We all try to embrace life and the people who come in and out of it on a daily basis. But no matter how hard we try we’re bound to come across someone who really pushes our buttons. Maybe they speak in a brash manner or their behavior is very “in your face”. Perhaps you actually have no clue what it is about them that irks you. But button pushers are a fact of life whether you like it or not. Managing the situation when you feel like your boundaries or limits are pushed is the key. Master this tool and your life will change.
You may find that you get along really well with someone in general. But the minute they start to speak about a specific topic or act in a certain way everything changes. The hairs on the back of your next start to stand up and your jaw starts to clench. You cannot change them but you can change your perspective. By paying a bit of extra attention and putting in some extra effort you can change your reaction. With daily practice and effort button pushers, and the effect that they have on you, melt away. You’ll feel uncontended and content.
Through understanding others, you can simply stop yourself from becoming annoyed. How quick are we to get irritated by the action of others. The driver in front of you is driving like a snail! The guy in the supermarket cut the line without as much as a blink of the eye. Your colleague hasn’t stopped texting the whole time you’ve been having a coffee together. When our buttons get pushed, we have such a long narrative happening in our minds. Our thoughts are created by our perceptions or projections of the situation. Half the time this narrative is untrue. It is based on past experiences and negative thoughts. Let’s take the person who cuts the line in front of you. He does not even seem to acknowledge that you were there first. You may catch yourself thinking “this is so annoying, did he not even see me? He is so rude. What does he think, that he is the only person in the world who has to get somewhere and can’t be bothered to stand in line? I probably should have told him that I was first in the line, but I didn’t feel like the confrontation. Who does this guy think he is anyway?”
Through the skill of mindfulness and being present, we can learn how to drop our judgment of others. We acknowledge that this moment in our life, as annoying as it is, is simply one moment in the larger picture of life. Instead of letting the guy who cut the line get under your skin, take a moment to take a step back. Take a deep breath and release all judgment that you have for him. At the end of the day, we don’t know what others are experiencing in life. Perhaps he didn’t see you standing there. Maybe he was in a rush to get to the hospital to visit his friend during visiting hours. Maybe he was just picking up a few items for his sick friend along the way. You may not know this, but you may have also jumped a place in line once without realizing! Through preventing yourself from judging others, you allow the irritation to disappear. You control your thoughts and you don’t allow the behavior to push your buttons.
Another important step in getting along with people who push your buttons is to have a deeper understanding of yourself. Learn what things actually do push your buttons and why. Life is busy and hectic. If we don’t create the space for thought and self-discovery, we probably won’t learn much about ourselves. Discovering your pet peeves is a big step in maintaining good relationships with“button pushers”. Spending time, effort and energy in this will reap great rewards.
In a seated meditation, allow your breath to flow deeply through your body. Focus on the question “what pushes my buttons?” Be aware of the answers that come to your mind. Allow each one a moment to linger, then release it from your system as you exhale. Then allow the next thought to come into focus. This practice will give you a deeper understanding of the things that don’t sit well with you. When you are self-aware it is much easier to control your emotions and reactions.
Another incredible thing that comes with knowing what “grates your cheese” is you will be able to avoid some of the pain. You will understand how to avoid those situations and uncomfortable conversations. With this type of empowerment, you can control what you are exposed to and what you speak about. Although others may talk about touchy subjects with you, we all have different irks. You may be a button pusher yourself. An awareness of other people’s boundaries can help prevent you from assuming the role of “button pusher”!
Another great tool to use when you are trying to get along better with someone who gets “under your skin”, is reflexion. Often we find what someone has to say, or something that they do annoying and it really gets to us. If you take a moment to reflect this can help you out in two ways. It can help you to begin to understand what about this person bothers you and recognize what our part in it is. Often when we find a behavior annoying, it is a pure reflection of ourselves and our own shortcomings. So next time someone bothers you, take the time out to reflect on their behavior and see how this relates to you. You can even use this irritation as your own personal tool to self-improvement. On the upside, next time you run into this annoying friend, you can thank him for his help!