3 min read

On Dealing With Difficult People

On Dealing With Difficult People
Dome of The Palace of Mafra, Portugal

We will encounter difficult people in life, and we cannot escape them all. In fact, learning to deal with each situation prepares us for future interactions. Difficult is a relative term, what one may call a difficult person may not meet the threshold for someone more experienced in dealing with people.

We must resist the constant temptation to shrug off a responsibility because it is unsavory. In the long run, we end up repeatedly facing near identical circumstances, yet without building any sort of internal capabilities to handle them.

When we take this approach, we can become frustrated, embittered and jaded with the world in general. But it is unreasonable to expect that life will give us a few unaccepted opportunities to learn, and then quietly back off to leave us alone in our stubborness. Nature abhors a static state.  We eventually find ourselves inundated with 'unacceptable' events and persons.

It is therefore wise to get ahead of the problems before they present themselves. We cannot avoid everyone, we will be placed into close proximity with people whose behaviors and attitudes we do not care for, best just to buckle down and develop constructive means of coping.

This essay is designed to provide solutional concepts drawn from my personal experience, of course, one must apply their own creativity to specific cases.

When we encounter especially violent or belligerent people, it is not kind to allow them to bully us. However, there is no need to become defensively aggressive either. Fear is the common thread in both their behavior and our instinctive reactions. In general with others, we must learn to counter our own fears and anxieties.  This is an internal solution to external problems, but unless one trys it and cultivates it, it may seem inadequate.

Consider how things work in Nature, however. Wild and highly-strung domestic animals have a tendency to attack certain persons without provocation, while leaving others alone, even under stressful conditions. The easy thing in dealing with difficult people is that they are functioning primarily from animal instinct.

A soothing voice is not always the ticket. Confidence, an even tone, slow physical movements, a reluctance to cave to external pressure... all these traits must be carefully cultivated. Then, when we are under fire, in the heat of the moment, we will then instinctively respond in our habitual way.  We are all part animal, rather than attempting to train others to make life easier for us, we can focus on gaining total control over our own animalistic behaviors.

Animals need to be shown what is expected of them, one will never get anywhere with a pet by yelling, hitting or any sort of extreme disciplinary measures. Animals follow, humans must lead.  Inside ourselves, this means the idealistic side of ourselves, that part with built-in standards of conduct, must take the reins and lead.

If we lead ourselves by habit, then we will find ourselves leading others without even thinking about it.  This is the scenario we want to develop, where we no longer prepare and steel ourselves for what life brings along, but where we, like the professional athlete, find ourselves scoring the points before we are consciously able to talk ourselves out of success.

We will no longer consider what others think before we speak and act, and rather than coming from inborn primal urges, we will be so practiced that our new instincts are those belonging to civilization.  For that is what civilization is, the application of human (soul) instincts to living. Civilization is what makes us greater than the lower order creatures, but only when we earn and maintain that achievement.

Focusing on civilizing topics, especially aesthetics, while actively emulating the character traits of heroic role models, instills a new set of instincts: honor, respect, integrity and the concept that ideals are not to be compromised. We practice until deep in the fiber of our bones, we feel that blindly following animal instincts is beneath the dignity of actualized human beings.  This does not require the wholesale suppression of our natural primality, for this is a gift that has its proper place, and for that we must be grateful.

Whenever people attempt to ignore or banish their baser instincts, we tend to see a pseudo-civilized cultural phenomenon develop.  That approach gave us today's high fashion, modern art, the worship of technology over Nature, dangerous intellectualism and all the increasingly cultish societal trends we witness around us in the world today.

We are a little lower than the angels and a little higher than the beasts, it is a privileged position that we must grow to appreciate and be grateful for, by using it to rebuild true civilization.  We will need the hands and feet of difficult people. We must show them by example how to keep their eyes on heaven, rather than allow their earthly disasters to lead us to drop our gaze.

If we do this as a lifestyle, we will find difficult people to be less so, and perhaps we will even be the spark that inspires them to pursue their own course of positve character improvement.