They’re out there, aren’t they?
Sometimes you can walk away.
Sometimes you can leave them behind.
Sometimes, because they’re family or a next-door neighbor – they’re going to be part of your life until the end of days – or until you move.
In any case, whether brief or excruciatingly lengthy – you have to deal with them.
The first and best way, I think, is to have compassion. Difficult people are struggling. Give ’em a break. Give ’em a hug. Listen to them. Unless it becomes the same lament (or some variation on the theme) over and over and over again. At some point, they need to work on whatever it is that’s making them difficult. It’s not up to you to fix or change someone else. You can love them – but you can’t fix them.
Another thing I’ve had to learn, is not to take their behavior personally. It’s not about me (or you). It might (or might not) be directed toward you, but you just learn to dodge it. Their behavior, almost without fail, is more about them. This is one of the self-empowering agreements in Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements: “Don’t take anything personally.” It’s a powerful agreement to make with yourself and will save you a whole lot of unneeded suffering.
Absolutely, don’t take any abusive behavior. Don’t let difficult people guilt you or manipulate you in any way. Stand in your own space and walk away from any of that nonsense. You have to set boundaries to ensure your own freedom and quality of life.
And speaking of standing in your own space – remain a positive role model. Focus on you being happy and retaining your sparkling clear energy. I used to work at a desk in the not too distant past, where the public could approach and I was open game. I could often literally feel myself compressing as the day went on after some of the complaining that ran the gambit of just about anything and everything (the weather, their spouse, their awful children, their travel woes). There was worry, negativity and what seemed an endless recitation of health concerns, etc. Ugh!!! I wonder if positive people realize what a refreshing break they are in someone who works with the public’s day.
There can be people in your family who want to push your buttons – on purpose or not. Learn to let it go. We all come across the Debbie Downers in our social circles. Move the other direction. Tower above those circumstances and people. Keep your energy and outlook up higher than that.
The secret? Stay positive. Take time for meditation, yoga, your morning walks, stop them in their tracks, walk away, or repeat mantras (one of my favorites for difficult people is, “I know what to ignore.”) I do and I do.
Difficult people? Have compassion with boundaries, make suggestions, smile and move on, and most importantly, keep shining. They may be trying to dish it out to you – but you don’t have to bite. They may be carrying it around – but you don’t need to make their outlook part of your reality. Negativity and being difficult, manipulative, narcissistic, etc may just be their story.
You be you.
Oh, and one last, teeny little thing we can all consider because this always makes me smile: