Being annoyed is an unpleasant feeling, but, like all feelings, it serves a useful purpose, if we dig a bit deeper and understand why it happens.
Sometimes we’re tempted to deal with our feelings of being annoyed, by discounting them, but your feelings of irritation might be trying to tell you something important, such as one of these five things;
1. Your boundary is being encroached upon. Someone is asking you a question that’s too personal. Feeling annoyed lets you know that someone is violating your boundaries and you’re not comfortable with it. You don’t have to give any information you don’t want to – so explain that, instead of giving an unclear over defensive response.
2. You feel your precious time is being wasted. Is someone using up your time. Are you being roped into something when you really don’t have the time for it? Your annoyance may be telling you that you are already fully booked and that you need to do something to protect your time, starting with saying, “I’ve got a lot on my plate already. I’ll think about it and get back to you.”
3. You need to find a more efficient way to do something. Annoyed at all the morning tasks you need to handle just to get to work on time? Through your annoyance, create most efficient ways to handle your tasks. How can you make your life easier? What task in particular really bogs you down? All important questions, that without annoyance, may never be answered, don’t suffer – change.
4. You’re feeling resentment. This comes from “yes” syndrome. If you haven’t learnt to say no at this point in your life, than you will feel resentment as you do activities you don’t actually want to do. Instead of feeling irritable, acknowledge your annoyance and learn to say no next time. People are not mind readers, so it’s on you to understand what you do and don’t want to do.
5. You are suffering from perfectionism. You may become irritated when you don’t live up to your own standards, when someone else doesn’t live up to your standards. Here are a few words on perfectionism from Meg Salig, in her article in Phycology Today on annoyance which covers, how to combat perfectionism;
- If you are annoyed at yourself for falling short of the mark, you could choose to make a creative change, re-evaluate your high standards, or just send yourself some compassion (“You have a right to be less than perfect. You are human!”).
- When someone else doesn’t live up to your standards, you could either speak up clearly about what you expect, try to see the situation from the other person’s point of view, or decide you need to let it go.
- And when the world is cruel, unjust, or just plain disorganized, you can become an activist and make at least your corner of the world a bit better.
How to deal with annoyance
A quick highly-reccomended, 4-step approach that Toni Bernhard suggests in her book, How to Wake Up
- Recognize the annoyance;
- Label it;
- Investigate it;
- Let it be or take action to change the situation.
This article was written by the help of Meg Selig, 2013 and her useful article in Phycology Today, The 5 Most Common Reasons We Get Annoyed.
Take a look at Meg Seligs book, Changepower! 37 Secrets to Habit Change Success(Routledge, 2009). For shorter tidbits on health, happiness, and habit change, follow her on Twitter or Facebook.