How to Love the Difficult People
Conflicts with others can start easily, and if not addressed, can remain for the rest of our lives.
A group of my friends and I were chatting about the most difficult people in our lives, and how to love unconditionally.
As a spiritual life coach I see this issue a lot!
We listed the traits that make them so difficult: not listening, shouting, bossing around, complaining all the time or not saying anything at all, withdrawing, and manipulating were some of the most popular sentiments.
The list included siblings, coworkers, ex-spouses, and children.
We then looked at how we wanted them to change. At first, we were all busy describing these altered attitudes , until someone said, “Hey! We just want them all to be the opposite of their difficult behavior.”
We all realized that immediately and laughed…
Next, we discussed how their behaviors made us feel. Another long list resulted: ignored, bossed around, small, sad, manipulated, and bullied.
Next question: will these difficult people ever change their behaviors? Resounding answer: NO! This is unlikely or even impossible for most. Many have been engaging in the same behaviors for years.
We discovered that we had gotten ourselves into a large quandary.
The difficult person is not going to change.
We are not going to change.
We are stuck with our feelings of being ignored, bullied, and bossed around for the rest of our lives!
As we searched for an answer, this question came up: how would an enlightened person deal with this situation?
We decided to meditate on this and look at our own specific situations from the perspective of ourselves being radiant with the energy of love, strength, completeness, and joy.
When we compared notes, we had some interesting revelations.
Mary said that the difficult person in her life is her ex-husband. He complains about many aspects of life, and she would like him to stop complaining. Her response is to feel powerless, to reject him, to distance herself, or to get involved in discussing how to solve his complaints.
When she viewed the situation in meditation, she saw that when she emanates love and joy, she is complete. He can come and complain, but she is relaxed and present. she is radiating unconditional love.
She saw that on a deeper level, the complaint is his way of being with her and enjoying her presence. She likened the interaction to that of a dog that barks near its owner. She felt very much at home being in the relaxed and present energy and felt that it would completely change her interactions with her ex-husband.
George saw in meditation that his difficult person is actually himself.
He has a difficult and bossy persona, a judgmental persona, a persona that lies and cheats.
When he is experiencing difficulty with another person, it is that aspect of him that is triggered. For instance, his boss can be very demanding and scattered. George recognized the part of himself that is demanding and scattered, and hates to see it in other people.
As he shared his experiences, a deeper revelation came suddenly; he said “A-ha! I AM THAT!”
He had hit upon the experience at a very physical level of being one with all the struggles. We all sat up and broke out into laughter at the sudden release of energy and joy.
You too can do this exercise; I have the notes and worksheet here for you play with. I recommend you gather a group of friends to gain even more insight.
The meditation is also written up here.
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