Dealing with difficult people has been one of my biggest life’s lessons. A few years ago, my world was filled with unhealthy relationships that kept me trapped in a cycle of arguments, anxiety and discontentment.
I look back now and see my relationships and the people I attracted into my life were all a reflection of my own thoughts and beliefs about myself.
I had a challenging childhood in which I learned I was never good enough and that conflict was the only way. I did not know what it meant to love myself, and I did not know what joy truly felt like. They were simply terms that people, used but I couldn't find their resonance in my heart.
I lived my life from a place of fear and, as such, I honestly believed the world was a scary place, and difficult people were a predominant part of the reality of being alive. I had no idea I could in fact have a life filled with love and healthy, fulfilling relationships.
I have been on a huge journey of personal growth in order to create a beautiful life I love. Now I have a magical relationship with my partner, abundant friendships, and I live in harmony with everyone I know. Yes, there are still a couple of difficult people I've allowed to remain in my life, but the way in which I relate to them now is completely different, and I no longer give them permission to affect me.
I've shared a number of practical ways you can deal with negative relationships in your life, focusing on transforming yourself and changing how you relate to your world.
Below are 18 ideas for dealing with difficult family members and other difficult people in your life.
1. Take Responsibility
The world is a mirror of our inner state of being. If something negative arises in our life, there is normally a lesson in it for us somewhere. So ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” Perhaps you can learn to speak up for yourself, or perhaps you can learn to be more understanding.
2. Move On
Not every relationship in your life was meant to last a lifetime. It's perfectly okay to let go of people who don't bring you the joy in life you deserve. Make space for new, enriching relationships to enter your life.
3. Identify And Release
What really distresses us about difficult family members is not in fact actually them. Rather, it is the emotions that they trigger within us. Anger, panic, hurt etc. Identify the real root cause of why this person bothers you so much and let it go.
4. Distance Yourself
There is no rule that says that you absolutely must spend a certain amount of time with someone or see them regularly. You are the one who decides based upon what feels right for you. Actively limit your exposure to negative people even if their in your own family.
5. Protect Your Energy
Some people have toxic energy, and you can find yourself drained, depressed, and angry after being in their presence for too long. When you are in their presence, imagine yourself surrounded by an armor of impenetrable white light. Imagine all of their negativity bouncing off you, unable to enter into your energy field.
6. Respect Yourself
When you really respect yourself, you don’t spend time with people who treat you badly. Start believing you deserve to have a life filled with abundant relationships and people who make your heart sing.
7. Send Them Love
No matter how difficult someone is, they are doing the best they can on their journey. You can energetically send them love without involving yourself in their negative patterns. Imagine the beautiful love you send supporting them to move to a place of healing and joy.
8. Don’t Engage
By engaging in the negative patterns of difficult people and difficult family, you give them the fuel they crave, and they continue to churn out their unhealthy behavior. Withdraw from their drama, reconnect with your breath and find that still place within you. They can’t get you there.
9. Stop It
Part of what keeps negative relationships stuck in our lives is our tendency to make ourselves wrong. We justify the other person’s actions by thinking that we were at fault. Stop making yourself wrong. Take responsibility if it is due, but don’t forget to see a situation with open eyes.
10. Create Boundaries
If you don’t create boundaries for family and friends in your life, then they will treat you however they wish. Empower yourself by clarifying to yourself and others exactly what you deem to be the line between acceptable and unacceptable.
11. Increase Your Vibration
If you have difficult folks around you, then something in your energetic vibration is attracting it. Keep checking your vibration and increasing it by doing things that make you feel light and joyful.
12. Love Yourself
When you have difficult people in your life, it's easy to get very caught up in the drama and emotional distress. But it always come back to the singular most important thing you can ever do in your life — love yourself. Connect with your love, and allow it to align you with your authentic self.
13. Communicate Lovingly
Some of us express ourselves in emotionally unhealthy ways — angrily saying things we don’t mean or suppressing our emotions and giving the silent treatment. Take time away from the negative situation, and ask yourself the most kind and effective way you can communicate. Find a balanced, loving way to share your truth.
14. Choose To Refuse
Negative words and actions of others can penetrate into our subconscious mind and bring our energy down. But we always have a choice. Refuse to allow their negativity to enter your mind and being. Instead, focus on things that keep your vibration light.
15. Have A Break
Physically moving out of the person’s presence can really help to give you the break you need. Go outside, connect with nature, take deep breaths and center yourself. Remind yourself they have no power over you. All is well.
16. Realize It Isn’t About You
Difficult acquaintances are difficult with everyone. They aren’t reacting to you but rather to the thoughts that arise in their own minds, which anyone can trigger at any time. Don’t take it personally.
17. Have Compassion
If you find them difficult in the time you spend with them, then can you imagine how unpleasant it must be for them to live with their own negativity 24-7? Imagine what must have happened in their past in order to for them to be as they are, and feel compassion toward them.
18. Accept Them
Family and acquaintances only change when they are ready and willing to do so. You could drive yourself mad trying to change someone — but to no avail. Accept them for who they are and where they are on their journey. Set yourself free.
Do you have any other suggestions that have worked for you? If so, please leave them in the comments below.
Jessica Heslop is a student of A Course In Miracles. She is the founder of Live The Life You Love, which supports others to live a life filled with authenticity, abundance, infinite love and joy. Hop on over there and you can get access to her highly regarded A Guided Meditation On Love And Loving You.
photo credit: David Blackwell. via photopin