It can be hard to let a negative feeling go, can’t it? Maybe it was a thoughtless comment by a spouse or a small dig from a co-worker that made you feel rotten. Sometimes, even though we know we should let it go, a comment from another person burrows into our subconscious, and we can’t forget.
While we’ve long thought of a grain of sand forming a beautiful pearl, in truth, a pearl forms when an irritant is lodged inside an oyster, and it cannot rid itself of the offending material. While the pearl ends up being something humans find beautiful, the act of an oyster creating it, by covering the irritant with minerals, is the oyster’s attempt at eliminating their discomfort or suffering.
To see a pearl is to see everything that the oyster did to try not to hurt anymore.
Maybe we need to be more like an oyster when someone has irritated us; when a remark or a text has gotten under our skin. Even though we may not like the irritant, we have to acknowledge it and think about whether there was any truth to it. We may need to consider what was going on with the other person who said it. Were they tired or stressed? Are we tired or stressed and letting something that normally wouldn’t bother us become a problem?
Like the oyster, after assessing that there is indeed something that is irritating, we need to coat ourselves in layers of protection, and that can look different depending on who we are. Reminding ourselves of our positive qualities or thinking of a better memory with the person who was thoughtless can sometimes help. It might be a good idea to take a walk to clear your mind. Put some space between you and the incident. Play a quick game on your phone to take your mind off being irritated. Daydream about an upcoming event or activity that you’re looking forward to (and you will not have to deal with this person). Do something small to make yourself feel better- just like the oyster. Think about this the next time you want to be “an irritant” back to the person who is irritating you. My mother used to say… never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it. The last thing we want to do is be an irritant ourselves. Take the high road and be an oyster!