Irritation is an inevitable companion of family life


Today I want to talk about annoyance – because this word annoys me. In my family, and, according to my observations, in other families too, “irritation” has become such a generalizing word that denotes all the negative emotions we experience. We do not say that loved ones are rude, selfish, incorrect or cruel – we say that they annoy us.

I would like to understand: is this just a language feature or is there a deeper meaning? But fact is fact: one of the main features of modern family life is that we annoy and annoy us.

Buddha said, “Life is dakkha,” that is, suffering. Perhaps now we would say that life is irritation. Why is life so annoying? Because we cannot get what we want. It’s not that we’re not looking hard enough or putting in little effort. Disappointment is rooted in the duality of our desires.

We would like to meet a wealthy partner who would not be obsessed with the material. Attractive, but not preoccupied with his appearance. Smart – but so that next to him we do not feel stupid. Romantic and creative – but so that he knows how to hang shelves and is collected and organized. We would like our child to think independently, but not contradict us. So that our parents know how to set clear boundaries, but not command us.

Obviously, our desires are contradictory and therefore lead to suffering – or, if you will, to irritation. Irritation arises when we try to connect the unconnected, when we rush in pursuit of the shadow.

The best solution is to lower the bar of requirements, and dramatically. Perfectionists are the most irritable people

How to get out of this trap? You can start meditating for 20 minutes a day, but I’m not sure if the effect will last longer … well, let’s say 20 minutes. That is, until the moment when someone does not enter the room asking where his panties have gone.

The best solution is to lower the bar of requirements, and dramatically. The most irritable people are the perfectionists. They do not allow themselves or others to live. This is why perfectionism is dangerous. As the Bible says, do not judge, lest you be judged.

To find peace in your soul, you need to learn not to attach importance to irrelevant things. It’s about internal, not external change. And that doesn’t mean I don’t give a damn. In such a position there is always suppressed hostility – like “Come on, break the TV, I don’t care!” No, we’re talking about sincere acceptance. Which is ultimately more effective.

Imagine this dialogue: “I want to get a haircut / dye my hair green / get my nose pierced.” – “Okay, I don’t mind.”

This benevolent neutrality will mean that the very reason for the rebellious behavior of the child – namely, your desire to control him – disappears. And then, quite possibly, he will not want to get a haircut, dye or get pierced, since the purpose of all this – to irritate you – will not be achieved.

While agreeing with the Buddha, I am still not sure if mantras, meditation, or the Noble Eightfold Path are the best options for us. Rather, we should be guided by the Zen philosophy: “While living, be dead, be completely dead, and do whatever you want, everything will be fine.”

It may not be easy to accept, but it is a worthwhile position. There is nothing important, given that life is not eternal and we all have one ending. Ultimately, nothing matters. Just love and hope for the best. Of course, if you refuse to be annoyed, it will annoy someone else. Well, this also has its own charm.

About the expert: Tim Lott is an English writer and journalist, father of four daughters.

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