My Pet Peeve

by Mark Ivar Myhre on April 18, 2011

A long-time subscriber whom I consider a friend, even thought we’ve never met in person, recently asked me about my pet peeves.  What bothers me?  What pushes my buttons?

It used to be quite a few things, actually.  I was like one big giant red button with a hair-trigger, just waiting for the slightest breeze so I could explode in righteous indignation.  Or some other equally-unlofty expression.  But a funny thing happened over the years.

I actually started to take responsibility for my buttons being pushed. Without even knowing I was being responsible.  I just figured that somehow, I played a part in my buttons being pushed.

Look at it.  Whose buttons are we talking about here?

My buttons were being pushed.  My buttons.  The mechanism was inside me.  I am the one who determines what happens when that button is pushed… when someone does or says something that bothers me.

I might not have any control over what someone else does or says, but I am certainly in charge of my reaction to what they do.  So I started thinking about it.  I started to try to figure out that mechanism.  I wanted to understand myself better.

And I didn’t want to give my power away to others.  Which is exactly what happens when you ‘explode in righteous indignation’ because someone else has pushed your buttons.  I didn’t want that.  So, I decided to work on myself.  Trying to understand why I would react so… stupidly.

Eventually I discovered my emotional wellspring – which lies deep in my solar plexus.  It’s the culmination of an emotional pathway that brings raw thought and feeling into me.  It’s the source of my power.

I decide – I choose – by my will – what I’m going to think and feel.
And at this point in my life, I think and feel what I want to think and feel almost all the time.  I feel whatever I want.  But it wasn’t always this way.  It took me a while to clean out the pollution – the muck and the mire – that clogged up my emotional pathway and my emotional wellspring.

See, if I’m carrying around a full glass of anger, and you bump my arm, then of course I’m going to get angry.  Or if I’m carrying around a full glass of pity, or of fear, or of hurt…

It’s common sense.  No mystery there.  But once I learn that I need to just feel those feelings (even the pity!) without telling myself a story about those feelings… then I can feel and release that clogged-up energy.

So now, when my buttons get pushed, it causes me to laugh.  That’s how I’ve changed my mechanism.  I cleaned out the emotional pollution, and took back my power.  I quit telling myself so many outlandish stories about why I’m angry or sad or scared or whatever.

Plus, if someone were to try to manipulate or control me, I can see it a mile away.  And I can laugh about it. Now, it’s funny when my buttons get pushed.  Usually, anyway.  I still have a pet peeve or two.  And now, here’s my number one pet peeve:

Arguing for my own limitation. Or, when I see someone else arguing for their own limitation.   That still pushes my buttons.  Sadly, I see it everyday.

Wow!  I just had an epiphany!  I haven’t forgiven myself for arguing for my own limitations! Hold on while go deal with that…


Okay, I’m back.  No, seriously.  I did just go forgive myself.  Because anytime  I feel a ‘welling-up’ of emotion, or a bunch of sorrow coming up, then I know there’s a forgiveness somewhere in there that needs to happen.  And then I’m like –

“Stop the world.  Hold everything.  Mark has to go forgive himself.”

Generally, if I feel the need to forgive myself for something, that takes precedence over almost anything out in the world that I may be doing.  It’s funny, but my thousands of pages of processing notes are littered with a little design I write:  It’s a circle, and inside the circle I write “PUSH A BUTTON”.

(Boy, if I just had a nickel every time I wrote that little design…!)

It’s all part of the process of clearing out that emotional wellspring so I can feel what I want to feel.  I write down that little design every time I feel the welling-up of emotion. Then I’ll stop and forgive myself.

You see?  I act on that emotion.  I proactively engage those thoughts and feelings.  That way, I can empty out that glass of anger, or sadness, or hurt, or pity…  Because I want to be FREE.

I want freedom from the prison and poison of trapped emotion.  (Trapped in my stories and attempts to control.)   And I want freedom to feel whatever I want to feel. I want the freedom to laugh when my buttons are pushed.

Okay, so I just forgave myself for arguing for my own limitations.  Does that mean I’ll stop doing it?  Maybe.  More likely, I’ll do it less.  And I’ll be much more aware when I’m doing it.  So it will slowly lessen over time.  I’ll gradually change over the next day, week, month, whatever.  That’s what I expect.  A gentle healing.

That’s what I’m willing to allow.  So that’s probably what will happen.

Just so you know, here’s the formula – the bigger the button, the louder the reaction when it’s pushed; then the greater the healing can be when you forgive yourself for it.  And the greater the freedom you’ll feel after that forgiveness.

