Liquid Footprints

Dealing with Difficult People

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People are blithering, idiotic, inconsiderate, avaricious morons…

…and every one of them are enlightened. You, unfortunately, are not.

Ok, seriously think about this idea.  Even the most frustrating and obnoxious person is teaching you a lesson. Your job is to figure out what they are trying to teach you.

Normally we consider ourselves intelligent, kind, and just over all a good person. Everyone else is the problem after all.  However, if you turn this habitually way of thinking on its head what do you become? You become a perpetual student. A wise person knows that they do not know. A wise person is always learning, even from the most difficult of people they encounter. Every social encounter is a moment to learn. Approaching someone as if they are a saint, an apostle, a buddha, an angel, an imam, or any other teacher allows you to consider what you may learn from them no matter how difficult they are.

As you may know, working with the general public can often be a pain in the ass. However, next time you run across one of these pains stop and ask yourself, “What are they trying to teach me?” “What can I learn from this person?”

Patience is a muscle. If no one was difficult how else can we become more patient? At the very least, every difficult individual is a weight training exercise. Without them we can’t practice our patience. Jesus often spoke about loving enemies. We love our enemies because they help us improve ourselves. They are the best teachers we have. Without trials we can’t become a better person. In difficult situations we are presented with choices: be kind, considerate and compassionate despite how you are being treated or retort with the same negative treatment.

When we retort, we fail the lesson. Our master only gets more angry and difficult with each retort.

Now take this into our circle of close relationships. What is your spouse/girl-boy-friend/mother/father/etc trying to teach you? Considering yourself as the student during an argument forces you into listening and thinking. While if you think yourself the teacher, you are more likely to challenge and escalate a conflict. In which case, you learn nothing other than who can yell louder.

You will quickly notice that your weak areas are constantly being jabbed. This is an area you need to work at. Every time you grow angry, hurt, and just generally unloving when someone does something, you need to pay attention. A lesson is being taught. Any good teacher will teach through experience. Simply telling you to be patient or loving or compassionate doesn’t mean you will be so. You need to practice, and daily life will insure you do.

Always be a receptive student. Cherish your enemies and learn well.

Author: Chris

Wanders the world of Japanese culture and library nerdiness.

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