I’ve noticed lately that I’m getting easily offended. This came to my attention yesterday when, for the third time, I realized I was irritated.

Now, this may sound strange– so what if I’m irritated? But I have spent years and years dealing with anxiety and panic and one of the results of this is that most of my life is now spent in a kind of serene place of presence. I’m fortunate that the meds I took, the therapies I’ve worked through, the reading, the massage, the reiki, etc have all combined to help me live an extraordinarily fruitful and peaceful life.

Until yesterday. When I realized I was so darn irritated.

I took some time in the afternoon to meditate and then to sit with myself. I remembered the situations, the interactions, that offended me. I was feeling pretty peaceful and so I just held them in my mind. And I began to see a common thread. (Besides ME, of course!)

The common thread in each of the irritating situations was that I was afraid. In one I was afraid of being wrong. In another, I was afraid of making a mistake. In another, I was afraid of being manipulated. That instant of fear, that clenching, that shallow, quick intake of breath — that was the common thread.

And I remember that from days of relentless Panic and Anxiety. I remember when that physical state was my constant companion. Now, after a rather long absence, it was making an appearance. I was able to sit yesterday afternoon in my living room, looking out into the backyard, and just rest with that thought. No judgment. No fixing things. No rush to action.

And it occured to me that this is another bit of growth. That recognizing my own irritation, and my own bodily reaction to fear, I am able to BE present with fear. It doesn’t have to justify itself. It just comes. And fear doesn’t have to take up permanent residence to get my attention. I am able to look at my OWN behavior, and see what is up.

I don’t have to justify myself. I just am.

It seemed like a big insight for me. That even when I recognize some discomfort, some fear in my life, that I am still on the right path and growing and deepening in the peace I’ve chosen. I guess I used to see the problem as being that of the insensitive other. Now I see the phenomenon as the sensitive me. And when I do that, I have a choice — again — in how I want to proceed. No matter how annoying someone else is acting.

And with that insight I find myself less anxious today. Less irritated, and less agitated.