“Any irritation comes from pride,” writes one of the most respected saints of the Russian Orthodox Church St. Ambrose of Optina and adds the following. “How come you can be easily annoyed with another person? How come you can easily get mad with another person? It’s because you think of you higher than the person in front of you.”
This is an amazing thought and most people rarely think like this.
Calm Clinic defines Irritability as a “common symptom of anxiety – especially anxiety attacks. Those with severe anxiety often find that they’re easy to upset…” It suggests three ways to partially control it:
- Communicate Always
- Apologize Quickly
- Explain Your Needs
As you can see, out of these three the second is the closest to the thought quoted above from St. Ambrose of Optina. When you apologize out of your heart, you show your full respect and love to the person in front of you.
Once upon a time a novice approached a saint and said, “I have reached a spiritual level of unceasing prayer about which Apostle Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.” The saint answered: “That is not great. What is great is to see yourself below every created being.”
We have a homework to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matt. 5:48). The measurement of that perfection is true and selfless Love because “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). By the way, in no other religion God is known as Love. Perfect Love never puts own self above any other being because I realize that I have a log in my own eye (Matt. 7:5). I have to deal with it first. And that thought helps to humble the heart.
When I see myself below and not above the person in front of me, the pride is crushed and nothing he or she says can irritate or annoy me because I am below and not above. This may not easily convince you. But you try to crush your pride and see how sweet is the peace of Christ that like fresh air will enter and illuminate your heart.