Handling difficult people

By Julia Fernandes

August 2, 2011


You can be the most wonderful human being, good to the core, never hurting anybody. Yet, you will sometimes find yourself facing the gigantic task of dealing with the most difficult people in your life. It has happened with me and I sometimes wonder why?


I am a non-confrontationalist; I hate conflicts. I give advice only when I am asked to; otherwise I keep my mouth shut. I usually never interfere in anyone’s affairs, yet my experience has shown that being good does not stop people from picking up on you. Being non-interfering does not stop others from interfering and meddling in your life.


We encounter so many kinds of people in our entire life span -- good, bad, funny, rude, arrogant, humble. Every person either adds or takes away something from your life. Being a positive person myself, I always look and search for the good in other people I meet. When I encounter their negative traits, I ignore to the maximum possible extent I can. I just overlook it. I tell myself, I am not perfect, so why and how can I expect others to be perfect?


But what confounds me is when we have to handle difficult people, who can either be a part of our close family circle or friends circle or work area of our life. I am talking of those people whom even if we want to we cannot avoid or wish away. Day in day out we have to face them. They do not make you feel good in any way yet you have to look in their face and talk to them. They drag you into arguments and squabbles you don’t really want to get into.


The initial and most natural response towards difficult people is to pay them back in their own coin. It appears to be the most sensible thing to do. But settling scores just makes you feel like your tormentor. The line distinguishing you and the difficult person just melts away. And that is not a good feeling -- to know that somebody has changed the niceness in you and brought out something you do not really wish to identify with.


Beware. Difficult people can bring out your nastiest side -- introducing you to an alien element of your nature. They do have the power to change you for the worst. So, how do you deal with such people and yet retain your sanity and preserve the goodness within you? From my experience I have learnt one thing -- to accept the fact that such people will be around in my life for some time.


Once that fact is accepted, I admit to myself that I cannot change that person for the better though I can only wish for the same. The least I can do is pray. You may see a marginal improvement over the years in their behaviour towards you but more or less they remain the same. In very rare cases, some persons could have done a 360 degree turnaround in their basic nature from being difficult to becoming a good person.


So, while the difficult person remains what he/she is, I stick to being what I am. I have learnt you don’t have to be difficult to deal with difficult people. A difficult person gives you the opportunity to exercise every single nerve of patience and emotional resilience in your body and mind. And that’s what I do. I tell myself it is exercise time!


Do not allow a difficult person to make you a bad or a bitter person. Give that person in prayer and thought to God. And keep praying to God to give you the graces and strength to hold on to your core self. Handling difficult people becomes easy when you just hand them over to God!

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