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Why is being cross SO annoying?


I have been feeling cross for rather too long and so have decided to try to snap out of it!


I am cross about all manner of reasonable and acceptable things to be cross about – unfair people, irritating people, inconsiderate people, rude people. Above all always people.


I was cross about being cross. Cross with myself that is. Cross with how much time was being taken up.

The English Dictionary defines ‘cross’ with the following unpleasant symptoms: ill-natured, peevish, sullen, in a bad moor or ill temper, temporarily in an irritable or fretful state, and somewhat angry.

It therefore went without saying that I had to accept that I was guilty by association of all these unwelcome characteristics.


On the back of this rather galling insight, I checked out ‘being annoyed’ - wondering if this would be the lesser of the two evils. Now, that state of mind, according to Wikipedia, is an unpleasant one too; ‘characterised by irritation and distraction from one’s conscious thinking. It can lead to emotions such as frustration and anger’. The analysis continued rather academically by saying ‘The property of being easily annoyed is called irritability’. This sounds worse!

I clearly had to stop and think about all this.

Anger and irritability are set out as a shared theme for both these bothersome states. Seeking an easy way out for myself, I put my hand up to being in a bad mood or frustrated, as these two seemed to belong to a general description of our human condition these days. So perhaps nothing to write home about and therefore more excusable.

Ironically the enduring phrase, ‘The Human Condition’, was first coined by Hannah Arendt and published by the Chicago Press in 1958 – the very year of my arrival! Even more ironically my own ancestry, along with Hannah’s, is Jewish/German/American and Chicago was also my maternal Grandmother’s home city! Too much of a coincidence to ignore.

Suddenly, instead of being distracted, my mind snapped fully into focus and just as suddenly there was no parking space for all those negative feelings – leaving plenty of room to remind myself of all the fair people, the considerate people, the kind people, the polite people. It made me think of all the people who have made a difference. The examples to follow and the examples to set.

All the lovely human beings with whom we interact repeatedly, or fleetingly, are the ones who should have priority over our emotions. I shouldn’t have needed a reminder of that but without a doubt it is recognising the ‘cross’ and ‘annoyed’ in our lives that helps to put them back in their place - allowed out occasionally - but on borrowed time!

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