Am I Really that Annoying?

Ever felt irritated by someone, and not really sure why? 

That happened to me just last week. Speaking with a man at an event, I found myself just feeling annoyed.  While recognizing his positive attributes, another part of me just felt irritated and questioned what he said. 

And then it bothered me that I felt so annoyed by him. I like to view myself as seeing the heart of people and living by my own motto of clarity, compassion, and curiosity.  

Sometimes, this calls for getting curious with myself. What value or need of mine might be at issue here? I describe him as rather disengaged and closed off, which does not meet my value of connection.  

Once I have the words, I ask myself where I am showing up that way. This means wondering where am I acting disengaged and closed off in life.  

Getting real with myself, I find answers. I begin to see where I might show up more openly and engaged. In fact, I notice I am not as engaging and open with him.  I found myself acting the very way toward him that I did not like him acting.

Realizing the opportunity to open up leads me to do that. Yet, I also notice that not being open and engaging also serves a purpose. It protects my sense of safety and security.  

This reminds me of a conversation a few weeks ago in a coffee shop. A lady told me she would not have a conversation with a man and described him as verbally attacking her. Ironically, I have heard others describe this woman’s words as attacking. Both people act this way to meet a need, and often do so without any awareness.  

Often as people we mirror what we notice. During a workplace mediation someone may say he will not respect anyone who is disrespectful.  If the person seeking respect refuses to offer respect, it could become an unending circle. As a mediator seeks to understand each participant, the participants usually begin to understand each other.

Likewise, when a person complains about someone not listening, I often notice them not fully listening, or talking more than listening and not conveying that they heard.  Mediation offers the opportunity to really begin to notice one’s own thinking. Once someone realizes the pattern, one or both people see the importance of showing up differently. 

I notice about others what I am called to fix in myself. This often means similar people showing up in my life until I learn the lesson. 

People around us constantly teach us more and more about ourselves, if we stop, look, and listen. Where in your life are you showing up in ways that bother you? 

This is not about judging, shaming, or blaming anyone. It offers an opportunity to notice what we notice and raise our own level of awareness.   

Remember, our behavior serves us in some way, which is why we tend to behave how we do. Once I noticed my underlying need to feel safe and secure, I realized I could still be open and engaged while maintaining my sense of security. 

Where do you see yourself in others? What underlying need do you think this behavior meets?   

Sherry Bruckner

Sherry Bruckner

A civil and family mediator, transformational coach, speaker, and trainer, Sherry Ann Bruckner lives in Alexandria, Minnesota. Visit brucknermediation.com/services to learn more or call Sherry at (320) 808-3212 for help transforming conflict and creating peace in your home, organization, or community.
Sherry Ann Bruckner

As always, be gentle with you. Be gentle with all. Be the peace.