Difficult People (part 1)
Let’s talk today about any adversity can be the catalyst for improving your life. Social science has known about post traumatic stress; however, recently social science has discovered the other side of trauma. There is the potential
for post traumatic growth. This is growth that would never have happened without the adversity of an unforeseen difficulty. It is the determination that despite what life brings, we can learn something from everyone. This growth
mindset is flexible and can create resilience even in the presence of tremendous difficulty.
People often find difficult people even more challenging than a difficult situation. So, let’s talk more about how to practically deal with difficult people. First, you’ll need to turn your attention inward. This is not our first instinct. Our first reaction is to turn outward and focus on the person who is
difficult for us. Ask yourself, what do I truly want to achieve here? What is my end goal? Now, give yourself a little time to really articulate what that goal would look like. Any difficulty can be used as a wake up call to find a treasure of important resiliences about oneself. Turn around and face yourself in times of trial – you’ll discover the key to a more joy-filled life –
truth. The truth of life is that things do fall apart. When we fight the fear of things falling apart we end of fighting the inevitability of change. We need to stop listening to the small versions of ourselves and listen to the quieter voice within. The voice that simply is… To listen to this voice is to listen to the
human soul. Soul-filled listening requires that we slow down, feel deeply, see ourselves clearly and often times wait. It is in times of brokenness that we find our most meaningful and wise song. In this listening you may learn how you get stuck in investing so much effort in making sure people know how
others have done wrong. You may look up to others as superhuman so that you yourself don’t need to be motivated to take action; after all, you’re just
not like them. They’re the exception. No one expects you to do that. You focus on others either villainizing them or making them the victors. This is the most important step and it will usually show you values which will motivate you to carry on through the next steps. After you take time to soothe through, meditation, mindfulness activities, psychotherapy or prayer,
you’ll have a deeper truth, a truth that simply is. Next, put your truth into a specific statement meant to start a conversation with a specific person you find challenging. Here’s a sentence stem I use frequently. “When you did “X”, I was thinking “Y” and felt this (emotion). It’s resulted in “Z”- this is
the cost that has resulted due to the behaviour. Let’s look at an example. An employee is careless about where items are left in the staff only area, and the
room has become messy as a result. One employee ends up telling another employee to clean up repeatedly and ends up doing the cleaning up himself to
avoid the constant tension. As a result, less gets done, there is tension in the staff area and the two seldom look at each other or talk. The two employees can talk in a quiet place, one-on-one and invite feedback. For example, “When you leave these items in piles like this here (points to area), I’m thinking that you’re leaving these items here on purpose to irritate me, I feel
stuck. It’s resulted in our company getting less floor time with the customers, less sales and less in bonuses. Plus you and I rarely talk now. I’d like to hear what’s really going on. My goal here is to make this an enjoyable and clean place to work.” The other employee is invited to respond. Even if the two
see the situation differently, if they talk, and focus on the common goal, there will be some common agreement. Finally, as they talk and there is contribution from both of them, there will be more motivation implementing the solution, as they share ownership for how to solve their problem. Although talking with difficult people is truly taxing, it builds your own resiliency and strength. It helps to be future focused. I can learn something
from everyone. Even though it’s difficult to relate to this person, I can learn something by doing it. Finally, speak with tentative words and avoids absolutes. If you’d like to talk about overcoming adversity and talking to people when it’s difficult, feel free to contact me. Now, go make the most of your day!
Give yourself a thinking break and let your mind rest. Be refreshed and notice how much better your mind is able to take on the rest of your day.
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Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the courage to have creativity in response to it.