Have your feathers ever been ruffled by someone doing something you didn’t agree with, even though it had nothing to do with you?

As I was preparing to write this post, an acquaintance popped into my head. She’s a perfect example of someone who ruffles my feathers.

This acquaintance makes everything, and I mean everything, about herself. It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about, she’ll find a way to redirect the conversation back on to her. And if someone does something or says something she doesn’t like, she’ll put a passive-aggressive post on Facebook and play the “woe is me” card. It drives me nuts!! 

I want to pull her aside and say, “Hey Chica, there are other people in your world. It’s not just about you. Try focusing on them for a bit. Oh, and by the way, if someone ticks you off, rather than post some passive-aggressive BS on Facebook, why don’t you take it off Facebook? Why don’t you try having an adult conversation instead?”

Meet my judge and jury. Uh-huh. There they are finding her guilty of perceived wrong-doings.

It’s clear, based on how ruffled my feathers get, that I’ve got expectations of how she “should” behave. Ummm, that’s really not my place at all.

Here’s the REAL kicker; my feathers being ruffled doesn’t impact my acquaintance. She doesn’t know that her behavior drives me nuts. My feathers getting ruffled only impacts me and in a way that’s not cool or OK with me.

Enter the light bulb moment…my judge and jury come out most in my personal life. As a coach, I put my judgment aside, stepping outside of my “map of the world” and stepping into my client’s “map” so I can see things from their perspective.

So, it’s become pretty obvious to me that it’s not someone’s behavior that ruffles my feathers, it’s my judgment and my expectations that cause them to bristle and ruffle. 

I figure that if I can be judgment-free with my clients, I can be judgment-free with the people in my personal life. Which has led to a little experiment that, so far, is keeping my feathers from getting twisted in knots.


Have you ever watched something without feeling one way or the other about what you were observing? 

For example, maybe you’ve watched an instructional video, just taking in all the information before deciding whether or not the information was going to be of use. In that moment,  you’re being a neutral observer.

When we’re neutrally observing something, we’re not attached to it in any way. There’s no judgment but instead, there’s a curiosity to find out more.

That’s what I’ve been experimenting with, being a neutral observer when I start to feel my feathers ruffle by something someone does or says that has nothing to do with me. 

To make the experiment easier, I’ve broken it down into two simple steps.

Step 1: Being aware of how I feel. This step is pretty crucial. If I’m feeling tightness in my chest or the least bit ticked off, I check-in to see what’s causing the feelings. If those feelings are being caused by my judge & jury I go to the next step.

Step 2: Talk myself off the judge bench or out of the juror box. I usually say something like, “Hmmm, I’m just noticing that she’s talking an awful lot about herself, I wonder why?” or “That’s interesting, she seems to be upset with someone or something.”

Good-bye judge and jury, hello smoother feathers.


My friends, I’d love to hear how you keep your feathers smooth when someone does something that bugs you. Comment here or drop me an e-mail. If you don’t have something that helps, feel free to give the steps above a go. Tweak them, add to them, and make them your own.

Until next time, here’s to smoother feathers. As always, I’m sending you much peace, love, and light….

Pam Thomas, coach

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