But you can go ahead and just add a little “but not me” to the end of each of those sentences, because essentially that is what I’m doing in those moments.  I’m trying to separate myself from the behavior I find repulsive.

Here’s the problem.  By constantly fortifying that wall that separates me from another person, I also deny myself acceptance.  At the same time that I judge someone else, I am simultaneously judging myself for the same thing.

The truth is that we all have light and dark within us.  The key is in acceptance.

So often we try to strengthen our light side and eradicate our dark side.  We try to extinguish our shadow so that we CAN accept ourselves.   It’s so backwards.  Acceptance is the FIRST step.  Adjustments are the second.

Sometimes, it helps me to think of a time when I acted or behaved in a similar way to the person I am annoyed by.  Doing that not only offers me yet another opportunity to accept myself, but also begins to break down that barrier I’m building.  And that barrier is really a barrier between me and all of humanity.  Every time I choose my ego, I keep myself from being connected to others.

The next time you find yourself irritated by someone, try these steps.

STEP 1:  Remember a time when YOU were “mean”, “rude”, “an idiot”, etc…

STEP 2:  Think about what was going on with you behind the scenes.  What were the thoughts and feelings that caused you to act in that way?  This step helps us build compassion for the other person AND ourselves.

  • Maybe YOU acted in a selfish way, because you were afraid that you wouldn’t be a success unless you fought your way to the top.
  • Maybe YOU acted in a controlling way, because you didn’t trust others to watch out for you.

STEP 3: This one is important.  Say the following aloud to yourself.

“I love and accept you exactly as you are.”

If you get hung up on Step 3 and just canNOT get those words out of your mouth, it is time to bring in a coach.  Imagine yourself as a child who so badly needed to hear that.  You deserve to hear that.  It is time to get some help on your journey of self-love and acceptance.