Mental Poison

I am a passive control freak. Which means that I organize my life just the way I like it and I get really annoyed when someone else comes along with their way of how things should be done. Yet I won't do anything about it. Instead I'll let these little annoyances fester in my head, building up with successive annoyances until my thoughts are circling around the culprits imagining everything I'd like to do to them for bringing chaos to my world. Mental poison.

A recent example of the kind of annoyance I'm talking about was highlighted in an argument I watched on an episode of 'Australian Big Brother 6' between contestants Camilla and Darren. Camilla had cut herself some pieces of bread and Darren was incensed that she'd cut slices from the new loaf instead of cutting them from an already started, existing loaf.

Now, obviously, I fall on Darren's side of the argument. Who in their right mind starts a new loaf of bread when a previous loaf is still to be finished? However Camilla's answer to all of Darren's assertations on the evils of starting the new loaf was "It's bread!". She was right, end of discussion. "It's bread!"

Darren stewed on this for hours...possibly even days...I'm not sure but if he's anything like me - it was days.

In a way they were both right. A loaf of bread will stay fresher on the inside if you don't cut it. Therefore it will store for a little longer whilst you finish the previous loaf - which is drying up at a speeder rate due to having been cut (see I understand Darren completely). However, at the end of the day, it's bread. The universe will not cave in on its self if per chance somebody should start the new loaf early. Annoying to some? Yes. Worth stewing over for hours? No. Mental Poison.

This kind of thing happens to me all the time except I don't confront the person, I go straight to the quietly annoyed stage. I won't stew over it for hours but I do make a mental note that so-and-so hasn't stacked their dirty dish on the sink, yet again. They've just placed it anywhere and, look there's still at least a mouthful of food on it. They could've at least scraped that off into the bin.

I think this way about dishes because I wash dishes a lot in our house. Stacking dishes neatly in an ordered way makes it seem like there is less dishes to be done and thus not such a big job. As opposed to other people's houses where they just place dirty dishes on the sink one on top of the other, wherever they can find a place that the thing will balance without crashing to the floor. I know, that if you stacked these dishes neatly, they'd take up at least one third of the space they currently take up.

Food is one of the main things that annoys me. Just like the bread issue, in my house we have a lot of food items that people will start off the new bottle, packet, jar or container of when there is still, clearly, enough left in the previous bottle, packet, jar or container for at least another full serving. Once the new item has been started they won't touch the old one. It just goes to waste and gets thrown out. Why do they do that? Don't they know there are starving people in developing countries that wouldn't dream of wasting food like that? Just finish off the old one first would you! Mental poison.

When I go grocery shopping, I'm the kind of person that likes to organize how things are placed in the trolley. Cold stuff together. Boxes together. Cans together. Drink bottles and other heavy items together. Fresh vegetables together. Cleaning fluid and laundry items together. I do this because firstly more things will fit in the trolley and secondly because when I transfer stuff through the checkout the operator will pack things roughly how I have them ordered - without me needing to say anything. Other people don't do this, including my partner. It doesn't annoy me as much but if people only knew what I know about organizing their shopping trolley how much better their lives could be. Mental Poison.

When you think about it...people who don't stack dishes still get their dishes washed. None of that food going to waste will ever feed some starving child in a developing nation and people who don't organize their groceries in their shopping trolley still get through the check out in about the same amount of time. The difference is all these people have done less thinking and been less concerned about things that don't really matter in the big scheme of things that is their life.

Being a passive control freak is bad for your mental health (in case you hadn't understood the term 'mental poison'). I could complain about every little thing and impose my way of doing things on everyone else but how much fun would I be to live with? Plus that would make me an aggressive control freak...which I'm not (I did mention the 'passive' bit right?).

No matter how much you want things to be done your way, you can't control every other person. You have to let go of the little annoyances for the sake of your own health or they start to consume you (see my blog article - The Black Dog with Fire Eyes). Free up your mind from mental poison and use your time to think about stuff that really matters.

In life some things are 'just bread'.

