How To Celebrate People Who Piss You Off

Doctor of Psychology By Danielle Dowling, Psy.D.
Doctor of Psychology
Danielle Dowling, Psy.D. is a doctor of psychology and life coach, helping ambitious, driven women achieve the financial, spiritual, and lifestyle abundance they desire and deserve. She holds a bachelor's in business from American University, and her master's and doctor of psychology degree from Ryokan College.

We’ve all got 'em: that co-worker who regularly doles out backhanded compliments. That neighbor with the loud, weeknight parties. The family member whose political opinions run counter to your own and feels holidays are a great time to bring up immigration reform.

Being human and existing in the world means that you’ll inevitably encounter people and situations that ruffle your plumage and rankle your sensibilities.

The good news?

You can heal unresolved anger and resentment.

The slightly-less-good news?

Healing those feelings takes work. And the only one who can do it is you.

The reason you’re angry isn’t external. It has nothing to do with the outside world. It’s within you.

Think about that one person (or people) who get under your skin. Maybe when you think about them, your hands clench and your heart races. Maybe you even think you hate them.

Are you thinking about them?

Right now, while you’re thinking of that infuriating human, write down what makes you so angry with them.

Take your time.

Don’t think.


Now take a long, slow read through the reasons you’re angry.

Take a big, cleansing, deep breath.

The parts of these people that infuriate you are probably unresolved parts of yourself.


(I can hear you all the way over here.)

“No way! That’s crazy. I am NOTHING like these people!”

But yes, dear one. You are.

We resent in others the unresolved parts of ourselves. Acknowledging this is the first step to healing our anger. As difficult as it can be, take this opportunity to look at this person who makes you angry not as an enemy but as a teacher. In a way, they’re guides pointing out the parts of ourselves we still need to work on.

If we can accept this, then we can stop blaming and criticizing the other person. Instead, we can fold inwards and get introspective on what we are feeling.

If we’re really, deeply honest, below the anger is always the experience of hurt. And it’s hurt that we want to feel because it’s where the healing can begin.

Feelings of hurt and anger usually come from the deep-seated belief that, on some level, we are:

  • Insignificant
  • Not enough
  • Not lovable
  • Unworthy

Rather than feeling the hurt and taking an empowering action to heal it, many of us get defensive and angry and project those feelings onto the people around us.

Taking action from an unconscious, hurt place won’t help you create a life you love. Taking loving action from a place of deep awareness doesn’t mean you’re “rolling over” or accepting others’ poor behavior. Taking action from a place of awareness means you’re taking responsibility for your life by consciously choosing next steps.

Can you stand up for yourself and give voice to your less-than-positive feelings?

Of course.

But as you do, don’t forget to look inwards and simultaneously ask:

  • What about this person is triggering me?
  • Are they simply a mirror reflecting back unhealed, fearful parts of myself that I need to be more aware of?
  • If they’re just the messenger, what would be the lesson I need to learn?
  • How am I being asked to take greater responsibility in my own life?

With a good dose of self-awareness and introspection, we can learn the lesson that comes in the shape of the annoying coworker or the challenging uncle. With a bit of work, we can even learn to smile and love through the ruffled feathers.

What can you learn from the person who angers you the most?

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