It seems each of us has certain things that bug us—certain issues, habits or behaviors that push our buttons.
For some it’s punctuality; some hate to be kept waiting. On the other side of the coin some hate to be rigidly controlled by the clock, and have a more casual relationship with time.
For some it’s waste; we’re bothered by wasted food or disregard for personal belongings. What bugs us can be anything from the length of someone’s hair to the choice of their clothing.
I’m sure, if you were to think for a moment—it would occur to you what in particular bothers you about a neighbour, or a co-worker or a family member. You may, in fact, find that the list is quite long.
Why is it we sacrifice our own good feeling and equilibrium over such pesky ideas? Partly it’s because we have learned, along the way, to believe that people should behave in a certain way.
We have been taught that certain things are “right”—we have developed the belief that our perception of appropriate behaviour is the “right” one—our way is the “right” way.
What is so interesting about this fixed idea is, since there are so many of us who differ in our ideas about appropriateness—it seems logical that my “right” and your “right” might simply be opinions.
These beliefs could be the product of cultural differences, socio-economic differences, gender differences, generational differences; or any one of the many factors that contribute to our view of the world.
It doesn’t matter where these ideas originated. It matters only that they can interfere with our sense of well-being—if we become gripped by them.
How then do we exercise pest control and de-bug our thinking? First we must recognize when we are bothered—recognizing unpleasant feelings of irritation and judgment is key to uncovering our dearly held beliefs.
When we feel upset about someone else’s actions or habits, we know we’re taking our thoughts personally and seriously.
We cannot control the thoughts we have; they simply pop up—thousands a day every day.
What we can control, however, is how we respond to those thoughts. If we continue to take our thinking seriously we will continue to experience judgment and upset.
We will experience life, as many do, being bugged much of the time. If we choose to take our thinking more lightly, we can begin to live in a good feeling. We can see more clearly that life is an inside job.
At first it may seem that letting go of our bother will leave us without an opinion or without values. However, this could not be further from the truth.
Instead of expecting that others should be different, and should change their offending behaviour, we become more accepting of differences.
We become more accepting of what is, and as a result, live in a feeling of well-being so much more of the time.
As our good feeling grows and our lives become free of bother, we can experience the deeper feelings of compassion and understanding—no bug can survive in that environment.