The other day I was eating lunch and my phone rang. When I saw who was calling I said to myself, “F**k. Not again,” as a pushed the decline button. I didn’t want to talk to her because it was lunchtime, AND I didn’t want to talk to her because I consider her to be a complete pain in the ass.
Do you have these kind of people in your life?
Those people who you avoid like the plague because you don’t want to deal with whatever comes your way--the criticism, the negativity, the complaints, the anger, the whatever.
And when you finally do interact with them, it’s like the perfect storm. Their negativity combined with your reluctance and judgments, leading to even more misunderstanding and frustration.
So what do you do? What do I do?
I chose to feel like it. I chose to reframe how I think of them.
I am never going to FEEL like interacting with a difficult person.
I am never going to WANT to interact with a difficult person.
I am never going to ENJOY interacting with a difficult person.
I am never going to CONNECT with a difficult person.
Instead I chose NOT to think of them as difficult.
I chose NOT to think of them as a pain in the ass.
I chose NOT to think of them as the enemy.
Instead, I chose to think of them as a HUMAN BEING who has some hidden shit going on that is causing them to act the way they do.
And when the reframe doesn’t stick (which is often the case), I do something that makes me FEEL LIKE IT, right before interacting with them. In the case of this pain-in-the-ass-woman, I danced around my office for a bit, smiled really BIG, set an INTENTION TO CONNECT, and picked up the phone.
I didn’t wait to feel like--I called her.
I didn’t sit around and ponder what she was going to say and how I would respond--I called her.
I didn’t analyze all of our past interactions--I called her.
I didn’t practice my French--I called her.
THE RESULT: I still got off the phone thinking she was a pain-in-the-ass, but we had a successful conversation where we connected, understood one another, and can move forward.
Not every interaction is going to be EASY, but there are ways to make it EASIER.
P.S. Even the word “dealing” and "difficult" have a negative connotations, don’t you think?
Courage. Compassion. Connection.