Have you ever had a waiter who was impossible to deal with, but you had to? Maybe he got your order wrong and had a snotty attitude. Someone like that can trigger you to leave the restaurant in a bad mood. In the “old” days I’d complain about it to everyone who’d listen and keep the memory alive. I was so “good” at it that I could keep it alive for days. My meal was long over but the irritation stayed with me. Even though I’d complained to the manager about the waiter—the only thing I could really have done— and the incident was over, I let my feelings about it consume me.
I didn’t know the waiter. He was unimportant to my life. Yet I let him have all that power over it. We often let meaningless people have a inordinate amount of power over us when we hold onto what they did. Someone may beat you out of a parking space you’d been waiting for by taking advantage of the angle that the car used to pull out that kept you from getting in first. You find another spot quickly but stew over “How could he do that? It’s rude!” all day. Or you growl all day about the rude person at the coffee shop.
These people are strangers and the incidents are over, but we make these unimportant people so important by keeping what they did in our thoughts. Instead of feeling happy, you make walk around growling and looking for people to complain about it to, like I used to do. It’s so counterproductive for nurturing a happy life and does nothing for you. You may want to hurt them but with every stew and complaint, you allow these strangers to hurt you over and over by staying with you.
The best solution? Ignore them. Leave them in the past with their negative actions. I know it can be hard when your annoyance is high. So complain to one or two people and then let it go. That’s what I do now. I like to get it off my chest and get some validation for my feelings and acknowledgement that I’m right that the person was wrong. After one of two times, it’s history.
Next time a stranger annoys you and you begin to tell many people about it, and know you’re holding it inside you, take a deep breath and ask yourself for what purpose are you doing that. You’ll rarely if ever have a good answer. The rude cashier doesn’t matter in the picture of your life! The person who cut in front of you on the highway is long gone. Don’t wish evil on them! Instead, save your energy to work negative situations out with people who matter to you. Leave the unimportant people where they belong—in the past!
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