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Dealing with the difficult

"Confront with grace, do stand your ground"
By: Neslie Buena, MDDealing with the difficult

It is no secret that all of us have dealt with some difficult people in our lives. Be it in school, in the work place, at home, or amongst family and friends, no one is exempted from getting a bit annoyed or downright irate with the people who keep pushing our buttons.  For most of us, a momentary annoyance is something we can easily shrug off.  But what if these annoyances drag on, causing you more stress than you can handle or sleep with at night? 

Learning how to deal with difficult people is a skill that can not only bring you a good night’s sleep, but one that can lead you to greater heights of success, both in career and in life. Dr. Louellen Essex, a leadership consultant, speaks of 4 distinct difficult personalities to watch out for:

The Volcano.  This person appears bold and intimidating, having the propensity to go off in aggression at any given moment, taking on the world with much dominance and arrogance.

The Sniper.  This personality might sound quieter than the former but here’s someone who’s rather mean-spirited, engaging in passive-aggressive tactics even to the point of sabotaging others. 

The Clam.  The Clam is a passive player whose unresponsiveness to conversations, flimsiness to make decisions and slackness to the work will leave you scratching your head in dismay.

The Chronic Complainer.  As the name suggests, this person complains a lot.  A lot.  This one finds fault in every nook and cranny to find, readily pointing an accusatory finger. This one can drain your positive outlook pretty fast.

It is understandable that for many of these people, your first instinct is to cower away and simply to avoid them.  Dealing with them head-on will most likely yield the most transforming results, for both parties.  As Joel Osteen said it, “You will never change what you tolerate.”

But you might be surprised, the first step to this transformation is actually changing you— changing your perspective, changing your behavior. Part of awareness building is drawing-up handy phrases for instances that cause you tension, then rehearsing the lines in a loving, less judging tone.  As you put emphasis on the difficult behavior rather than the personality, you’d also want to pay attention to how you say things.  Often, how you say things actually means more than what you actually say.

Often, offensive people are offended people.  They may be hurting in places they are not aware of themselves.  Wrought with insecurities and fears, they are merely navigating thru the world in the manner by which they know how. Knowing where they’re coming from puts you in the best position to help out.  But be reminded that when you do confront with grace, do stand your ground.  Set boundaries.  Extending empathy doesn’t mean being dragged back into the same vicious cycle.  

Now, if all your efforts still fail you, take it a lesson on self-discipline.  There’s no need of becoming a difficult person yourself.  Building on your personal character thru self-discipline while encouraging others with firm, loving truths, will no doubt pave a path of honor and peace for you, now and in the future.  

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