Learning from the Ones who Grind our Gears

We all have ‘em: those individuals who just grind our gears.  They’re the ones we gossip about and think, how dare they? When we talk about self-improvement, we talk a lot about drawing inspiration from our role models and the people we want to be just like, but what about the ones we feel the opposite way about?

There is an opportunity here to ask ourselves, What is it about that person that drives you crazy? There could be a couple of things going on, and they’re all windows that help us get to know ourselves a little bit better. 


Maybe that person demonstrates exactly who you never want to be--but fear you are. If someone is selfish and it drives you crazy, maybe it’s hitting on a part of you that feels guilty for taking care of yourself. This could be a chance to notice your gremlin trying to make your life miserable--and an opportunity to remind yourself that you don’t need his opinion. 

Sometimes, people just rub us the wrong way because they are so different than we are and their values seem absolutely absurd. It’s possible that someone just represents who you don’t want to be, and if this is the case, they can help you think about what’s important to you instead that makes them so irritating. Are they messy?  Perhaps organization is part of your happiest life. Are they loud? Maybe you prefer to act as a soft-spoken leader.  


Other times, we are jealous in some way and end up resenting that someone else dare be what we won’t allow ourselves to.  Our jealousy in and of itself is not a bad thing. Oftentimes, we let jealousy drive us to resentment and do things that are not particularly kind to ourselves or others to deal with the discomfort of being jealous. But jealousy can be a great indicator. 

Think someone toots their own horn a little too much? While there’s a fine line between proud and cocky, this could be an indication that you need to celebrate you just a little bit more. Maybe you think someone takes too much pride in their body--could it be that you need to extend a little more to your own?

Next time you’re feeling particularly irritated by that acquaintance I know we all have, do your best to respond with curiosity. In the process, you just might learn something about yourself....