- TET
August 6, 2006

5 comments:

  1. Hey Tet... i happened to catch dr.phil the other day and there was a girl on it who stacked her trolley in the same way, he said it is actually a way that she manages her anxiety and said that they put up more info on the website for managing anxiety better. I made a mental note to check it out and thought I would mention it here.
    Lauren.

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  2. I, as you may know, am one of those 'tidy-minded' people who like to do things in a certain way - that's probably where you get it from! (however, I will do things another way the same as another person does, if it seems to be a better way, if I hadn't thought of it!)

    What I would like to point out, is that people who do things like starting other foods before finishing up another, and not stacking their dishes tidily or leaving food on their plates at the sink etc, etc, leave a trail of debris for us other 'tidy-minded' people to clear up and deal with whilst they go on their 'merry way' not giving a damn!

    Even worse, if they have been told and ignore it, either delibrately (worse still) or absent-mindedly. (a bit forgiveable, but still annoying, especially if they aren't trying to remember!)

    It might be alright for them to not 'give a damn' and do their own way, if they live on their own and can accept the consequences, such as clearing their own mess up (if they are so inclined, or maybe not) but if you live with someone, you should apply yourself a bit better and have consideration for the other person, or others in the household! If you really care about someone, you will do these little things to please them, unless they are rediculous or paranoid things of course, in which case - you are excused!

    I have my own four-wheeled trolley to take around the super market now, so can't organise it as well as I'd like to, being limited for space, but I used to do the 'trolley' thing, and it does make it easier for packing! Infact some supermarkets did used to have a notice up asking you to keep certain items altogether, such as meat, tinned stuff, cleaning things etc to make things easier - it's common sense really, and for making room in the trolley. When I pack my shopping trolley to wheel home, it has to be packed 'just so' or things won't fit.

    So - hurray for the tidy-minded -that's what I say........even if it is 'mental poison!' You may be just right - but - I don't care, I'll just carry on regardless - I can't do the other way....it's too messy! ..........Follow me..after all...you inherited it! Blast - maybe!

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  3. Well I don't do the trolley thing to manage anxiety...I'm perfectly fine with just throwing stuff in the trolley...so long as I'm not the one unpacking it. If people don't want to make their lives easier good luck to them.

    Same with messy people. I'm nobodies personal slave. If people aren't going to clean up after themselves then they can live in their own mess. I'll just keep tidy the bits that matter to me.

    That's the point of this article. I could spend my time complaining and constantly getting angry at people who don't care or I could just do what matters most to make my life easier. Stuff trying to make other people's lives easier with my desire to live in a pleasant environment.

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  4. Tet - Wooooooooooooowwwww!

    Functionality, efficiency, orderly...Waste not want not. That includes time, Yes?! Many of the "things" we do is a product of the "pace" of the world. "If I pack my "trolley" accordingly at the market, do I not save time unpacking?" If I am preparing a meal for my family or friends do I not want to be efficient and not prepare an over abundance of food which would in "my world" mean I spent to much time and money at the market - waste, I spent to much time in the kitchen - waste, food was left on the plates meaning more cleaning time, water, soap, not to mention the food - waste, leftovers went into the Ice box, which means storing for later, removal, and extra time - waste, I can analytically breakdown every action and subsequent result. Individually each may seem trivial, but in culmination - Wooooow - Waste. And this is in ALL facets of everyones life! Not just relating to food.
    I could go on indefinintely.... Try this - If someone opens the new container/packet before the old is used, throw out the NEW one.You'll be looked at as mad. Just refuse to buy another! Mental Poison in reverse (I promise you'll laugh later - but it will be later)....Thanks...I've rambled, but I need to know there are liked minded out there.....Interesting blog dates - August??? My favorite month!

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  5. I like that idea of throwing the new packet out if opened before the old one is finished - almost tempted to try it but not quite ;-)
    I completely understand where you are coming from too on the time saving thing. I like to think a visionary is someone who thinks to stack dirty dishes, in an orderly way, on the kitchen sink draining board, as they are made rather than just putting them wherever there is a space and stacking in a disorderly manner. Saves having to sort them when you actually do the dishes (but I'm sure you know that). However, life is too short to spend it arguing over how dishes should be stacked every damn day. You can waste countless hours arguing with people who won't do things your way. Is it really worth the stress?

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