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I don’t know about you, but I struggle from time to time seeing the good in things. I really do consider myself to be the ultimate optimist, but sometimes…no matter how hard I try…someone or something just won’t work out the way I thought it should or could. 

For example, a few weeks ago, I attended an event. The event organizer was someone who, frankly, I struggled to connect with over the years…someone that if I’m just being honest with you is someone I will likely never have a warm relationship. 

You know as well as I do that if you’re in an office environment or work with people…there’s always “that person” who is hard to manage, difficult to get along with…and the sooner your time with them can be over – the better off you both are. Regardless, you still have to make nice, give it your best and get along. 

As much as I have a wee bit of anxiety dealing with difficult people, one thing that’s helped me navigate these tricky relationships is looking for silver linings. In other words, what is something I can be grateful for in this particular situation?

So, I can tell you that with my “difficult person” situation, I flipped the feeling from “oh lord…I don’t want to have to deal with her” to “I have an opportunity to show her what I’m made of here.” 

I grow weary allowing difficult people control of MY life. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why in the world do we let other people dictate how we should feel and subsequently behave around them? I say own your truth. Rise above. Show everyone that you’ve got this and you’re in charge.

There’s a few things you can do to get yourself in the right mindset to deal with difficult people.

  1. Be self aware. “Difficult” is a very subjective word. Your version of a difficult person may be very different than mine. Whatever it is that you find difficult about people, be very aware of what are your triggers around them. What are your reactions when you’re around them? Be aware of how you feel, and that’ll help keep your head in a calm and clear space to be able to make rational decisions.

  2. Exhibit self control. Easier said than done, but really…you have too much to lose. What do I mean by that? The minute you open your mouth and say something crass or sarcastic and rude, you’ve now lowered yourself to their level. The really crappy thing is this – YOU will not like yourself later for saying something you wish you wouldn’t have said. Your “difficult person” will now have even more reasons to not want to work with you. When you find yourself just on the verge of saying something, breathe. Don’t say it. Just breathe and let it go.

Here’s the thing. Most difficult people have underlying issues such as a lack of self confidence that shows up as looking like a jerk. They have so many crazy things happening in their personal life that it shows up as a mess at work. 

We ALL have baggage we carry every single day…but, I do believe it’s up to you to try and mitigate those daily life challenges and find ways to be grateful for what you have, even if it seems unbearable at times.

Flip the narrative. Flip the feeling, and you’ll find that you’re so much closer to living a happier, meaningful life…and those around you will appreciate and respect you so much more when you find silver linings