You have to own your own irritation. We can also allow others to own theirs. I am an overly sensitive chap. Always have been. I hate getting on the wrong side of people, and I often read more deeply than I should into what people say, and what they do. One of the problems with this is that I tend to elevate my importance in someone else’s emotions. I have no idea what is going on in their day, their month, their dreams. More of the way we interact with others is built from our own cumulative emotions than we care to admit.
'Run Lola Run'
I love the movie ‘Run Lola Run’. It plays the same scene over and over again, but each time with slight variations. In it there are flash backs and flash forwards of the people the lead characters bump into. Like their few minutes plays out differently, so does everyone else’s. When someone is rude to you, it may have nothing to do with you. They may be going through something awful. They may be irritable in general.
The idea of ‘listening to what someone is feeling’ is a powerful one. Most people are driven by their mood, and this can drive ‘rational arguments’ too. There are plenty of ways to fit alternative logics to the same set of circumstances and come up with different conclusions.
A friend recently pointed out Derek Sivers’ article on advice (sivers.org/advice). He uses the metaphor of an echo chamber for how we should consider feedback. Whenever we hear someone’s views, they are coming from that person’s perspective. They will not apply directly to us. But we should listen. By listening, we will be able to slowly build a better picture of our world by the way we interact with others.
The way we interact with others defines who we are.