Wouldn’t life be great if everybody treated us respectfully, thoughtfully and kindly? And, had the same high opinion of us as we have? The problem with people is that they are people; each buoyed about in life with their own issues, life experiences and personalities. Including us. Whether they are acquaintances, family or strangers we have to deal them where they are and as they are. And, let’s face it, some people are just a challenge to deal with. Their emotional chemistry is at odds with our own. As I teach in my Ethics classes, you can never change the heart of another person. Lord knows we try. The only person we can change is ourselves, and that with help from above. But, there are several things we can do to help us deal with difficult people. The following are proven suggestions that might help you in the pursuit of “getting along.” I will use the acronym, D.E.A.L.. Obviously, this is an abbreviated teaching. But, just implementing these strategies can work wonders.
(1) Do Good. There are many ways we can respond to difficult people. One challenging, yet effective, action is to do good to them. Be the bigger person. Don’t reward evil for evil, but good for evil. Revenge and retaliation are steps in the wrong direction. Besides, your selfless and kind responses may lead to their turning point. You never know. And, you have no idea what their life circumstance might be,
(2) Express Blessing. Here is a good action, speak blessing on those who hurt you or offend you. You have no idea the power of the tongue to produce blessing and cursing. A kind response can work wonders. By doing so you can speak “life” into a hurting person’s world. A kind word, a thankful response and appropriate blessing can diffuse combative situations.
(3) Award Them. You want a powerful tool in dealing with a difficult person? Invest in their lives something of value. That might be doing something for them unexpected or giving them something of value, with no thought of getting anything in return. We all treasure our time, our abilities and our money. Invest any of those into another person’s life and watch how it changes your heart. Where your treasure is there your heart will be.
(4) Let Go. Bitterness is a dirty life condition based on unforgiveness towards a perceived wrong. In our world today we have become thin skinned without the grace to endure someone different than us, or with a different perspective. One of the first things I look at in evaluating a person’s maturity is how easily they are offended. Fools act offended. The conscious choice to live offended is a conscious choice to become your own god, as if it is your responsibility to punish the offended. You will live and sleep better by letting go. Ask for and extend forgiveness.
Lastly, I would say to you practice the greatest gift of all. . . Pray for the other person. One sure fire technique in marital counseling is to ask the couple to individually pray for the other right then, and in their daily prayer time. You cannot pray for someone and hate them at the same time. Let me recommend you read the book or watch the movie, The Shack. It will help refocus how we respond to others. We are all just too self focused. Remember, despite what Drake says, we all live twice, not once. Do the right thing. There are eternal rewards.