The best reason to make positive personal changes is that we can’t make anyone else change, no matter how annoying they are. What are we going to do with all that pent-up change energy? The person who cuts in line, the person who parks crooked, the person who is trying to prove the existence of auras by wearing a cloud of body spray - none of them are going to do anything about themselves. They’re too busy feeling annoyed by everyone else. WHY do other people insist on getting to the store before me and standing in MY line? WHY do other people insist on parking in the spots next to where *I* want to park? WHY can’t other people simply appreciate my gift of extreme fragrance? Start with the assumption that you are exactly as annoying as the people who annoy you, and you already have your hand on the doorknob of spiritual enlightenment.
It’s all about the categorical imperative. Act in such a way that, if your behavior became universal law, you would endorse it. If you floss your teeth, you’re saying that everyone should floss their teeth. If you’re nice to animals, you’re saying that everyone should be nice to animals. If you tap your pen, you’re saying yes to a mass cacophony of pen-tapping, synchronized to such a degree that it might vibrate in harmony, triggering an earthquake or possibly setting off a volcano.
Now, how about a list of nearly-universal pet peeves, at least one of which each of us is obviously doing, but would never admit (or possibly notice).
Taking up more than one parking spot
Leaving your shopping cart in your parking spot
Leaving used diapers in your parking spot
Texting and driving
Letting your dog poo and walking away like it didn’t happen
Talking on your cell phone while making commercial transactions
Burning microwave popcorn at work more than once per lifetime
Microwaving leftover fish at work
Sticking gum under tables, chairs, or anywhere else
For that matter, chewing gum at all
Clipping your nails at the coffee table (and leaving nail bits for us to step on)
Leaving containers of moldy leftovers in the fridge
Leaving laundry baskets of “clean” clothes for the cat to sleep/pee in
Mowing your lawn at 7 AM, especially on the weekend
Vacuuming your bedroom first thing in the morning when I live downstairs from you
Playing loud music off your patio
Loud arguments in hotel rooms
Leaving paper covers on the seat after leaving a public restroom stall
Talking about politics at work (unless that is your literal job description)
Exploding stuff in the microwave and leaving it for someone else to clean up
Defending your kid for being a bully
Letting your dog jump up on people, especially strangers
Thinking that being a troll or griefer is funny
Publicly shaming people for misusing punctuation
Letting your kid kick the back of someone’s seat
Shouting at cashiers, baristas, waiters, or any other person just trying to do their job
Putting your bare hands in the bulk bins at the grocery store
Flicking your fingers under the tap instead of actually washing your hands with soap
And one from me: Posting pictures of food on social media. I want to see you, not your dimly lit plate
Please stop doing these things! Love, Everyone Else
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I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.