You Reap What You Sow

mandelaWe know that people aren’t born difficult. As children most were optimistic, fearless and innocent. So what happened? Life happened and some deep insecurities creeped in and people weren’t equipped emotionally to deal with the challenges in a healthy manner. So, they took on the mask of nosy, bully, complaining, etc. They became difficult. Difficult isn’t who they really are. They are people of greatness, but they don’t know that, so they do their best at surviving behind these masks.

However, to deal with anyone’s negative behavior affectively, you must first pull back the masks in search of their innocence. And you can do this with anyone who is difficult. Let’s take the “nosy” person for instance. What is really behind that mask? Nosy people are in desk, in your business, your conversations, your emails…why? Well, if nosy could reach the depths of their own pain, they might answer like this:

I am nosy because I think things are going on behind my back and I have to play private eye to stay in the know. I don’t believe people are being honest with me or keeping me in the mix; they really don’t like me, so in order to be a part of the happenings, I have to obnoxiously make my presence known. I do this because I’m not interesting, fascinating or lovable enough for people to involve me in their lives willingly. “Another reason I am in your business is because I need your information for gossiping purposes. I know gossiping is wrong, but it helps me feel close to people and makes me feel better to know someone in the world is feeling just as miserable as I am. “Knowing something about others is all that I have to take pride in. I don’t know what else to talk about. The few people who do talk to me only do so because they think I know stuff about everybody’s life. I guess what I am saying is I kind of use gossip to barter for people’s attention –which I am unworthy of otherwise. I want to have meaningful relationships, and I want to be loved; I just don’t know how. So here I stand, preoccupying myself with your choices and judging every aspect of your life because doing so keeps me from having to contend with the emptiness in my own.”

Pulling back the masks like this will be effective for any difficult personality type you encounter. You just have to pay attention to the behavior and you will eventually see that something much deeper is going on within these individuals, even emotional bullies. Behind the mask of the bully you might find them saying this:

I am not a softy; I am tough! Being nice to people doesn’t pay. I used to be nice, but I always got hurt or was made a fool of. But no more! I don’t know how else to be. Being mean makes me feel powerful in a world that never showed me love. I don’t know how to handle situations without being rude. I’m angry about so many things that I can’t even identify what they are anymore. I compensate for my feelings of inadequacy by dominating other people and making them feel small. I don’t have any control in my life, so the only thing I know to do is try and control yours.”

From this you can see where the masks are just that…masks. People are basically good, but often portray themselves otherwise because they are injured and not convinced of their own goodness.

You may be thinking, “So what am I supposed to do about that? We all have problems. You don’t get to take your personal matters out on other people simply because you aren’t clued into your own goodness!”

I’ve and maybe you have as well, dealt with both types of individuals, yet I am learning that I have to have compassion. Having compassion for them is not about them as much as it is about me. I am learning that I can’t make another person’s misery go away, but I can control how I respond to their negative behavior and that is by showing them compassion.

If you are dealing with a difficult person, just remember that having compassion for them is not just about them, it is also about you. There are great benefits for you when you empathize with others. Giving other people a break when they are behaving the only way they know how will boomerang compassion back into your life, it is your safeguard, because after all “you reap what you sow.”
(some quotes from Asha Tyson)

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