Throughout our lives, we meet a plethora of different and interesting people. Most of them are pleasant and kind, however, every now and then you come across someone who is difficult or hard to connect with. Over time, this person’s behaviour, if not properly managed, can start to weigh on you and make you question yourself. Learning how to manage these kinds of people is really important to maintain your inner stability and peace.
The very person you may find “difficult” can be the very person that is there to teach you something about yourself, others or life in general!
If you pay attention and get the message, it is likely you will no longer find them difficult, or they will magically be no longer part of your life. Here are some ways to deal with difficult people and allow a sense of ease and grace to return to your life.
- Do not take others’ behaviours personally. It is often impossible to tell what is going on for them and what is driving their behaviour. It is easier to sort things out if you remain neutral, if possible, during challenging encounters, as this will allow you to ask further questions. Also, you may get a better understanding of what they mean.
- If a difficult person is creating stress in your life, accept and validate your feelings without judgement. Validation allows your emotions to keep flowing (rather than getting stuck, causing emotional pain) and for you to move on.
- Consciously choose where you focus your attention. The more you think about other people and the way they are hurting you, the heavier you will feel. Your attitude, if you respond or react, determines how you feel when you are dealing with difficult people. The more you can tune into your thoughts and develop the ability to change them if they are creating stress, the more freedom it will give you. Awareness gives you the capacity to let go of any painful thoughts that you have taken on, as a result of a difficult person.
- Your greatest adversary can be your greatest friend and be seen as a gift in strange wrapping paper; for example, if someone is bullying you, you need to learn how to either stand up for yourself by removing yourself from that situation or put in place a firm boundary.
- Connect with people who fill your world with love and recognise you for the wonderful person that you are. Surround yourself with life-affirming, fun loving people, who have your best interests at heart!
- Adopt an empathetic approach by putting yourself in their shoes. Perhaps if you had their same experiences, you would feel the same way? Maybe they do not have the emotional skills to behave differently? Perhaps, if they knew a better way, they would behave in that way? However, being empathetic does not mean enabling the hurtful behaviour.
- Tune into their body language, as this will help you in letting you know how they feel about things and assist you in communicating with them. For example, if they are saying that they are fine but have their arms folded (protecting their heart and forming a barrier between you) there is a disconnection, between how they are acting and what they are saying.
- Recognise that no one is greater than yourself and hold true to that. Don’t take on others’ negative beliefs. There may be ways in which you would like to grow, behaviours that you would like to change or true feedback that is initially difficult to hear. However, it is essential to remember that your true self is a magnificent being.
In the end, you choose to set the tone of the relationship and interactions.
It is your choice whether you want to be the bigger person, or get caught up in the other person’s negativity. Choosing to ‘take the high road’ and maintain your inner stability can benefit both your own and the difficult person’s mental well-being.
Remember, the way you behave towards this person is not just a reaction to their behaviours; on the contrary, it defines and reflects on you. So make the right choice and send kindness and positivity out into the world.