Irritating People: Six Lessons Worth Learning

The irritation you experience says as much if not more about you, than it does about them!
I had a little chuckle when I first read this quote by Carl Jung. Then I had one of those - immediate "ouch" moments. Followed by the "aha" experience. I searched a bit for an appropriate image. For so often, there is a Mutual Irritation going on. Here is the ouch and the aha lessons of the quote. 

Irritating people happen! They cross your path. They intersect with your life. They disrupt your day. You can't get away from them.

Irritating people come in endless variety. Mainly because what irritates any particular person really varies. That is a matter of our own personality, values, beliefs, experiences, preferences, biases, likes-dislikes and so on. Someone I may find irritating, another person may find enjoyable! Go figure...

With that said, there is the occasional person you meet who seems to have been blessed with the spiritual gift of IRRITATION. They have a marvelous an bountiful capacity to irritate many people.

Irritating people do indeed say and do irritating things.

However, if you are irritated, that irritation is saying a lot about you personally. I had a recent conversation with a friend who processed with me a particular irritating person who was in his life. I simply asked, "Why does that person irritate you so much?" To their credit, my friend had a ready and insightful response. He well understood his own BUTTONS that were being pushed by the irritating person. He took full responsibility for his own buttons as well as his own response of irritation.

Whenever you have an encounter with an irritating person, it is a great time for you/me/us to learn to (1) draw healthy boundaries, (2) practice patience and understanding, (3) seek to understand them (without trying to fix them), (4) get better at forgiveness (which very few of us do well), (5) attend to our own inner work, and (6) become a more loving and gracious person. After all, if Jesus died for us while we were ungodly enemies of God (see Romans 5), we can at least be a little more generous and patient to the irritants that are sprinkled throughout our life. See these sprinklings as the Divine Seasoner at work, flavoring your life with more of what is needed to make you an aroma pleasing to God.

After all, the only way to learn patience is to have it tested and tried. The only way to become a generous, loving, gracious, warm-hearted person is not by hanging around delightful people in a club of mutual admiration. The only way to become forgiving as God is forgiving, is to have some people that you need to forgive. You need a few irritating ones to help you in this journey.

Let me know if you need any help. I am glad to provide well planned irritation for your own learning and growth.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International

LCI - hopefully stimulating you, but here to occasionally irritate you as well.