I sat there silently seething, feeling my shoulders climb higher and higher as my muscles tensed up. The more she talked, the more irritated I became…. I don’t know why I got so upset, because this was nothing out of the ordinary for this person, but I just was not handling it well. I was cranky for the rest of the day.
Do you have anyone in your life that just gets on your last nerve? Dealing with difficult people is never a pleasant experience, but if we let it, it can certainly ruin our day. In the case of those of us who deal with fibromyalgia, if our “fight or flight” response gets stirred up, it could ruin a couple of days for us. We can never avoid all negativity unless we completely hide ourselves away from others, and we definitely don’t want to isolate ourselves. So how do we interact with negative people without letting these encounters knock us for a loop?
Obviously, I haven’t mastered that, or I wouldn’t have been sitting there fuming, but here are a couple of things that help me most of the time:
- Realize that it’s their problem, not yours. Most people who are hard to get along with are coming from a place of pain. They’re unhappy or insecure, so they (maybe even subconsciously) want everyone else to be unhappy or insecure also.
- Take a deep breath, and count to three before you speak. Old advice, but it’s been around for a long time for a reason.
- Treat them with respect, even when they don’t deserve it. It’s not always easy, but it says everything about your character when you’re able to take the high road.
- Set clear boundaries. Treating others with respect doesn’t mean you allow them to treat you poorly. You have to ensure you establish what you consider acceptable behavior. If they can’t respect your boundaries, remove yourself from the situation.
- Choose to forgive. Unforgiveness really only hurts the one who can’t forgive. The other person probably doesn’t even give their hurtful words or actions another thought so it definitely doesn’t hurt them.
- Once the encounter is over, do what you need to do to deal with the emotions. Don’t just stuff them down; that’s how a lot of us get into trouble in the first place. I’ve found that prayer and writing are my most effective ways to do this, but whatever yours is, do it! Don’t dwell on it!
We get to choose how we react to each situation and person that we encounter. It’s not always easy to make the right choice, and sometimes, frankly, I make the wrong one, but if we have the tools in our toolbox ahead of time, it’s easy to pull the right one out when we need it.
Here’s hoping you only have to deal with nice people today!