Change your perspective and the way you think about and deal with irritations and you can transform your behavior from reacting in anger and frustration to responding mindfully with love. Choose your response to irritations with care.
“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons we could not learn in any other way. The way we learn those lessons is not to deny the feelings but to find the meanings underlying them.” ~ Stanley Lindquist
Have you ever admired an exquisite pearl necklace, each lustrous pearl perfect in shape and shimmering iridescence? Do you know how pearls are made? Natural pearls are created when an irritant, a grain of sand or bit of stone, gets inside the shell of a mollusk. The mollusk reacts to the irritant by coating it with a substance to reduce the irritation.
Over time, as layer upon layer is added, a pearl is formed. The source of a natural pearl is irritation. The mollusk responds to the irritation by creating something of beauty and value.
The mollusk handles irritations by instinct and something beautiful is created. Unlike a mollusk, you and I can choose our response to irritations. We can flounder in self-pity, frustration, and anger or we can learn and grow.
Choose Your Response
How do you respond to irritations? Do you fret and fume? Stomp and swear? Do you become angry and impatient? Do you force yourself to grin and bear it? Or do you give thanks to the Divine for the lesson you are receiving? Do you search inside yourself and love the irritant? The way you respond can mean the difference between a bad attitude and ill health or creating beauty and value in your life.
Here are some things you can do to respond to irritations with grace, rather than reacting in impatience and anger or in self-pity.
When you notice yourself becoming irritated, stop. Breathe. Take a deep breath, letting your belly and chest rise and fall. Take another. And another. Simply breathe and notice your breath. Feel the air going in and out of your nostrils. Feel your belly and chest rise and fall. This is a mini-meditation. It helps you become more mindful and allows you to choose your response to the irritant.
Learn The Lesson
Each of us has Teachers that come into our lives at various times. Each of these Teachers brings an important lesson. Because they come in disguise, we sometimes don’t recognize them as the Teachers they are and we struggle with them.
Instead of learning from these master Teachers, we label them “bad” and try to eradicate them or else we ignore them. And we miss the lessons they bring.
But they don’t give up. They keep popping up – often at awkward times – to give us another opportunity to get it. Until you learn the lesson, that Teacher comes back again and again, giving you chance after chance.
Until you learn the lesson, you can’t move on to the next lesson.
In most cases, the source of emotions such as frustration and anger is fear. And the antidote to fear is love. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” ~ 1 John 4:18a
It is not always easy to love your neighbor, let alone your enemy. Start by learning to love yourself. Love is unusual in that the more you give away, the more you have to give. Remember, love isn’t just something you have, it’s something you do.
Change Your Perspective
If you do these things, will you no longer have irritations? Of course not. There will always be circumstances, situations, and people that you may find annoying. But by changing your perspective and the way you think about and deal with irritations, you can transform your behavior from reacting in anger and frustration to responding mindfully, with love.
That is, indeed, a pearl of great price.
Excelerated Positivity™ — building the skills in positivity that help you flourish — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being and a life of meaning, purpose and service.