It's true that when we build up a feeling of resentment or anger against another person, they really don't have to ask us, "Are you angry with me?" They usually do ask, even when they think they already know the answer. We communicate our anger by body language, facial expressions, and by the short and snappy statements we make to them instead of conversing in a normal manner.
There was a time in my life when if someone asked, "Are you angry with me?" I replied, "No-o-o-o." They knew it wasn't true, I knew it wasn't true, and the matter stayed unresolved. Because I didn't like taking issue with a difficult situation involving a difficult person, we both missed an opportunity to grow together through the experience.
Our reluctance to deal with difficult people, and/or difficult situations, results in our staying stuck. What we resist we get to keep! That's how it works. Companies dissolve because management forgets to communicate with the hourly paid workers. Couples separate because they lack communication skills, or the willingness to work their way through a painful crisis. Why not take a deep breath and get the situation resolved right now?
Do you remember the story of St. Francis and the leper? St. Francis loathed the leper. He couldn't bear to see him around, even though he felt guilty about feeling that way. However, one day, a great feeling of compassion swept over him. He put his arms around the leper, blessed him, and expressed his love for him. According to the story, the leper was healed and St. Francis healed of his loathing for the leper.
Sometimes we find it as hard to bless and forgive someone as it must have been for St. Francis. But he put his arms around that body covered with sores and both were healed. The same thing happens to us when we put love to work in healing a relationship crisis. Everyone gets healed.
Holding on to "Our Story" Rather Than Stop & Listen
When we are dealing with difficult people it's hard to look at them, the loathsome ones, and say in our minds all the good things we are supposed to say. We are advised to forgive when it's so much easier to bear a grudge. If we forgave, we would have to give up the feeling of being a victim. We would have to give up our favorite stories. It would be hard to do. We've worked on them a long time, perfecting them, getting the sequence of events in the right order, omitting nothing.
Sometimes when listening to psychologists counseling people on the radio, I am amused, because the caller is determined to tell their story, all of it, each minute detail of every little moment when they felt wronged, hurt, and victimized. I can hear the psychologist sigh, trying to break into the tale of woe, but the person on the telephone just keeps going until the therapist yells, "STOP!" She wants to get to the heart of the matter.
The caller has made her point, over and over, but she is engrossed in her own personal soap opera. Although the listener called to get advice, she won't stop talking and listen. One of the radio psychologists even uses sound effects to interrupt this barrage of self pity pouring out of the telephone. It's tough trying to get through to someone who is determined to be unavailable!
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Can We Change Others?
What can we do about a difficult people? We can't change them. Can we talk to them? "But they have been hateful to me. Why can't I change them?" "Because, my dear, the only person you can change is yourself." Can we talk to them? Yes, we can. However, we must not blame them, or become angered by their resistance.
Each one of us deals with our own reality. We cannot force another person to communicate with us if they are determined not to do so. We cannot reach another person if they are determined to remain unreachable. It just means they want to stay in their playpen for now. They have a right to do that if they want to.
Many of us have been in situations where we had to deal with difficult people every day. We wished we had a genie in a bottle who would help us escape, or make them disappear!
What Can We Do About Difficult People?
What can we do about the difficult people in our lives? We can pray and ask for guidance. We can work out a plan of action and maintain a calm attitude; or wallow in our self pity and sink deeper and deeper into it. Just as the song says, "I never promised you a rose garden," -- well, life isn't all roses, in fact, when we have problem people or situations in our lives, life can seem really awful.
When we are faced with a situation that we would like to run away from, we tend to make poor decisions. When we are faced with a difficult person or problem, it is important that the decisions we make and actions we take must not be out of panic and anger, but out of quietness and an inward look for divine guidance.
We tend to become consumed by our problems. We forget that this too shall pass. We dwell on the ugliness of the person who is giving us so much trouble, and lose sight of the fact that every problem person provides us with an opportunity to practice what we preach. There is a solution to every difficult situation.
We cannot keep running from the people who are like a scratchy label on a new garment, and we can be sure that the universe will always provide us with more and more of their clones, until we learn to solve the problem of getting along with difficult people.
Changing Our Attitude Changes the Situation
If this is a life pattern for us, we can ask ourselves why we keep attracting this type of person, or this kind of situation into our experience. At one time that kind of statement used to drive me crazy. When I heard it I would say to myself, "I don't want awful people in my life; I don't like being in difficult situations. It's absolutely untrue that I attracted them!"
Later I learned that when I saw them as an opportunity for self-understanding, my attitude toward them changed. They either became my friends or went out of my life. The situations became less frequent or much improved. The others really hadn't changed that much. I had simply changed my place in consciousness. I didn't have to take a ship to Australia, or move to Alaska. All I had to do was to change my attitude.
We can be a victim or we can take courage from the knowledge that God is right in the center of the situation, and work on the solution. When we use universal principles in solving a problem, it is solved in the most wonderful way. Divine Mind, God, has this loving way which allows us to grow through everyday situations, and to experience joy when we finally understand that it was all a cosmic puzzle for us to solve.
Do you have a problem person or persons in your life? Give thanks for them and the valuable lessons they have to teach you. Give thanks for them and the lessons learned. The Universe will say, "Well done, now, here's another one for you handle. Let's see what you learn from this one."
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Delfans Publishing, Prescott, Arizona, USA. ©1998.
Getting It Right This Time: Erase the Mistakes of the Past & Create the Life You Want
by Dr. Delia Sellers.
Each chapter contains accounts/stories personal and anecdotal of human situations, problems and their resolutions. A book for those searching for the meaning of life and their own spiritual unfoldment. A metaphysical journey which most people who search for their life's purpose relate to. Humorous and insightful and goal- and prosperity-oriented.
About the Author
Dr. Delia Sellers is a public speaker, broadcaster and newspaper columnist. After several careers, Delia worked with Dr. Jack Addington and his wife, Cornelia, founders of the Abundant Living Foundation, and publishers of the monthly magazine ABUNDANT LIVING.