Do you have a particular THAT person that makes you crazy to be around? There are certain people that can trigger a strong reaction of anger, fear, or aversion just to be around them. Unfortunately some of these people are in-laws, family members, bosses, employees, co-workers, classmates, fellow volunteers, teachers, or other unavoidable persons. How can you stay calm while having such upsetting reactions? How can you keep a clear mind and act in productive and appropriate ways? Here are some tips on how to get along with difficult people.
Rule Number One in Life: You are accountable for your experience. How you feel, think, and act is completely your responsibility. You are responsible for your reactions. No one can make you feel anything. Others can trigger a response but your feelings are yours alone. As you mature through life you will find that your responses change. If you don’t mature you will continue to feel and act as you did as a child or teenager.
Here is something that may be helpful in dealing with difficult people. Consider that there may be something about that person’s demeanor that triggers upsetting emotions in you that doesn’t trigger other people. It may be a memory or forgotten event or person that upset you in the past. Begin by asking yourself what being with that person causes you to feel about yourself. If you feel angry, sad, hostile, resentful, helpless, victimized, or confused you may be reacting to a core belief you carry about yourself. Being with THAT person may cause you to feel unworthy, not listened to, inadequate, embarrassed, ashamed, discounted, out of control, unsafe, or lacking in some way. If your emotions are strong it is likely you are reacting to something or someone in the past that made you feel the same way. Seeking professional help from a qualified therapist will help you understand and transform how you feel. It is likely that doing this will free you from many other conflicting conditions in your life.
No one is perfect. Everyone is going to have some manner, value system, or personal issue that may rub you the wrong way. Sometimes accepting others’ foibles will release you from your negative response. If you are judgmental or react in a negative way, THAT person will feel it and react to you. In fact, you may be considered to be THAT person to them. Acceptance can go a long way.
Another thing to consider is the issue of confrontation. If you fear and/or avoid confrontation you may be aiding in creating the problem. Sometimes a direct conversation can solve a problem and open the door to at least a tolerable relationship. Saying what you want and not necessarily how you feel can give THAT person some direction. They may not know that you require something to feel comfortable or empowered in their presence. Learning win-win communication skills is a powerful and necessary part of creating a good relationship.
Fearing confrontation can be a learned response from childhood. It is important that you overcome that fear enough to address challenging people and conditions. Seek the help of a qualified therapist if you are encumbered by this fear. You deserve to have control of your life. Avoiding confronting difficulties makes you a victim and robs you of your happiness and peace of mind.
All of this being said here is a powerful tip for staying calm when with THAT person. The instant you recognize your feelings of being upset, inwardly slow yourself down. Find your center. Say to yourself, “I am worthy. I am in control of how I think, feel, and react. I am in control of myself at this moment. I am in control of this situation. I will communicate and react in ways that keeps me centered in myself and calm.”
Remember, you are responsible for your experience. Upsetting people are one of your greatest opportunities to grow and learn how to master yourself. Have the courage and wisdom to look first at yourself for how you react. Face your own fears and take charge of every moment of your life. You are worthy, my friend, of this kind of peace of mind.