Dealing with Difficult People

Disengaging with Difficult People: A Mindful Practice

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They say there is no way you can teach a person who does not wish to learn. Or that dealing with difficult people is hard, and one might also say– a lost cause.

While it is quite unavoidable, we encounter these types of people now and then. Whether personally talking to them, on social media, those people who have different views and refuse to open their minds for others. It can be exhausting and triggering to argue with them, which may become destructive, so what can we do about it?

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“Being agreeable didn’t make people less difficult.”

Stewart O'Nan — Stewart O’Nan

Often times, we find ourselves being emotionally involved when we start a conversation with someone with a problem. The key is to not take it personally. This is an application of what mindfulness teaches us.

Paying attention to our thoughts and emotions without judgment and without emotional involvement, and adapt these teachings into our relationship with others.

When we are emotionally engaged, we might feel the need to defend ourselves and assert our beliefs. In this case, the underlying issue does not benefit. It is not a matter of how you make them understand. It is, in fact, a matter of how they take it in.

What we have to understand is that their behavior, and the way they exhibit their attitude is not really about you. It is about them, but it is you who let them into your aura. Disengaging ourselves and our emotional response will positively affect how we handle the matter–absorbing it in a rather objective way.

“Always remember that you can explain things for people, but you can’t comprehend for them.”

Shannon L. Alder –Shannon Alder

Notice how our mindful state differs significantly from our default mode. Nurturing these non-reactive attributes can be different from the way we handle our lives every day. Furthermore, this doesn’t imply that you avoid healthy conversations with people or develop a non-sympathetic trait just because you find that it’s what emotional detachment means.

Even if you are disengaging your emotions, it is crucial not to discredit their points. Remember, notice the thoughts, make aware of them free of judgment, but acknowledge that they exist.

The next time you have a chat with someone you find complicated to deal with, do not let yourself go down with your emotions, avoid being pissed, and do not invalidate their stance. Rather listen, and try to tell them, “I understand where you’re coming from.”

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