Advertising
Advertising

7 Steps To Understanding Yourself That Makes Dealing With Difficult People Easier

7 Steps To Understanding Yourself That Makes Dealing With Difficult People Easier

Can you think of a time where you were fuming because you seriously just could NOT handle dealing with difficult people anymore?

It can be frustrating to deal with difficult people. It can test our patience and our limits. When a person is purposely being difficult and pushing your buttons, it may seem almost impossible not to blow up and put them in their place.

But today I wanted to share with you an invitation to let go.

Advertising

After reading Byron Katie’s book “Loving What Is” when I was getting my coaching training, it seriously transformed the way I look at conflicts and how I feel about them. In this post, I’m going to show you how understanding yourself makes it easier to deal with “difficult people.”

Although I have the practical business and marketing expertise, I have Life Coach training as well and have always placed very high value on personal development and self-discovery (that’s also a part of why I call myself a Holistic Business Coach). I believe it’s crucial to spend time learning and exploring who you are in order to become successful in your business. I do this process with my clients sometimes when they need it or direct them to the book for private exploration.

It’s life-changing.

Advertising

Step 1. Write down what’s annoying you about someone

Take out a piece of paper and write about the person that’s being difficult or annoying to you. Write in full sentences and in a way that really shows how you feel about it. For example, “Katie is really frustrating, she never cleans the apartment! She’s so lazy!” Be brutally honest with yourself when you do this – no one will see this piece of paper and the more truthful you are during this exercise, the better this Work will hep you.

Step 2. Ask yourself “Is this true?”

Then take it sentence by sentence and run each sentence you wrote through a series of questions below. For example, for the question “Katie never cleans the apartment” – ask yourself “Is this true?” See what comes up for you.

Step 3. Ask yourself “Can I absolutely know that it’s true?”

If you’re really frustrated with yourself, the answer that might come up to the previous question might be “Yes.” When that happens, ask yourself “Can I absolutely know that it’s true?” because you have to be completely 100% sure that what you are stating is, in fact, reality. Does Katie really never clean the apartment? Has she never cleaned an apartment? Not at all? Is it still a no? Well, how would you know? Do you monitor what Katie does 24/7? Chances are, that’s a no. So there’s a chance that the answer to this question is actually “No” because you cannot be 100% sure that she never cleans. She might clean sometimes when you’re not home. Who knows.

Advertising

Step 4. Recognize how you react when you think that thought

Think the original negative thought. “Katie never cleans the apartment” – Agh, how frustrating is this!? Recognize how you react when you think this thought. Do you react with frustration, anger, resentment, something else? Recognize it. Verbalize it so it really creates that impact on you.

Step 5. Ask yourself “Who or What would I be without the thought?”

This question is really important. Ask yourself how you would go through life if you were unable to think the thought “Katie never cleans the apartment” in the presence of Katie or ever. Would you feel more peaceful? More relaxed? How would you be in her presence without this thought? Would you be friendlier and happier and actually able to enjoy her presence rather than focusing on the fact she hasn’t cleaned? Most likely it’s a Yes. This question and inquiry makes you realize that the only reason why you see the person as “difficult” or frustrating is because of your own thought about it. Not about what the person has actually done – it’s your thought around it that makes you feel this way.

Step 6. Can you see a reason to drop the thought?

Since the thought is what causes all the negative feelings inside of you, can you see a stress-free reason to not actually have the thought? It’s important that you know that you can’t actually drop a thought. You can’t make that happen. But once you recognize that the thought is no longer necessary and you recognize all the things around it, the thought may float away on its own.

Advertising

Step 7. Turn the statement around

After you’ve done the inquiry it’s time to turn the statement around. Replace the name of the person in the statement with “you.” You’re basically turning the statement around to be about you. So “Katie never cleans the apartment” becomes “I never clean the apartment.” Think whether the new statement sounds as true or truer to you than the original statement you wrote.

Some eye opening a-ha moments may ensue!

Just spend the time and really do this and inquire within. Also, make sure you don’t just skip forward to the last statement, you have to do the questions first in order for this to truly make a positive effect. Hope this helps!

Featured photo credit: joltevic via morguefile.com

More by this author

22 Ways To Wake Up And Feel Super Positive For The Day 7 Steps To Understanding Yourself That Makes Dealing With Difficult People Easier If You’re In Burnout, You Surely Need These Tips

Trending in Communication

1 19 Golden Pieces of Relationship Advice From the Experts 2 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 3 How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship 4 How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future 5 This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

Advertising

The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

Advertising

If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

Advertising

In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

Advertising

It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

More Articles About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next