Your Difficult People are an Opportunity

We all have people who drive us a little crazy and behave in a manner that frustrates us. Even with the most frustrating people there is a lesson and the irony is that each person has something special to give you, an awareness or insight into yourself —that is, if you are open to receiving it. When you take time to understand why the person upsets you it can raise your self-awareness and help you to delve down to work and heal something. The truth is this person may frustrate you because they remind you of someone in your past. If you are open to taking an honest look at yourself, you may find that the reactions you have to others give you more information about yourself than about them.

Opportunities are lost if we do not take time to assess just what it is that bothers us. If we only on their behavior and the resulting effect it has on us, then every time we see them the result will be the same. We think if they would only change than the problem will be solved, but often they will be replaced by another similar type who drives us crazy as well. If, however, we take the opportunity to look at the effect it is having on us we can learn a great deal about ourselves and it may be the key to making some personal changes.

Here are some of the things you can learn by placing your attention on yourself instead of on the other person.

1. When people push your buttons, it is often because buttons are old programs installed by past experiences and when we remember the event or person it creates internal feelings which feels as if it is happening now. The next time someone pushes your buttons focus on what you are feeling and where it is showing up in your body.

2. Our buttons are pushed because of the meaning we give an experience or the story we tell ourselves about what just happened. We perceive that someone or something is the reason our buttons are pushed, but actually we push our buttons by what is going on in our head. All too often we catastrophize what has or might happen. When buttons are pushed think of what the story is that you are telling yourself about what just happened. How did you behave or feel when they said or did something?

3. An insightful exercise is to write down the name of the person with whom you struggle. Then write down what they said or did and how it affected you. Feel the feelings as they arise. Then stop and ask yourself, “Have I ever done that to anyone?” Usually somewhere in the past we have done the same thing that drives us crazy and what we dislike in others is really something we dislike in ourselves. This can help you to create more self-awareness and acceptance of others.

It is our ego causing us to focus on them to avoid uncomfortable feelings that may arise. By seeing the situation differently, we can use this as an opportunity to grow because ignoring it will lead to more distress down the road. Take time to peel back some layers to understand why the behavior, not the person bothers us. Remember if nothing changes, nothing changes!

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