Positive Thinking

Why Am I Bothered By Him?

Once, a co-worker told a customer our ISP was down “for more than 24 hours” (it wasn’t).
Untrue statements are a pet peeve of mine. So I vented with another co-worker, saying I knew “for a fact” that our ISP was down for less than 8 hours, and a conversation ensued as to whether his statement was hyperbole, lie or something else. I uneasily conceded that it was likely not a lie, because lies require willful intent, and my co-worker was probably just mistaken.

Still bothered, I had the same conversation again, this time with my brother, me still insisting that I knew “for a fact” that it was down for less than 8 hours. He leaned towards lie: “our ISP was down all day” is hyperbole. “Our ISP was down for more than 24 hours” seems too specific to be hyperbole. Still, a lie requires willful intent.
Still dissatisfied, that night I mulled over the details to myself.
I knew for a fact that our ISP was down for less than 24 hours.
I suspected it was down for less than 8 hours, but I had no proof.
An uneasy awareness set in as I realized that I had assembled two fragmented thoughts into a singular, false whole, and relayed it to two people. I did not “know for a fact” that it was down for less than 8 hours, but that didn’t stop me from saying it.
So in two conversations (motivated by my distaste of untruth!) I uttered an untrue statement.
This is how it happens: emotional vigor mixed with hasty thinking, resulting in untrue statements.
My upset with my co-worker diminished considerably, replaced instead with empathy.
It comes as no surprise to me to find that the thing I found so distasteful in others was something that I, unaware, did too. More often than we would like to think, our disdain is projection, seeing in others that which we have not yet reconciled— or even acknowledged— in ourselves. Until we sort it out for ourselves, we will continue to be irked when we see that behavior in others. Once we sort it out for ourselves, we become less bothered by the behavior in others. We understand motivations, and so have compassion when we see it in others, maybe even a sense of humor about it. We become able to have a conversation about it that makes a difference, whereas before we just came across as judgemental.
When someone irks you, honestly ask yourself if you too carry that trait.