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January 29, 2016

Petty Peeves

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.20.36 PM“You are no bigger than the things that annoy you.”
(Jerry Bundsen)

It’s easy to put myself on a pedestal whenever I feel extremely annoyed by my children, my colleague, or the woman in front of me in the grocery store line talking to her phone instead of the cashier. In those moments, if I’m honest, I feel superior to that other person, because it’s their annoying behavior that’s beneath me. Ironically, it’s exactly at that point when I’m shrinking myself beneath them.

See, we all have our list of pet peeves. You can probably think of a few right now. What we don’t usually consider is that “pet” can actually have two meanings. It can mean “favorite,” as in “teacher’s pet,” or it can also stand for “petty,” or “petulant,” as in “childishly ready to take offense.” Combine the two and we get closest to the truth—these pet peeves are my favorite ways to shrink myself and be childishly offended.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve sometimes allowed these little annoyances to get in the way of a good conversation, or a meaningful exchange with someone, or a chance to show compassion. That’s why, whenever I begin to feel “peeved,” I try to remember Bundsen’s quote above.

Being easily annoyed is not a sign of my superiority, it’s a signal that I still need to grow up.

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