It's all about the power of love...



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Dear Dr. Debra,

I know God wants us to get along and love each other. Then why did he make people who annoy us and make us mad?  It’s hard to love people who annoy us. This is a question I should know the answer to, but I don’t.

A Puzzled Teenager

Dear Puzzled Teenager,

I don't know the answer, either, but I can give you some speculations. First of all, I'll tell you that it's easy to love people who are good to us. But I don't think we are meant to live effortless lives here on Earth. I've heard our planet described as "Earth School" where we come to learn, grow, and be of service to others. Often, to stretch to become better individuals, we need to be challenged. And you'll have to agree annoying people are definitely a challenge!

Something to think about... Many times we become annoyed with someone because there's something about them that we don't like in ourselves. Or perhaps we have done something that causes the other person to act out and do things to bother us. I always tell people to search within themselves for their own contribution to an annoying situation.

People who are difficult are often hurting and unhappy. They’re in need of our love and prayers. In fact, praying for them helps change your attitude toward them.

When I become annoyed with someone, I try to tell myself that I don’t know what he or she is going through, so I need to be patient. Even more, I smile and use an understanding tone when I talk to them. If this is a service person, then I make sure I thank him or her for anything that’s been done for me. Who knows, your kindness might be the highlight of his or her day.

You might not change the annoying person or situation. But you can change your response, and that can be the most important thing of all.

A difficult person teaches you patience. The times I’ve felt annoyed with someone, it's taken work on my part to not act on my aggravation. I know I need to hold onto the angry words I want to snap out. If I let loose with my frustration, I'll only make things worse. Plus, I'll feel guilty or bad about myself and will owe the other an apology.

Therefore, I try to take a deep breath and reach inside for patience. Then I give my response in an even tone of voice. Calm words won’t count if the tone sounds sharp. Or, I might choose to say nothing at all. Each time I manage to handle the person in a healthy manner, I feel good about myself, and my self-esteem grows.

Another other way to handle annoying people is to calmly point out specifically what they’re doing that’s so frustrating. “You’re such a jerk,” is not a helpful thing to say. Sometimes, people don’t know they’re annoying, and, if they find out what they are doing that’s aggravating to you, they’re willing to change.

If they’re not willing to change, avoid them as much as possible and keep on praying.

Dr. Debra

Feel free to write me with your questions

Debra Holland, Ph.D., is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in relationships and communication techniques.

To read previous 'Ask Dr. Debra' articles, please visit www.wetnoodleposse.com, where Dr. Debra is a regular contributor, or click here to view the archives. Dr. Debra Holland is also a regular contributor to the Wet Noodle Posse Blog.





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