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When You’ve Failed Often in Dealing With People

Geralt, Pixabay, Public Domain

Source: Geralt, Pixabay, Public Domain

Some people just don’t play well with others, nor work well—They often get terminated.

Consider the following composite:

I’m impatient and frustrated all the time with people at work and their performance, their foolish decisions, their beliefs. I’m always fuming or apologizing. So, no surprise, I often get fired or “laid off.” Anger lives just below my surface in everything I do. And don’t even get me started on romantic relationships.

I ever fight with myself to improve, but nothing works: meditation, mantras, therapy, anger management classes, telling myself that we’re all human, that the issue doesn’t matter that much, that I’m killing myself with all this anger. Nothing works. The only time I’m calm is when I’m by myself and, even then, I live in a miasma of low-level anger.

I was scared of being self-employed. I’m no entrepreneur—I love security but don’t feel I have a choice. So I started a business selling the best varieties of geraniums and, in the winter, viola plants. The plants don’t hate me and I don’t hate them (usually) and I have minimal interaction with customers.

That said, while I don’t think I’d ever want or could be a social butterfly, there’s something that feels wrong about having to so isolate myself. Heck, I’m just 35, not 95. Any advice?

I’d ask these questions:

Given that you’ve tried so many approaches to changing your angry personality, my questions won’t be aimed at changing you but at unearthing activities and environments in which you might be happier and more successful without needing a personality transplant.

Are there individual people or types of people that are less likely to trigger you? Perhaps they’re people you know or people you don’t know but who like what you do. For example, how about reaching out to customers who have given your business a 5-star review? Perhaps ask them about their experience with the plant they bought, share your experience, and maybe even send them a photo. Another approach: Some angry people are far less so when dealing with people who don’t threaten them: for example, physically or mentally disabled people or patients in hospice. Or how about shelter dogs and cats? Might such volunteer work help? Perhaps trying that out could even suggest a career direction.

Are there solo activities in which anger won’t be much of a problem? For example, might you want to spend more time gardening, perhaps for pleasure rather than just growing plants for sale? Other possibilities: cooking, eating, reading, walking perhaps in nature or where there’s good people-watching, watching TV or movies maybe while stroking your dog or cat, tending an aquarium, going fishing, or craftwork such as knitting, jewelry-making, model-building, painting, photography, sculpting, home repair or remodeling, jigsaw puzzles, listening to music, singing or playing an instrument, cleaning your home, or playing a laid-back video game such as Stardew Valley, Firewatch, or the classic Myst rather than a shoot-em-up.

Are your daily routines comforting? Might you change any? For example, before bedtime, might you enjoy a cup of chamomile tea? When I get into bed each night, I read while listening to an mp3 of lullabies.

|How about the simple pleasures? Any chance of your savoring the simple: crisp fall air, the last of the season’s blooms, a baby at life’s beginning?

Might you find peace in ritual, whether it’s your daily routine, a morning or evening prayer, or attending services?

The takeaway

Some people should strive to conquer their weaknesses, while other people may wisely choose to accept their long-standing shortcomings and put themselves in situations that minimize their effect. How about you? Whether it’s an issue with people, work, or whatever, should you focus more on improving yourself or finding better-suited activities?

I read this aloud on YouTube.

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