How to Be Less Petty in Life

The word “petty” comes from the word petit— or small.

Don’t let small matters bother you, upset you, or distract you.

You were born for greater things. You were born for a great destiny. You are a great person. So why be bothered by the petty, the small, and the pointless?

For me, I feel petty thoughts often. I get annoyed by little things that Cindy says or does. Or sometimes I feel annoyed by some comments I read online.

Yet whenever this happens, I try to re-center myself, and ask myself: “Am I being petty? Am I concerning myself with small and petty matters? Aren’t I greater than this?”

You are bigger than that


Be the bigger person. Don’t let pettiness distract you or detract you.

Always be kind, generous, and loving.

How can we learn how to be less petty?

Some ideas:

  1. Realize that 99% of what happens in our life is not a big deal. Learn how to shrug it off— imagine water slipping off the back of a duck.
  2. Don’t linger on negative thoughts, emotions, or past actions. Learn your lesson, and move on.
  3. Try to empathize for the other person: did someone try to deliberately hurt or annoy you? Or are they just in a really bad mental state right now, and they’re actually trying to call you for help?
  4. Ask yourself: “If I were on my deathbed — would this matter bother me?” If not, forget and move on.
  5. Wait a day: Whenever I feel petty about something, I generally try to wait for a day before responding, or acting. 99% of the time, pettiness fades, and I forget it. If I react to a petty thought or action, I usually end up regretting it.

Be non-small

Don’t be petty in life. Be great, and non-small.


Learn more: Stoic Philosophy >

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