Are you annoying/annoyed?

Is everyone out to be annoying?

Why can’t people be more like me, care about what I care about, and clean-up behind themselves?

Didn’t their mothers teach them anything?

Ah, the rant that used to happen in my mind when I’d walk into the computer room and find, yet again, my husband had left crumbs on the computer keyboard.

I became hyper-alert of this annoyance, and began to intentionally look for crumbs. Every morning, I’d sigh and feel irritated. Good morning, stress!

With my focus, the number of crumbs seemed to grow each day. I wondered if any toast made it into his mouth. Griping and complaining, my body grew tense, my tone irritated as I asked, yet again, for those crumbs to be cleaned up.

What a great way to start a day in a household,

Sadly, crumbs on the keyboard caused me to search for other petty annoyances, and the list grew. Was he trying to be annoying? Had he changed?

We’d been harmoniously married for nearly 25 years, and it looked like marital bliss might crumble, all because of crumbs.

Sounds silly, doesn’t it?

The cold slap of reality hit me when I paused to consider what those crumbs represented.

Those silly crumbs represent the presence of the person I adore. His wisdom, patience, and support have been the bedrock of my life for many years.

He is my best friend.

The absence of those crumbs would be devastating to me if it meant he wasn’t here to make them.

What was required was a change of perspective.

When we change how we look at things, the things we look at change.

How often have relationships ended due to petty grievances, like crumbs on the keyboard, an unskilled comment, or misunderstanding?

How often do we start to gather evidence of another’s faults and failings because of one incident, mistake, misunderstanding, or some very human habit?

In my youth, I let friendships die, and jobs end because of irritations, small stuff, or hurt feelings.  I created mountains out of molehills, and lost the opportunity to grow.

I started to notice the people I left behind were only replaced by others who would eventually do the same thing; same people in different skin.

I know I’m not alone in this.

Fortunately, I woke up and realized the common denominator was me.

The healing I needed would never come by leaving, yet again. I knew I had my own work to do. That work began as I looked in the mirror, and considered a different perspective.

I asked myself different questions.

Instead of asking why people were so annoying, I started to gently ask myself why I was so hurt or irritated. With gentleness, honouring my own needs and boundaries, I became curious about what laid beneath my irritation and anger.

Often, it was a wound from the past I hadn’t healed.

The crumbs represented lack of respect to me. They represented breakfast to my husband.

Life has become happier as I’ve learned to pause and consider life’s annoyances from a different perspective.

I’ve learned, when my stress accumulates, my perception often becomes skewed. I don’t see or hear properly. I take everything personally, and it feels like the world is out to get me.

My interpersonal skills are reduced to those of a petulant teen, and there’s no hope of getting my needs met, because I can’t articulate them.

The world is not out to hurt or annoy me, I’m not that special.  I’ve learned to stop blaming the world and its inhabitants.

When patterns repeat, I recognize wherever I go, there I am; and I smile.

I’ve become curious about those frayed nerves or tender spots, and hold them, not with criticism, but with compassion. As I stop blaming the world, and myself, I can heal what needs to be healed.

I’m now aware, early on, when my mind starts to chatter with negativity and criticism, it’s a signal to pause, breathe, relax, to consider a different perspective, and ask myself, “What’s really going on?”

I become aware of what the issue really is. In doing this, I can more clearly articulate what I need instead of ranting like a lunatic or creating collateral damage.

Sometimes leaving is the right thing to do, but when I do leave, I want to do it for the right reasons.

Crumbs on the keyboard is the phrase I use when my knickers are in a knot. I smile, as I remember to step back, and to consider a different perspective, and ask what’s really going on here.


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About the Author

Corinne is first a wife, mother, and grandmother, whose eclectic background has created a rich alchemy that serves to inform her perspectives on life.

Corinne, a registered nurse with a master’s degree in Health Science, is a staff minister with the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna, and a hospice volunteer. She is an adjunct professor with the school of nursing  at UBC Okanagan, and is currently teaching smartUBC, a unique Mindfulness program offered at UBC, to the public. She is an invited speaker and presenter.

From diverse experience and knowledge, personally and professionally, Corinne has developed an extraordinary passion for helping people to gain a new perspective, awaken, and to recognize that we do not have to be a slave to our thoughts or to life; we are always at a point of change.

Through this column, Corinne blends her insights and research to provide food for the mind and the heart, to encourage an awakening of the power and potential within everyone.

Corinne lives in Kelowna with her husband of 41 years, and can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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