But why would somebody do something as crazy as argue for their own limitations in the first place?  Well, when you dig beneath the arrogance, you’ll surely find a root of fear.  Fear.  Afraid to admit how powerful they are.  Afraid of what might be expected of them.  Afraid to face and resolve the pain of the past.  Afraid of what the neighbors will think.  Afraid of being afraid.


When you push through the fear by being proactive…  by forgiving yourself…  then you’re closing the gap that creates the separation… the separation that creates the pain.  The pain that comes from being separate from yourself and your power.

The funny thing about arguing for your own limitation is that it usually goes unrecognized.  We don’t realize when we’re doing it.  It’s such an ingrained habit from childhood.  But it’s easy to see why we do it.

We’ve been taught and conditioned to believe we’re not powerful.  Put your faith – and your power – in society, in the government, in some ‘outside authority’ – put it in anything but yourself.  Don’t believe in yourself.  Instead, believe in something outside yourself.  That’s where your safety and security lies.  That’s where you find love.  That’s where you find happiness.  That’s what you need to do.

Look anywhere but inside.  Put your faith in anything but yourself.  Give your power away any way you can – just don’t use it yourself.  Believe in the system.  It’s what everyone else does.  You want to fit in, don’t you?  You want to be loved, right?  You want to belong?

Then you need to argue for your own limitation.  It’s such a simple solution.

How do we do it?  By telling ourselves, over and over, that we really are a victim of circumstances, there really is nothing we can do, it really is up to some outside authority.  I can’t change the world; I can barely change myself.  I’m not important.  I don’t matter.  I’m not worth it.

It really is a dog-eat-dog world.  It really does matter what others think about me.  You really do have to struggle.  The world really is a small square little box.  Reality is really not fluid and flexible.  And time really is a straight line.  These are a few examples.

So what is arguing for your own limitation?  It’s a form of shame; a form of self-punishment.  I put myself down before you can put me down.  And don’t get me started on that…

When you argue for your own limitations, you’re putting yourself in a prison.  Where you’ll be ‘safe’.  Safe from your own majesty and magnificence.

Too bad it’s so painful.  But I’m just not ready to look at my goodness, truth and beauty…  Not yet.  Someday…

In the meantime, I’ll pretend I don’t deserve.  Which always leads to struggle.

That’s my pet peeve.


Silvia April 18, 2011 at 10:41 am

It’s a very interesting article, dealing with one of the more profound and destructive habits of the human mind, but still, no real solution. Nobody can find a real solution for others, because each person needs to find it for him/herself. The option of stopping, recognizing the push and drawing a button or consciently doing something else in place of automatically being involved with the hurricane of the emotion, seems to be a good start point, but most of the people are not capable of stopping, most of the people are not able to distinguish between stimulus and reaction, most of the people cannot take care of their attention/perception processes, at least not enough to succeed at this, and then all this pretension become a new burden for them, something else at what they are not good enough.
There are no easy fixes for the human mind. Maybe the easiest one would be to understand the essential goodness inherent to everything, begining by oneself…

Mark Ivar Myhre April 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I agree that working with essence can help. The trick is to get to it so you can feel it and let it heal you and change you.

From my experience, it can be the essence of anything – ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – that can heal you. You just got to experience that essence. I haven’t found an easy way to do that yet.

And sorry, I guess I wasn’t clear enough in my article. It’s not about the other person. Not at all!

It’s not about artwork.

It’s not about automatic response.

And it’s not about an easy fix for the human mind. There’s nothing that needs to be ‘fixed’ – in my opinion. It’s about an easy way to heal the human heart.

And my solution is to stop telling myself stories about my feelings. Instead, just feel the feelings! That way, they can pass through me. I bring things into my heart. EVERYthing. That’s what works for me.

It’s keeping things at arm’s length that creates the problems. Especially the feelings I don’t want to feel. Or trying to control those feelings in some way.

And I believe people ARE capable of mindfulness… If they want to be. It’s so tempting to stay asleep, though… It’s so tempting to blame… It’s so tempting to be righteous…

Lynn Loring April 21, 2011 at 10:48 pm

true, but, let us not forget, that every authentic word of hope given to another “being”, is part of a great construct of the true beauty of humanity. So, if authentic, the tiniest affirmation of our inherent worthiness from another plays a part in a huge plan. Also, Yes, I agree we must take responsibility for “re parenting” ourselves so to speak, but it can not come from with in us. Only the desire for it can. We truly need authentic affirmation of our worthiness from another human or even animal. We also can find the beginnings of self worth when some one points us to stop and allow beauty from nature to affirm us. Yes, it takes inner dialog, but that dialog needs a person outside of ourselves. This is a hard truth for many because of the fear of loss of control. If you believe we all need authentic re parenting, affirming, etc. from outside ourselves, we loose control. Very scary, yet the results are miraculous!

