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“You can’t change a person’s actions but you can change how you react.”

We all have that one thing that someone can say or do that sends us over the edge. My biggest pet peeves are spreading gossip out of malice, selfishness, and a lack of self-control. Up until recently, I truly believed that I had built a tolerance these. Before I couldn’t even be around anyone who gossips, acts selfish, or cannot control his or herself without becoming agitated, but now I can without a hint of a negative reaction.

I usually ignore the conversations that steer towards gossip and walk away from situations that could easily turn into altercations. I don’t even mean altercations that I could become involved in, but just witnessing it bothers me. As I child, I knew a person who embodies my annoyances, and as an adult no one ever confronted her for her behavior. Now, she is even older and still carrying herself in that manner. I can’t even be around her for long periods of time.

Knowing this, my mother told me to write letters to her to release the pent up frustration. It worked for me for a while and I even thought that my pet peeves were no longer pet peeves. That was until evil reared its ugly head once again (I had to be around her again).

Are you thinking that I should have just pulled her aside and talked about it? Yeah, you must have missed the lack of self-control part. If you try to talk to her, she will react negatively and interrupt you every time you open your mouth. After that, it will quickly escalate to cuss words and a lack of personal space. It doesn’t matter if it is an adult or child, she will talk to you in that manner. I’ve witnessed it and been on the receiving end myself as a child. The most frustrating part is she brings it up years later and reminisces and laughs about it. Of course, this is because she has never been told that she was wrong. Imagine that, an adult bragging about verbally abusing a child or carrying herself in a classless manner in public.

I was always left wondering how I can forgive someone for their imperfections when they continue to do the same things that bother me -but I have not failed to make them aware of my feelings. Some people do not realize how destructive their words and actions can be towards other people’s live, or maybe they simply do not care at all. Sad, I know. In this particular situation, she does not care.

Feeling frustrated, I talked to my grandmother about it and her words weighed heavily on my mind: “Forgive them without an apology, and then go to God. He will handle it.” I have never thought to go to God because I had such negative feelings towards the person that I believed that may be I was the one wrong for feelings this way, that I may have been nitpicking. You know that saying, “Once you start to dislike someone, everything they do begins to annoy you.” Then I talked to other people who knew her and they felt the same exact way. The only reason that someone has never said anything to her is because she is so verbally abusive.

I always envisioned moving far away to not be around her anymore. I would send her my letter upon my departure and no longer care about her actions, or whether she read the entire letter or threw it away after the first sentence. As of right now, I want her to read it so that she knows the effects of her actions. She’s never cared about it then questions why she experiences Hell in her life right now.

I firmly believe that someone shouldn’t have to build a tolerance around someone whom he or she dislikes just to keep the peace, especially when you feel like it’s eating inside of you. Sometimes, we just have to go to God and ask for some sort of change. The hurt should never feel guilty about their feelings when those who hurt them could care less about their actions.

Write a letter. Send an e-mail. Schedule a meeting. Move away.

No matter how you choose to handle the situation, remember to forgive and then let God handle the rest. You will feel much better no matter the outcome.

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