We often find ourselves being triggered when we deal with difficult people. Knowing how to stay balanced and learning from these connections is the key to handling them. (Estimated reading time: 3 minutes)
“Difficult people are the greatest teachers.”— Pema Chödrön
If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve encountered your share of difficult people along the way. You may have come across them in various setting such as your school, workplace, social circles and even in your own family.
It goes without saying that relationships, whether personal or professional, are not always smooth sailing, and they will inevitably go through bumpy periods. There’s nothing abnormal about this; but it becomes a problem when conflict becomes a recurring pattern. When drama and uneasiness define a relationship, it strongly indicates a need for us to reevaluate it.
Whenever I encounter someone with a difficult personality who is consistently a pain to deal with, I ask myself these questions before reacting and responding to them:
- Is their behavior due to carelessness, lack of information, a foul mood or immaturity?
- What are their intentions? What’s driving their behavior?
- Do they have my best interests at heart? Are they ill-intentioned?
But no matter what the other people’s intentions are, I believe that every relationship that we have in our lives, whether harmonious or stormy, mirrors something going on within us.
When we’re open to exploring why we attracted this person into our life and what they have to teach us, we’ll see that even the most difficult people can teach us valuable lessons and give us insight into our persona.
If we don’t pay attention and take note, we will continue to attract the same kind of relationship dynamic into our life, but with different people, until we get the lesson that the Universe is trying to teach us. I’ve seen this happen so many times in both my life and the lives of others.
So what are some self-preserving strategies that can help us deal with difficult people when we’re being triggered by their behavior toward us?
More importantly, how can we understand the purpose behind this persons presence in our life and use the wisdom as a vehicle for our growth? Here are some steps that can help you in this process:
1. Determine how important the relationship is to you: The amount of effort you put into a specific relationship should be in direct proportion to how important that relationship is to you. For instance, you’ll put in more effort to improve things with a family member versus an acquaintance.
2. Figure out why being triggered by them: Is it the attitude, behavior, personality or appearance? Are you judging them based on personal standards/values/principles and “rules” that you uphold? What kind of emotions do your interactions with them bring to the surface?
3. Question their intentions: Based on your past interactions, context and what you know about this person, get a sense of their intentions. Follow your intuition in this process. If you find it hard to be objective get the advice of people who are neutral and whose opinions you trust.
4. Decide how you want to handle it: After you gather enough information and reflect on it, the next step is deciding how you would like to move forward with the relationship. Do you want to have an honest talk with the person to let them know how you feel? Do prefer to spend less time with the person and build stronger boundaries? Is eliminating the person from your life the healthiest thing to do?
The people you surround yourself with has a strong impact on your wellness and success. You absorb everything from others on a subconscious and energetic level, so choose your company wisely. Be around those who raise your vibration to higher levels and bring out the best in you.
All my best on your journey,
Question for you: How do you deal with difficult people? How do you respond when you find yourself being triggered?
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