Note: This is a guest post from Lisa H of Getting to Zen
If you intimidate someone or treat them with some other dramatic action, you are inviting trouble. Yes, it’s possible to affect change in another person this way; however, it is not advisable because the results can be undesirable and at times disastrous.
For example, imagine an employee that has been forced to take a leave of absence after arriving at work late. The relationship between the manager and that employee would likely be strained, especially if the leave of absence was delivered after the first offense. However, if the employee’s manager had expressed a little compassion, and asked why his employee had been late, the relationship between the two might have remained in tact.
Everybody has a past
We are more similar to each other than we are different. However, there will be those times in our life when we encounter someone who just rubs us the wrong way. Although it may be challenging at first, we must still treat those persons with dignity and respect.
Everybody has a past. You don’t know what another person has seen, heard or experienced that makes them behave the way they do–just like your experiences have shaped you. Take for example someone who has been in a relationship with a partner who was unkind to them. With that knowledge, you may be able to understand why they have trouble trusting others or are even unkind themselves. Or maybe they grew up being bullied for most of their childhood, and now they are a bully.
Everyone wants to feel needed
This is not to say that we have to condone or tolerate “bad” behavior, but we can have compassion in our dealings with them. There is an important yet intangible thing that everybody wants, and that is acceptance. Being accepted and appreciated makes a person feel needed and wanted. Acceptance gives us a whole lot of reason to exist. A recent testament to this is the five boys that committed suicide as a result of their lifestyle choice not being accepted. On a primitive level, being accepted is an outward acknowledgement that we are one of the many human beings that is sharing the planet at this time.
Compassion is everything
Now I am not saying that you need to befriend someone who is causing you discomfort. They may not even want to be your friend. I am talking about not judging them””not causing them any more pain than they are probably already in. If you think that it is hard for you to be around them, imagine how hard it is for them. They have to be with themselves for 24 hours a day. Avoid purposely doing things to sabotage or harm them in any way, including gossiping. If you need to vent, talk to a close friend.
Communication leads to understanding
Many times people come to an impasse because they don‘t know how to communicate with each other. Friendship, family and work relationships all have been severed due to poor communication. Father’s no longer speaking to sons and sisters that have been estranged for so long that it would be hard for them to recognize each other.
I remember a time when I tried to “clear the air” between I and a co-worker. And although I approached the situation calmly and with a spirit of resolution, it didn’t go well. My co-worker was unwilling to listen to how her actions were making me feel. What I realized then was that not everyone wants to “clear the air.” Some people want drama and stress–and that is their right. Now of course if you ask them, they would say that they don’t, but you would be able to see that their actions showed otherwise.
Interacting is Learning
You can learn from your perceived adversaries. Interacting or not interacting with them teaches you about you. Why do you have a problem with them? Do they remind you of someone else who behaves similarly? Maybe they remind you of yourself? Or are they just not your flavor of friend? Your adversaries can teach you much more about yourself than your friends. Don’t let these sort of opportunities go by without learning the lesson.
Hold your head high. Focus on yourself. Move forward with confidence and humility. Be kind to others. Be honest with yourself. Trust in your goodness. Refrain from judgment or acting out behaviors that create negative experiences. The time that you have on this earth is limited and precious. Acknowledge that by spreading positivity and lightness wherever you go.
Lisa H. (aka RunningBear) is the founder of Getting to Zen which includes articles on personal development, enlightenment, consciousness and awareness. You can sign up for her RSS feed or follow her on Twitter. In addition to blogging, Lisa enjoys long distance running, cooking, and sewing.
Photo by Neal