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Matthew Evans - Valleys Steps

An honest blog

Tolerance

I just wanted to start this blog off by saying, I always try to write these blogs about my own personal experiences and I try to do this with as much honesty as possible. I do this to try and show others that they aren’t alone, but also to show readers how they might respond differently to some of these difficulties. Today’s blog is going to be very honest about how I’m feeling at the moment.

 

So I want to start by asking a question: has anybody else noticed that their tolerance for others is lower at the moment? This is a bit of a confession here: people are annoying me. I’m getting annoyed reading comments on social media, I’m getting annoyed with people not following the rules, I’m getting annoyed with people constantly talking about COVID-19. I’ve noticed over the past few weeks I’m definitely more irritable with others. Turns out, I’m not alone. I Googled the phrase, “how to deal with people annoying me covid-19”, and it turns out that a lot of people are feeling the same. I saw a comment that said, “everybody is doing my head in” and I thought, “yeah pretty much!”

 

I think there’s a few reasons we might be feeling like this. Firstly, stress. We’re all navigating our way through an extremely difficult, ever-changing situation. Everything seems negative: “covid this”, “brexit that”, “presidential debate this”, etc. We are being bombarded with a constant stream of news which is often increasing our stress. We feel out of control, not able to do what we want, stuck. Stress often makes people more irritable, which means we might be finding it difficult to tolerate others as much.

 

Secondly, I think a lot of us have had priority changes over the past few months. I know my priorities in life are totally different now. However, some people’s priorities may not have changed, or may have changed in different ways. That’s not to say anybody is “right” or “wrong”, but I think we struggle with this. Somebody tweets a complaint about not being able to go on their holiday and suddenly we are thinking, “Seriously? People are dying, and all they can think about is their holiday?!” But, to that person, that holiday could mean a lot. It could have been years of saving, it could have been the chance to escape from the stress of day-to-day life, it could have been the ability to visit long distance family/friends/partner etc. 

 

Thirdly, maybe some of us are used to being alone a lot more now, and reintegrating with others is difficult. I’ve always been an extrovert, but during lockdown I’ve been spending much more time alone. It’s almost like in some ways I’ve forgotten how to be around others as much now, and I’m going through the process of re-learning and reintegrating. 

 

Lastly, virtual get togethers are not the same, and “Zoom fatigue” is a real thing. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve been sat in virtual meetings and running online sessions during the day, the last thing I want to do in the evening is sit on camera again to socialise with others. My fiance lives in America and we’ve been separated since January due to COVID-19. Normally I’d love to video call with him in the evening, but sometimes I just can’t handle it now. It’s not that I’m annoyed with him, but I’m fed up of sitting on video calls! 

 

All of these things might mean we’re struggling with others. We’re getting annoyed, irritated, worked up, and there’s more tension and arguments happening. Like I said earlier, that’s definitely been my experience recently. So, here are some tips I’ve found helpful:

 

  1. Try and remember all of us are dealing with a lot of challenges at the moment. If someone is annoying you, remind yourself that under the surface, they might have a lot going on right now. We never know what’s happening behind closed doors. Try and practise empathy for others, put yourself in their shoes and try to see their viewpoint
  2. Remember that it’s not a competition. We don’t need to compete or argue with each other about who’s had it worse. Somebody’s complaint on social media (or otherwise) might make you think, “Really?! That’s your priority?!?! How can people complain about x when I’ve had to deal with y?!” But we’re all affected by things differently, what might seem trivial to you could be a big deal to somebody else 
  3. Try and focus on people’s positive aspects. For people close to us, e.g. family, friends, partner, it can be easy to get caught up in what we consider their flaws to be. Deliberately try and focus on their positive aspects instead. So if someone is annoying you, stop and think, “Can I list 3 good things about this person?”
  4. Remember we can’t control what other people do. When you see someone who isn’t sticking to the lockdown rules, remind yourself that you can’t control how others behave. You can only control your own behaviour
  5. Learn to let it go. I’ve often been the type of person to hold on to things that annoy me. I don’t confront people very much, but I will dwell on things afterwards. Sometimes I even catch myself having pretend arguments with that person hours after the event! The thing is, that other person is just carrying on with their day with no idea. By ranting and complaining for hours afterwards, it’s us that’s carrying the stress of it. It may be better for us to learn to accept it and let it go
  6. Find other ways to connect. If video calling is annoying you, there’s other ways you can connect with friends, family and loved ones instead. Maybe play a game online together, or watch a film/TV show together, etc. 
  7. Take time out for yourself. For some of us, this could be the most difficult time we face in our lives. It’s so important to take time out, practise self-care, manage stress and prioritise our wellbeing. If you need some help with that, you might find our free online workshops and courses helpful.

 

I hope this information helps. Take care.

By Bethan Jones

Course Wellbeing Practitioner