This post was written about a year ago just prior to the holidays, but I still find it pertinent.
In the United States, we are beginning the holiday. I started thinking (run, she is thinking again!) about all the people that we "have to go see." (Well, the "have to" is another post) How many of you like every person that you work, visit, or interact with including family. No one, if they were honest, would have been able to answer, "everyone."
There comes the dilemma. What do you do with aunt Sally who continues to call you her "sweet baboo" and you are 46 and not six anymore (not that you liked it then either). Or sister Lucy who complains all the time or needs to be in charge. Or Charles who just isn't exciting to talk with. The neighbor who talks about all the wonderful things that he has done in his life, but doesn't listen to anyone else. Your brother the minister and philosopher, who is a wonderful person, but eventually talks above everyones head.
Help, what do I do...?
Anyway, we all have people like this in our lives and others and face it we don't like everyone. When I was working in the social service field, I used to tell new people that "our job is to help our clients, but that doesn't guarantee that you are going to like everyone. It is a luxury to like all your clients, but usually not reality. However, we still need to show them dignity and respect and listen."
What I use in my own personal and work life is to find one thing that you can like about the person. Everyone, if you think hard enough, has one thing that you can like about them. Maybe, it is that they try really hard, have good taste in clothing, makes that one dish really well or you like their haircuts. Just one positive thing and not a negative turned into a positive. One thing that you can outright say that you like about them.
Then, the trick is to try to focus on that as you get to know them better. Usually, as I get to know someone better, I understand them better and why they act the way that they do. Then, I might even start liking them. This usually works for me except some situations. I'm still working on especially with family. Just like everyone else.
In most situations, what I do is I start thinking about why they are the way they are and focus on that. I guess, I take a step back and become clinical or just look at the situation with some distance. It is usually some inner hurt or wound being covered up with thorns. But, thorns still hurt even if we understand them, so you also need to take care of yourself.
It does help both my husband and I to be a wee bit more compassionate and patient. But, there are times when I have to turn away or walk out which is perfectly acceptable. Take care of yourself and have a good time at the holidays.
Do not spend time with someone who is abusive including verbally or emotionally either speak up or walk away or don't go in the first place. I suggest discussing this with someone you trust first because you need to be prepared for the consequences. If nothing else, at least it is a time limited interaction and you can remind yourself. Going for a walk with someone or by yourself is a good thing to do when it gets to be too much. Remember, you are never trapped.
But, spend most of your time with the people that you want and make you happy. And, if you can't run...remember, you can always focus on that one thing. It just makes life a little easier. At least, this is what I try to do. I'm still working on a few relationships.
Searching for the things you can like about someone will take your focus off all the things you may dislike and there may be lots of fuel. And, it is okay not to like someone. This is only meant to be helpful it you want to try. I still do complain which is just being yourself and with all your feelings. I hope this help some of you to have a different perspective and helps you to enjoy your time together with others better. (Okay...I like aunt Sally's cookies, I like aunt Sally's cookies and I do love her hair...)
How do you handle being with people including family who you don't like or are difficult to be around? Share some tips.