My husband annoys me a lot. I found out just how much during the lockdowns of the COVID pandemic.

Replacing the toilet paper roll when it’s out, leaving his shoes in the walkway, leaving his administrative papers out in the common areas for days…

Some would agree those are annoying and others not so much.

Annoyance comes from one thing only and it’s not the other person. It comes from our manual for that person and everyone else in the world. We, whether we know it or not, have a little instruction book for how people should behave in certain situations:

Slurping your soup, breaking up with someone via text, being late, not responding to a message, not saying Thank You or Please, grammar mistakes, etc.

I admit I had a pretty thick manual for other people. It was disguised as having high standards or expectations. And while having standards in relationships is important, when it goes too far as to use it to judge or keep others away, it becomes a manual.

And what’s wrong with having such high expectations of others?

Well, obviously, you’re annoyed a lot (and that’s not fun, is it?) but the other reason is a little more subtle.

When you look closely at the word ‘annoyed’, the word ‘no‘ is right in the middle.

Whenever our manual pops into our head about someone else’s behaviours, we subtly reject them.

If we then act from annoyance, we aren’t really coming from a place of acceptance (which is what most of want in our relationships). Annoyance is the the rejection of who the other person is.

Their behaviours, feelings and mistakes all make up their humanness. If it wasn’t for our little habits and quirks and weirdness that may annoy others, then it wouldn’t make us, well, us.

Yet, I’m still annoyed with my husband, especially about the toilet paper roll thing – which by the way comes from my own humanness.

And so, the next time this happens I can rest assured that my annoyance isn’t coming from who he is but from the manual I created. And I can slowly let go of some of the pages of the book and move a little closer to acceptance one quirky habit at a time.

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