Saturday, 27 July 2013

On being irritable


I am an irritable person, easily irritated, prone to flashes of anger - as commenters to this blog have good cause to know, as well as my family and colleagues, I'm afraid!

This seems to be the way that I am set-up, my nature or character - and it is a double-edged defect, in the sense that I would not be blogging, and would not have written what I have (including some of the best things), nor would I have steered clear of some of the bad things I have steered clear of, unless I were irritable.

At one time, I was one of the columnist/ pundits (of whom there are many - in the Mencken tradition) whose stock-in-trade is irritability - whose writing is an extended rant about things which irritate them.

I realized that this was not a good thing to have as a life project, and that irritability needed to be absorbed into the context of a positive and constructive goal if it were not to eat-up the soul. And, fortunately, this has happened - being irritated is no longer my prime motivation for writing, merely a significant motivation and one that is embedded in a larger context - progress of sorts, I suppose...

Yet of course, irritability is a sin, and although it cannot wholly be avoided without leading worse consequences - a kind of inert zombification - it does lead to significant harm to other people as well as to myself.

As an example, an explosion of irritability in an interview led to my not being offered a job for which I wanted and needed, where I was a shoe-in - the best qualified candidate by far, and for which the interview was intended as merely a formality. But, for all my disappointment, I could not complain that the interview misrepresented my true nature - it was very much the kind of way that I do in fact behave!

As irritability is a sin, and as it cannot be avoided without worse sin of other types, the only answer is repentance (as usual...) - and to ensure that momentary explosions of insufficiently-justified anger are not allowed to fester and become permanent resentments. Not to allow irritability to tip-over into grudge.

And luckily, I am not set-up to be a person who holds grudges - indeed, I have a tendency to forget resentments (whether or not I truly forgive the person - forgetting is not itself a virtue, in the way that forgiving is a virtue/ necessity).

Anyway, this posting is intended as an apology for those commenters who have been at the sharp end of my irritability; an explanation for why this unfortunate trait is - if I am honest - not likely to change; and reassurance that it is quite likely I have forgotten all about whatever it was which irritated me.