The Anatomy of Annoying, Episode 109

So much of our annoyance and irritation comes from our certainty that what’s happening is happening ‘to me’. As is if we walk around the world super-sensitive to the way everything is aimed in our direction. But when we look more closely at the anatomy of our annoyance, sometimes we start to see that what’s annoying us is often not ‘what’s happening’ but our own relationship to it, and that there’s a way we judge ourselves and others that adds to our difficulties. How might we learn to relax this, to treat what irritates us as if it were the weather rather than something personal, and in so doing take our defensive reactivity down a step? A conversation about blame, kindness, and finding a way to be contactful with our experience, with Lizzie Winn and Justin Wise of Thirdspace.

This is Turning Towards Life, a weekly live 30 minute conversation hosted by Thirdspace in which Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn dive deep into big questions of human living. Find us on FaceBook to watch live and join in the lively conversation on this episode. We’re also on YouTube, and as a podcast on Apple, Google and Spotify.

The source that starts our conversation off this week is ‘The Anatomy of Annoying‘ by Seth Godin.

The Anatomy of Annoying

Pema Chodron’s story has stuck with me for a decade: At a meditation retreat, the guy sitting near her kept making an annoying clicking sound. Again and again, she was jolted from her practice because he kept clicking his tongue.

During the break, as she gathered up her courage to tell him that he was ruining the day for her and for everyone else, she realized that in fact, it was a nearby radiator that was causing the clicking.

Suddenly, the fact that it was an inanimate object changed everything for her.

It wasn’t about her any longer.

It wasn’t intentional or selfish.

It was simply a radiator.

The rest of the day was fine, because it was simply a radiator.

My biggest takeaway is that the key leap wasn’t in discovering that the sounds came from a radiator. The lesson is that acting like it comes from a radiator completely solves the problem.

Sometimes (often, usually), it’s not about us. It’s simply weather.

Seth Godin,

Photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash