In every area of our lives, we interact with people that we think are difficult. In reality, there are no difficult people. There are just people. Who do stuff. And then we have lots of thoughts about the things they do and the things they say and the ways that they behave, and then we make that mean that they are difficult.
One of the most powerful things you can learn is that the only thing that makes other people difficult is our interpretation of them. We are viewing them through the lens of "difficult."
This means that if it is only our thinking that makes someone difficult, then when we attach this label to someone, we are the ones that are difficult—and making our life and our relationships difficult.
In this episode of the podcast I'll teach you how to see that it's only ever our thinking that is the problem, and in that is the solution to every difficult relationship we have.
The truth is:
It is liberating and life-changing to understand that if you did not see the "difficult" people in your life as a problem, then you could just be free to love them…and that my friends is 100% awesome.
Difficult People Don't Exist
The truth is that difficult people are only difficult because you think they are difficult.
If you have difficult people in your life,it is because you are seeing them as difficult. It is only ever our own interpretation of someone else's actions or words that makes someone else difficult.
By interpreting the people as "difficult," then we are being difficult and making the relationship with them difficult. In other words, your brain and its perception is labelling someone else "difficult" and that is making you difficult as a result.
How to Eliminate Difficult People From Your Life
Knowing that "difficult" is only your brain's interpretation is the very best thing I could ever tell you, because it means that to eliminate difficult people from your life you only have to change you and how you see others.
And—in even more awesome news—you are the only one you can actually change. This works out beautifully. You are the only person you can hange and you are the only person you need to change to change everything else.
Powerful Thoughts and Questions to Consider
These three principles can help you as you work to love the difficult people in your life.
1. The only difficulty is you.
When there are people in our lives who behave in a way that we don’t agree with or we don’t like, it is never being around them that is difficult. The hard part is being around ourselves when we are not loving them, when we are judging them, and when we are wanting them to be different.
We don’t like ourselves when we’re judging and resenting and then we blame them for how bad we feel.
In other words, its not someone else's actions or words or behavior that is difficult. It is our own. We don’t like who we are around them. We don’t like who we become inside. We don’t’ like being with us when we stop loving. It feels terrible inside our own heads.
When we stop loving others, we punish ourselves. Remember, they get to be who they are, and you get to be who you want to be. You don’t have to punish you for their behavior.
How am I punishing me for their behavior?
How have I not been accepting responsibility for my own behavior?
What am I doing that I am blaming them for?
2. Other people are just being who they are.
Most of the "difficult" people we encounter are just being who they are. They’re busy being who they’ve always been. How they act. What they say. How they interact. Their behavior has been cultivated over a lifetime. Just like you and me, right?
Each one of us behave in a manner that is learned from our experience. So, how other people act isn’t necessarily difficult. But because it is different from our expectation, we perceive it to be difficult.
What is the truth I have been resisting about this person and who they are?
What has been consistent that I wish would change?
What behavior do I think the other person needs to change in order for me to feel better?
What might happen if I expected the other person to behave as they do, rather than spend my time wishing they would change?
Can I just let them be them?
3. The "difficult people" are your teachers.
The people who act differetny than you think they should, are your teachers. They are teaching us about us. They give us a chance to see what we think of ourselves and develop our capacity for loving. They reveal ourselves to us. They reveal where we are lacking and how where the barriers are to our loving.
As Pema Chodron teaches, these people reveal the patterns in the our brains that still need work.
What if they are the way you become who God wants you to be?
What are they teaching me about love?
The other person is 100% lovable—why am I choosing not to love them?
What do I think I am gaining by not loving?
Mentioned in the podcast: