Turn it Around


I’m starting with a disclaimer: the ideas that I am about to present here are NOT intended to be used for dealing with abuse, bullying, or anything similar. If you are a victim of these kinds of behaviors, what I am sharing today will make it worse. Please go to someone you trust and share what is going on — you need someone to help you, and there are many people in your life who are willing!

Ok. So, now down to business.

Life is frustrating. People are irritating. Going through life angry and annoyed is so easy! Of course, it’s also bad for our health and causes problems at work and at home.  So what do we do when people and things are just annoying and we’re getting fed up?

One tool is to turn it around.

That coworker that sits in her cubicle and pops gum all day? Yep. I doubt that you’re popping gum, but do you tap your pencil a lot? Jiggle your knee until it repetitively knocks on the desk? Talk to yourself?

It turns out that we all have annoying habits. Once we realize how alike we are, it seems to be a lot easier to do something to just ease the annoyance — like quietly stream some music through our computer.

Does it feel like your spouse is always ignoring you? Interrupting your sentences? Hmmm, do you have the same habits? Do you do (or not do) things that leave your spouse feeling unappreciated? Do you need to make some changes?


Taking the edge off the frustration isn’t the end, though. It’s the beginning.

You can’t force somebody to change, neither can you “nice” them into changing. Coercion really doesn’t work so well. You can, however, have a friendly but assertive discussion. Even if the other person doesn’t change, you may gain some insight into whatever is bothering you. At the very least, you can feel better knowing that you tried.

And, if your answers to the “turn around” questions leave you with a todo list, it’s time to get busy. Even if no one else notices or appreciates it, you’ll feel better as you make positive changes in your life.


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