They say holding anger is like drinking poison and expecting another person to die from it, and if you remember the last time you were truly angry, you might remember it didn’t feel very nice.
I’m not a particularly angry person – some might call me a pushover – but there’s a handful of peeps that have aggravated me so much over the years that I still cordially detest them long after having much contact with them.
Or at least I did, until I recently decided to shed that baggage (quest for enlightenment and all that), and attempted to let it go.
Let’s be honest, it took a while. ‘Forgive and forget’ didn’t work (I ruined entire meditations trying to extend loving-kindess to their direction, only to find myself fuming on my cushion).
‘Just forget’ was not an option either, as they never seemed to completely go away.
Eventually I had a heart-to-heart with myself, to try and understand where the problem was.
Supposedly the people you find most annoying are the ones who can teach you most about yourself – by highlighting your own shortcomings (which you’d rather ignore), or trespassing your boundaries (which you didn’t know you had), or by flaunting their success in your jealous face (thus teaching you what you truly want from life).
So what to make of my old boss, the one who took me for granted and always gave me the projects no one else wanted? I don’t take people for granted, so she can’t be highlighting that fault… unless, hang on… have I not been taking MYSELF for granted by accepting those sh*t projects? I could (should) have walked out, but instead I chose to suck it up and harbour quiet rage.
What about that old friend who patronises and talks down at everyone in an infuriating manner? Aren’t they just doing it it because they’re so insecure, they make themselves feel superior by making other people feel bad? Are they not pushing my buttons precisely because I’ve got insecurities of my own?
Or that school friend I’ve been calling stupid since she married in her early 20s and now has 3 gorgeous kids and a lovely husband and doesn’t need to work for a living. I MIGHT have been a bit jealous…
Having shed new light on these old grudges, I feel rather deflated. Where I used to feel a slow burning fire of self-righteous anger, there seems to be a tiny warm fuzzy of compassion.
I can see all these people’s points and how they never did anything wrong. Yes, they were bloody annoying, but only a bit more so than your average human.
So, to the annoying people in my life, I want to say:
THANK YOU. You’ve taught me a great deal.
And also, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry I didn’t value you as a person. I’m sorry if I was rude and made you feel shit right back. You were nice enough people, really.
Finally, if I happen to meet you soon, please be reassured I shan’t try to punch you in the nose. I’ve moved on…