Do you know any difficult people?
I ask that question a lot, everywhere I go, and people usually say yes. Not only do they say yes, but they have someone in mind.
Let me challenge that a bit. Why do you think that person is difficult? Do you think that they are choosing to be difficult?
No doubt, some people ARE difficult to deal with. Some people DO try their best to aggravate, provoke, and poke us in our tender spots. But, for the most part the people we think are difficult are doing the best they know how to do. Sure, they should do better, but they are doing the best they know how to do.
We can help them to do better. It starts with doing better ourselves. When I look at someone at think of them as being difficult, you can be certain that when they look at me they think the same thing. Difficult is contagious. Difficult is reciprocal. Difficult IS fixable.
I don't pretend to ever be able to fix anyone. I can't even fix myself completely. I've learned that when I am at my most difficult it was likely due to the conditions surrounding me, combined with some deeply flawed thinking. Even when I can't fix the circumstances, I CAN fix my flawed thinking.
Difficult people don't really want to be difficult. They might even feel forced into it. Stay patient, stay curious, stay kind, and see what happens. Sometimes when WE stop being difficult, our difficult people can, too.
What do you think?
-- doug smith