How to Deal with Difficult People
We can never be perfect like Jesus, but think about this for inspiration: on the most difficult day of His life as a man (remember, He was both fully man and fully God), Jesus chose to – while suffering greatly and being able to stop it all if He chose – forgive His assailants and accusers. In our eyes, He had every right to at least be angry, but no – He chose forgiveness and compassion. “They know not what they do”. We might not always choose to immediately forgive, or to say kind things directly in the face of adversity (far less than what Jesus experienced, too), and – we’re only human, so that’s understandable, however, couldn’t we consider how it’s a possibility? Think about that for a sec. Just the sheer fact that kindness/a positive reaction (or no reaction) is possible.
That changes the game. Just that mindset alone. Don’t even set yourself up to respond just yet. Next time someone comes along and really pushes your buttons intentionally, grates on your last nerve like nutmeg on a microplaner or decides to give you a perfectly valid reason to give them a piece’a your mind on a silver platter – stop. Take a moment and think, “Is it possible that I could let this go? It hurts, it’s wrong, “I got a super ugly response filed away jussssst waiting for this exact moment to let it loose and boyyyyyyyyyyy is it a zinger, lemme attem!!!!!” – no. Cause…
- It will hurt your case. It’ll hurt your case, your cause and your face. Literally. Once we choose to react and spew our ugly response (however warranted it may seem / be) we’ve instantly lowered ourselves to the level of (or below) the offender. They know it, we know it and God forbid a child or other innocent bystander are witness to it – they know it, too.
- It takes away power. Sounds weird, sounds like the opposite happens (especially if our point is spot on, it appears that this “revelation” would drive our bar graph up like we’re in some kind of electoral race against our opponent, and every “bazinga!” or remark from here on out gives us the edge. Nope, that “leg up” it feels like we got??? it makes more of a mess than a dog w/ it’s leg up on our new Burlington sofa…
- It severs relationships. In the end of an argument, it truly doesn’t matter who wins or loses. Think about the last time you had an argument and walked away as the “victor”; maybe you got the last word, perhaps you had a really good, impossible to follow-up on comeback that left your opponent speechless or maybe they just gave up out of sheer frustration, defeat or otherwise. I want you to really marinate for a moment how you felt in that moment. Even if you were justified in what you said but you used venom-filled words or scraped open past wounds, even if all of your points were valid but you totally lost your cool, and even if you “won” the battle – doesn’t a small part of you feel like you lost the war?
I ask you, friend, to examine your heart next time, take a deeper look at your motives and how and why you are fighting this fight. Think about who is watching, listening and receiving and ask yourself if it’s worth this becoming part of their inner dialogue. If we are after a quick ego-boost, power-trip or feeling of control, then yeah! We may achieve what we set out for… but, if we’re after relationship, connectivity and peace, then no, we will fail every time contention sneaks in and feeds bickerments. What you feed, grows, always.