I’ve been doing some work in the past few weeks on discovering my most common emotional reactions so that I could have a look at the thoughts that might be driving them. I noticed that my top 3 are impatience, irritation, and determination. I decided to have a look at irritation.
I did a thought download every time I was irritated this week. I wrote down the situation, what happened, what I was thinking, how it felt in my body, etc. I circled all the thoughts and discovered I am most irritated when I think that other people are worrying about things that are not in their control.
I got coached on the thoughts I was having that led to irritation and my coach helped me see that I was doing the very thing that was irritating me to no end. I was worrying about how other people act and think and I have no control over that. Mind blown.
I did some research on this topic and it turns out that this is called Psychological Projection and it is used as a defense mechanism by the brain. We basically have thoughts about qualities in others that we most dislike about ourselves.
“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part yourself. What isn’t part ourselves doesn’t disturb us.” – Hermann Hesse
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung
Have you ever noticed that the things that get on your nerves the most is something that you do? I think this might be one of the most humbling discoveries in my process of self-improvement and self-coaching.