Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult. – Prov 12:16
Some days when I don’t know what to read, I go to the chapter in proverbs for the day of the month. And today as with most days there is confirmed wisdom and subtle reminders of whom to live. This one seemed to have a lightening bolt attached to it. A jolting reminder with “Oh yeah!!!” qualities. There was a time not so long ago when I hear someone say, “People don’t MAKE you feel miserable, YOU make you feel miserable.” And with RADICAL fervent objection, I argued with myself and God about its truth. Only to come to the all to startling realization… Yeah that’s true.
Why was I believing other people had the control or influence over me like that? How was I allowing people to make me FEEL miserable? And before I had even made it through the first day did I realize it began with the little annoyances. I would start with the stupid drivers on the way to work, followed by the lazy people I worked with, interrupted by the selfish friends I had, and topped it off by the rude people I lived with. (HORRIBLE overgeneralizations I agree as well, because life really isn’t that bad and people really aren’t that awful.) But it was so easy to come to those beliefs just by a few actions that people said, did, expressed, or didn’t do in connection with my world that I would spiral down into a pit of anger and frustration without even blinking.
So what can I do? Surround myself with better people, change my outlook, move to another state to start fresh? But what if I could CHOOSE to NOT let others frustrate me, not allow the things I don’t like bother me, or not feel people’s actions as an intentional affront to my goals. I didn’t think it was possible, I didn’t think it was changeable, I didn’t believe there was a way I could reprogram my mind and emotions… but I was wrong.
Upon reflection of my life I have noticed: I have changed a lot. I have grown a lot. I have overcome a lot. And there was a huge credit to many people who coached me, taught me, mentored me… but what I have forgotten is that I let them in. I let them change my way of thinking and operating. I told myself I could do things differently, I could do things better, I could do things RIGHT. So even though I may not have known HOW I did it… I did it all the same.
So this time I tried to change my mental thinking: whenever something would irritate me, I would talk myself out of being irritated. Who knew words from the inside to the inside could be so powerful. They could have such an effect. That just telling myself this annoyance wasn’t really annoying me THAT bad, or that in the grand scheme of life what does it matter that I didn’t like how someone did that, or ever What does it matter to me that they are doing it WRONG? Just to name a few of the mental challenges…
And amazingly enough it was fruitful. I found my frustrations lessening, my annoyances reducing, and my stress level falling. So this verse just reminded me that I can choose the way of the prudent and overlook insults. I can choose the way of the wise and believe I can be changed from the inside out. There is hope that growth still occurs, change is still possible… this dog can still learn a few tricks.