Karah Fisher Madrone April 18, 2011 at 10:43 am

Wow. Good timing today. Painful argument in the house. Buttons pushed. Great to click on the screen and open a message with some perspective.

I learned long ago the deep importance and freedom of forgiveness as I forgave my parents. I’ve done a lot of living…and fearful living since then. Now I get to go even deeper, and forgive myself.

I’m noticing what a big difference it is to forgive someone else for something that has already happened…and forgiving myself for something I’m still living and creating.

It feels harder and blurrier. Would welcome thoughts on this.


Mark Ivar Myhre April 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm

There’s a difference between forgiving yourself and forgiving another. I believe forgiveness often happens in stages, or steps. Especially the big things.

And I believe it’s always – always – always – more important to forgive yourself than to forgive the one who ‘done you wrong’. If you don’t forgive yourself first, then you’re keeping victim energy alive in the situation.

But I don’t think that’s what you’re asking here.

You’re saying it’s harder to forgive yourself for your present actions, behavior, etc. than it is to forgive some past issue.

There could be many dynamics here.

Something unrelated to the present could be keeping the pattern in place. Such as, inner child or inner adolescent issues. A part of you is determined to be heard, and right now it’s not.

There could be power locked away that needs to be retrieved.

Or, there could be a lack of doing the entire forgiveness process. Maybe you’re just skimming though it without going through all the steps. Maybe you’re burying the past, and calling it forgiveness.

Or, there could be some pain that’s keeping the lack of forgiveness in place. Or some other blockage, for that matter.

Or, maybe you’re still getting something out of the thing you want to forgive. There’s some hidden payoff that you don’t really want to give up.

But if you’re feeling ‘blurry’ in some way, that’s usually indicative of some other part of you that’s resisting the forgiveness.

I would suggest seeking out and asking whichever part of you is resisting the forgiveness. Talk to them, and see what they have to say. That can be a very eye-opening experience! I’d start with your inner child. But that’s just me.

Lynn Loring April 21, 2011 at 10:53 pm

I wish I could give words of wisdom as you asked, but you already posted them! As the saying goes, “it doesn’t get any better than this”. Well, your post also fits ” it doesn’t get any better than this”. I think Mark agrees. Yes, who would have guessed. Your post is awesome. Thank you for your authenticity and desire to go to the trouble to share such painful truth. Yes, forgiving of self, thanks to the childhood lies, is the hardest. I hurt. Yet, I rejoice!

Walter W. April 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Dear Mark , thanks for your insightfulness on something that I needed clarity on . This is a tremendous help for my dealing with self , family , spirit . I’m an individual , but just like you , that’s the Wizardry part . I found in my study with you an others that , I was putting my feelings first and thoughts second . This is what I found hidden in , My Pet Peeve , to me .
Putting my thoughts first , Thoughts are all sacred , this opened up a channel to the Creator , which , enables my faith , by putting ,GOD , first , as I am asked to do in my Faith . Why ? Because it works for our good . Why ? Finding fault , fear , doubt , disbelief are not thoughts but feelings , we’re easily lead to slaughter by being anxious , another feeling , to realize our motto , Keep is Simple . Now , about those feelings you are full of , let them
flow out and realize this is the Truth , without feelings, I would not know what it is to be alive as a Human-Being , but a Human-Doing what my emotions dictate . This to me is the understanding , I have emotions from day one to last day . It’s what position I was taught in life to put them in by the time I’m ready to put them in the right position, (second), that works . I’m considered too old to learn but that’s not an option for me . I appreciate your eloquence in writing , Mark . I hope I haven’t butchered this beyond an appreciation for the help you are to me .
Thanks .

Lynn Loring April 21, 2011 at 10:56 pm

I don’t know how old you are, but I’m 51. Sooooooooooooo, never too old to grow, because we will still grow from the place we leave this time sphere, into eternity. So, might as well, grow now! Thanks for such a thoughtful post.

Martty April 22, 2011 at 11:36 pm

You are a good friend Mark and I appriciated your response to my question. I think you should create that button with all the emotions recorded in laughs, sighs, groans, etc. and then people could “juice” them out to find the one that works best. There would be no arguing limitations and NO BODY CAN PUSH MY BUTTON BUT ME!!! Wouldn’t that be powerful? lol Thank you for laying it all out so well as usual. 🙂

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