How to Deal with Behaviors that Irritate You in Others

We all know what it is like to have people in our lives who irritate us and we prefer to avoid them. Maybe we can’t understand why we feel the way we do about them, and we are upset with ourselves for always reacting as we do to them. How can we understand our responses to them and how can we understand where the feelings come from that create these reactions in us? 

Each of us have developed a set of values that determine how we think and feel about life , including right and wrong behaviors and attitudes. When we see other’s doing things or saying things that are outside our parameters of acceptable behavior we tend to react and respond, usually in a negative way.

Learning to accept that what is wrong to us, may not be wrong to others, is an important part of personal development. We may not agree with their choices, but we must allow people to be themselves, which means having values and ideas that may differ from our own perception of what is right and wrong.

The triggers for reactions to behavior we don’t like, often originate in our child hood experiences. If we have been told to eat with our mouth closed, it’s understandable that for us, that behavior is a manner that we consider important for ourselves and our families to try to achieve. When we experience people who have never been taught that behavior who have no personal rules for eating, we can become frustrated with them. Often our values and behaviors become the measure for everyone else’s behavior.

People who live together in the same house, sometimes experience relationship issues when one of the partners expects certain behaviors but the other doesn’t see them as important. Instead of reacting to the other person’s concept of the world and behaviors we need to learn how to accept and even appreciate the differences.

As we do this we give the gift of unconditional acceptance to the other person, whilst helping to reduce the frustration and anger of our own attitudes to the situation. Of course, there are unacceptable behaviors that no one should accept (domestic violence for example) but most things that irritate us about others are really the product of our own personal thoughts and not based on anything of importance except to ourselves.

We cannot always control our reactions to others behaviors that create frustration in us, but we can learn to control the way we see and respond to them.