Sometimes, when things annoy you, you just have to suck it up. You need to think, “That’s just the way it is.” Then you need to move on. (Speed bumps just are on your road; parking spaces at ASDA just are too small with the daftest one-way-system, telephones, facebook thinking you are a robot having fleeced you for £14 before blocking your robotic self, events I’m not speaking at… you can make your own list.)
Sometimes, when people annoy you, the same thing applies. You box up the weirdo-irritating characteristic, accept that it’ll never change and then move on – working with the parts of the personality that you’re okay with. (I am not naming names – but don’t worry, I know I am more annoying than you; I annoy myself.)
Trying to change things that can’t be changed and trying to change people that don’t want to change (why should they?) is a waste of time. People that live this way are like the protagonists of every high school novel ever taught – each with the fatal flaw of being unable to deal with reality being reality.
Reality is reality; we have to deal with it.
I was wondering whether forgiveness is, in fact, sucking it up. I hope, in a way, that it’s more profound. I had a superficial google, and it turns out that there is a difference:
suck it up: accept something unpleasant or difficult
forgive: stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence, flaw, or mistake.
You don’t want to do laundry; it needs to be done. Suck it up. The lights are at red? Suck it up. They’ll go green in a mintue. The result of a vote annoys you? Suck it up. Find a way through. You want to pass an exam but can’t be bothered to study for it? Suck it up and start studying.
Forgiveness is for dealing with situations with people. It is like sucking it up – but without the anger. Sounds liberating!
So, the paper towels aren’t in the paper towel dispenser. Harumph! Someone hasn’t done a thing! Put the paper towels in the dispenser. Then they are in it. Drop the anger; move on; dry your hands.
Some people are moaners. Some people are contributors. Moaners don’t want to contribute; they want to moan. Contributors can moan too, about the proliferation of moaners and dearth of contributors. But hey – I’d rather be a moaning contributor than a moaning moaner. (Maybe the architects of CfE could have come up with more realistic “capacities” for the Scottish population to aspire to : moaning contributors; delusional learner; fickle/entrenched citizens; narcissistic individuals… ?)
So, we drop the anger, trade it for love and acceptance – and it’s all a bit like the “serenity prayer”:
“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference”
This then presents me with a challenge – with all this accepting and forgiving going on – the prayer mentions “courage to change the things I can” – so maybe some things can be changed and should be changed … what things are they?
Me. My stuff. My time. My activities.
Perhaps people (Perhaps? Of course!) are boxing off the annoying and difficult parts of me and trying to ignore them when trying to deal with me. Perhaps there are systems I’m in charge of that irritate people and could be changed. I am awkward, thoughtless and many other things. I need forgiveness – forgiveness for every poorly executed social interaction, for my acceptance of my own foibles that I have cast in steel and present as optimal. And other stuff.
I have been binge-watching two tidying shows: “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” and “Consumed” on Netflix. In the shows, people are overwhelmed with their stuff and then they chuck half of it out, tidy the rest and feel amazing. Most of the time. Sometimes they can’t change and the stuff wins. Then it’s not so good.
As a result, my socks are all rolled like sushi, packed in drawers like I am Mr Sleeping-with-the-Enemy; my t-shirts and leggings are stowed vertically; my kitchen all ready for a visit from a pre-children Bettina-and-Max …
Dealing with things in the house that annoyed me has been great – the sense that the house is filled with things that need dealt with is reducing day after day as the Netflix-inspired order that has been imposed seems to be holding… very exciting… I have been finding laundry fun for a whole week!
So, in 2019 there will be things that are annoying; there may even be a series of unfortunate events; there will be things that will have to be sucked up; there will be things that have to be forgiven; there will be tricky moments and feet put in it… Waaaa!
But there will be things that can be changed, built, developed, recycled, tidied; there will be opportunities to help people, to fill paper towel dispensers for the next person, to “be the change” and all that.
So, my top tips for this year: forgive people and chuck out half of your stuff.