That Person Who Irritates You Could Be Your Greatest Teacher

Couple Arguing Image via Shutterstock

“The teacher you need is the person you’re living with.” ~Byron Katie 

On the bus home from Disney World, my best friend sputtered, “Angela, you are such a huge control freak!”

First, I went into an angry rage. I accused her, “How dare you call me a control freak! I planned this whole trip.”

Next, I resorted to pouting and pointing my finger at her, listing every possible way she was the control freak.

I was in complete victim mode. Classic, right? Little did I know that this incident would be an important self-growth tool for me.

She returned to her seat and I started to reflect on her comment in silence. I realized that I was indeed a massive control freak. I planned everything. For example, in group projects, I volunteered to do all the work so I would get a good grade instead of trusting my teammates.

I’ve come to realize that constantly trying to control people is very harmful. They stop believing that you trust them and let you do all the work. I am not superman and people are capable of stepping up. 

The same goes with life situations. I’ve had a lot of success living in the life I want, because I’m very assertive and control situations. But honestly, it makes me miserable and I would much rather sit and back and let the universe take care of it.

My mother always told me that what you resist or dislike in someone else can usually be found in yourself. I realized the qualities that I found annoying in other people, especially my father, were his controlling qualities. Then I realized that those qualities were very prominent in myself.

I know now it had to take someone as close as my best friend to wake me up and realize how much I tried to control situations. She’s a friend who knows everything about me and, therefore, I hold her opinion very highly in mind.

I could have been a victim and blamed her for being cruel or picking out my greatest faults. Instead, I sincerely appreciate her for opening my eyes into how much self-work I still needed to do. 

When I look back on my life, I can see how all of my relationships have taught me so many lessons. My ex-boyfriend and I got together like most young couples, looking for someone to fix the other and fill up an empty hole that we could only fill.

Instead, we ended up being extremely codependent and very unhappy. I did not treat myself well during that period of time, and he reflected that perfectly to me by treating me exactly how I treated myself.

Now, I try and love myself to the fullest and am more confident than I’ve been in a long time. I am so thankful that he came into my life and demonstrated to me how I treated myself. He was a mirror and the perfect partner I needed at that time in my life.

I went back even further and examined the difficult relationship I have with my father. We have never been close and since childhood I’ve always been resentful of his, in my opinion, mean-spirited nature and how distant he seemed to me.

Now, I realize that he has been such a gift in my life. If I had never felt that pain, I probably would have never gone to see my life coach and found my inner light and source. I am so thankful that he brought me to her! What a different way to look at it.

I’m not saying you should stay in an unhealthy relationship. There are certainly relationships and friendships that are worth avoiding.

I do believe, though, that people come and go into our lives for certain reasons. And instead of perceiving their existence in our lives as negative, we should learn to see the positive differences they have made.

I can assure you that holding onto resentment for someone in your past or present really only ends up hurting up you in the long run.

So what do you do now? You forgive. You forgive yourself. You forgive the people who you believe caused transgressions against you in your life.

When I realized that I am indeed a control freak; I forgave myself; I didn’t beat myself up. I look forward to letting that quality go in my life, but it served me a great purpose in my past. When I was weaker, it served as a great defense mechanism and made me feel important and in charge.

Now I know that I am not in charge and can move on and eagerly wait for the next the relationships and friendships in my life to continue to teach me how to constantly improve myself.

Couple arguing image via Shutterstock

About Angela Lois

Angela Lois works as a recovery coach supporting adults with serious mental illnesses. By night, she is a professional violist.  Angela L. shares her stories of her life to combat shame and help people feel more seen.  If you would like to receive coaching from Angela or connect, you can connect with her on Instagram @angelaloie or email her at angelaloiscoaching@gmail.com.

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