Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Character flaws: It's not you, it's totally me, Part 4

I am quick to irritate/I am impatient.

I'm putting these two together, since I think they're probably inter-related. I also think I'm getting better about both, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. Regardless, I think poor Andrew bares the brunt of both of these failings of mine.

I say quick to irritate rather than quick to anger ('She gets madder quicker than any woman I ever saw' ~Frank Kennedy, Gone With The Wind), as I don't *think* I get out-right mad too often. Although I can't seem to find a good way to differentiate the two emotions except perhaps anger is longer lasting? I'm not sure.

Here's an example:

On Monday Andrew and I went out for our regular run. It's very icy here in Edmonton and I slipped and fell. I've had several falls onto my left knee, which is what happened and my dear hubby, concerned, asked if I wanted to stop and go home (we hadn't even gotten off our block yet). I disdainfully replied 'NO' and 'I'm fine.'

Why was I so annoyed at Andrew asking me if I was okay? Isn't it a normal, thing to do? To be concerned about someone after you witness them fall? The best explanation I can come up with is that I have a strong sense of independence and I rarely ask for help. Even as I child, once I got to a certain age (maybe 12 or so, I don't remember for sure), if I was sick, I would stay home alone and take care of myself.

Still, I shouldn't get irritated.

I think my impatience also leads to irritation. I'm an 'on time' sort of person. If you tell me to be somewhere at a certain time or place, I'll be there at the time, possibly a few minutes early. Similarly, when I say I'm ready to start something, like say dinner, I mean, I'm ready to sit down and eat, NOW. Not in two minutes once you've used the washroom or come to a stopping point in your book.

So now comes the part where I try to offer myself solutions for this behaviour, and I feel like I'm being a broken record on this point: I need to practice. As I said, I'm much better on both these points. I used to be a very sore loser when it came to board and card games. I still don't enjoy losing (who does?), but I think I'm better at taking it as it comes because I've realized Munchkin is just a game (or Settlers, or Euchre, etc.) and doesn't reflect on my success at life.

Sure, I still complain about my bad luck during a game, but I don't throw down my cards, or dice, and get snippy with the other players because I just lost a point/was prevented from killing a monster/was penalized by the robber (you get what I mean if you've played any of the previously mentioned games).

Further, I can employ some of basic strategies such as count to 5 or 10 when someone says/does something that irritates me before I speak. Also, recognizing my bad behaviour and apologizing afterwards probably wouldn't hurt either. Overall, I think I need to try to be more mindful of the feelings of the person I am interacting with and remember they are just as important as mine.

When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? ~George Carlin



Andrew said...

As I said, my love, you are forgiven. And you have gotten better at this over the years I've known you.

I will continue to try and help you work on this, and the other traits/issues you've been describing as things you want to try and change. But regardless, I love you now, and will forever, just as you are.

Andrea Milne said...

Thank you, HB. I am extremely lucky to have you.

Gregory Taylor said...

Gonna poke my head in here too. (Sometimes I don't know when to shut up, there's a flaw!) Just want to say that I very much understand that way of thinking... though for me it's not so much that I'm quick to irritate, it's that I can hold things in too long and suddenly *snap*. So, at least you don't have the flip side issue there?

I also suspect it's natural to externalize our own thoughts in cases like this. I fall, I think to myself, "well that was really stupid of me, why was I such an idiot"... so when someone asks if I'm alright, my gut reaction is "so you'll only laugh at my stupidity if I'm not actually hurt, huh?" which is probably not remotely close to the thoughts of the second party.

But then, I'm no psychiatrist. Also, hey, was that a Settlers reference? Maybe you can compress irritation into sheep.