Saturday, August 08, 2009

Naughty Gnats and Other Annoyances

Perhaps because we've had an extemely cooler and wetter than normal summer here in the Kansas City area, there are more gnats and other flying insects. How do I know this? Because at the office I've recently noticed these little fruit fly like things, gnats, or whatever you call it, hoovering around my desk at work, especially whenever I'm eating the fruits and veggies that I so often eat.

What I noticed was that day after day last week, as I worked on an undesirable project and it became more difficult and frustrating, my annoyance with the gnats increased steadily. Monday, minor irritation. Tuesday, why are they here? Wednesday, what the . . . . Thursday, okay stop it SWAT!! Friday . . . ughhhh. By Friday, I wanted to kill them literally, whatever it took.

So Friday I actually interrupted my work flow to conduct an Internet search how to get rid of gnats. Then I took an early lunch break, went out to the grocery store and armed myself with the homemade remedy recommended on several sites which is: put some cider vinegar in a small cup, along with some Dawn detergent, cover the cup with with plastic wrap poked with a few holes and held closed by a rubber band. Thus, I took the time to create these little gnat traps and put them all around my office.

Well, this sounds silly but I'm the type of person who attributes meaning to everything. Including gnats. What interested me was not so much the gnats themselves, but my reaction to them. My annoyance was about more than gnats. Maybe I'm annoyed and irritated by a lot of things. Too many things.

Then I remembered what a psychologist once told me. When something really annoys you, you have only four basic options: 1) accept the situation; 2) change it (by changing yourself or your environment since you can't always change other people nor gnats; 3) change your attitude; 4) leave (the situation, the relationship etc.) - simply eliminate it. That's it, four options in almost any life situation.

So in the case of my gnats, I'm trying to make my office environment less appealing to gnats (change the environment), and doing this by setting traps that may capture the little buggers while I'm gone this weekend.

And if all all fails, I may have to just accept and co-exist with them. I suspect I'm noticing and overreacting to their presence largely because I have to face that project and either tackle it effectively or figure out another option. The gnats were a distraction that I let myself become preoccupied with - in other words, gnats ain't the real problem. See what I mean? It's me and how I'm dealing with other things. It's also my attitude. I need to sometimes step back and not overreact to small irritations.

Many of the small things WILL eventually take care of themselves.

But I can't lose my peace of mind over a gnat.

What's "bugging" you this week? Can you change it? Can you fix it? What are you really "bugged" about?


Anonymous said...

I am so glad you posted about this problem. We came home, after ten days away, to gnats in the house because I had left bananas on the counter. (I could have sworn I took them to my Mother to use up.) I have been keeping everything put away and wiped off but am still fighting them. Now I know how to get rid of them.



Elysbeth said...

Dratted gnats. I do this as well, become focused on something "controllable" in order to avoid working on something "uncontrollable". Poor TAO knows that the day before I leave for months - don't poke the Elysbeth; she growls & bites, sometimes even if you didn't poke her.

Awareness...that's your weapon.