I’ve had a tough week.
As an accountant, I have had my share of meetings full of fragile egos and people who seem to exhibit sociopath tendencies and do not seem to care about throwing people under the bus.
Difficult people. You know what I’m talking about. There should be a Difficult People 101 course.
Okay, you are right–I’m probably overreacting but I’m sure I am not alone when I say, dealing with difficult people sucks the life out of you and makes you wonder how you can deal with them.
Soon after I started my mindfulness journey, I began to really pay attention to the types of difficult people I normally deal with. I started grouping them in the following categories:
1) Talkers (they talk more than they listen and they interrupt incessantly!),
2) Perfect (they are NEVER wrong),
3) Fake (they often lie to get their way),
4) Control freaks (they are controlling and their way is the only way),
5) Only Me (they bring down others to prop themselves up).
I’ve thought of this long and hard and I think I may have a way that may ease the pain a bit. I’m not saying that it will be roses and wine from now on but it may give you a new perspective on how to deal with difficult people.
E—Empathy. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in one’s shoes and understand what they are going through. In most cases, I have to remind myself that everyone has a back story. It may be that they are under stress and feeling overwhelmed, or they have some personal issues they are currently dealing with.
G—Gratitude. Be grateful that you have a difficult person who you can practice your mindfulness on! In the Buddhist tradition, difficult people are to be cherished.
O—Opportunity. View difficult people as an opportunity for growth. Pay attention to what your body is feeling. Are you holding your breath? Did you just tense up? Tighten your jaw? Stay present. Stay silent and just listen with a beginners mind. Perhaps, the difficult person may have a good point and emotions are getting in the way, or it may be YOUR EGO that is clouding your judgement.
One final thought–I always believed that these difficult people had inflated egos. Now that I think more mindfully about it, it may be quite the opposite–they have deflated egos and they need to push people onto oncoming traffic because they believe that by doing so, they can attract more attention and elevate their own value.
What do you think?
At any rate, as I finish my second glass of wine, I am not looking forward to the coming week. However, armed with a new perspective about ego and how to deal with difficult people, meetings may finally be something to look forward to.
Have a good week ahead, everyone!