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How to Love People (Even When They Suck)
We all have those people in our lives.
No, I’m not talking about toxic friends. See my post here about how to know if you have a toxic friendship.
I’m talking about people who you either disagree with, don’t align values with, or just plain butt heads with. These are people you are forced to interact with, either through work, school, or family. These are people God (or whoever you believe in) puts in your life to grow you to become a more patient, kinder person. They aren’t close relationships, but they are still relationships, and we must not only acknowledge their existence, but we can use these relationships to learn and leverage our own self-growth.
Let’s breakdown the “why” first. Why must we love these people? Well, honestly, we don’t have to. We can spend our energies resenting them and giving them the side eye. Or we can choose to see them as an opportunity for growth. A way to fine tune our personal relationship skills.
Here are 3 Things We Can Learn from These People:
- Nothing is personal. More than likely, these people aren’t personally trying to annoy, hurt, or bother us. They are just being themselves. Like most interactions in life, it’s important not to take what they say or do personally.
- Empathy goes a long way. As my mother always used to say, try to put yourself in their shoes. Are they being annoying and needy at work possibly because they are afraid of losing their job? Do they hold such strong offensive political values because of how they were raised? Consider the “why” question when we try to figure out their story.
- We all have room to grow. We are not perfect either, and we probably offend, hurt, or annoy people without any personal awareness. Remembering who we are as imperfect, fallible humans is important and humbling. It gives us perspective on how we can have more compassion to others.
Now that we can see the value in loving them, let’s actually do it. Let’s love them.
Here are 3 Ways to Love Them (even when they suck):
- Ask to help them. If the family member who always brings up offensive political jabber at the dinner table is doing the dishes, let's ask if we can dry. If the co-worker who is always complaining how stressed and overworked she is, let's ask what we can help her with.
- Ask them a question. If our Uncle keeps talking about his new open relationship and how “awesome” it is, ask him questions about it, even if it doesn’t align with our values. Ask him why he find his new relationship so awesome and what was his motivation behind it.
- Stay quiet. As my mom also used to say, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” While I don’t always believe this to be true (as I speak truth and sometimes that upsets people), I do evaluate the social situation and know when to shush. If it’s a family member who I know I disagree with, or a coworker who I’m going to have to see everyday, I will likely just smile and nod at something I disagree with. It’s okay to not speak up. It’s not anti-feminist. We are protecting our divine energy.
As always, it’s up to you to discern the situation. Some require more tricky technical word moves than others, but I trust that you can listen to your intuition and decipher when it's best to speak up and when it's best to stay quiet.
Hope this helps you deal with some possibly tricky Holiday times!
Please let me know if you have any specific examples or questions you want to ask me about, I’m happy to give my advice.
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