How to Coexist with Someone You Don't Like
Maybe you’re not even sure why, but you feel slightly queasy when you see that person, hear his name, or (God forbid) watch him walk into the room.
Maybe, you just don’t like the style she wears, the way she walks and talks or the attention she gets.
Whatever it is, your smile disappears, your joy diminishes at the thought of that person. However, circumstances dictate that you encounter that person more often than you would like. Before your next unsettling episode, try this. It works.
An Exercise in Taking Control
In a quiet moment, visualize you and that person seated in arm chairs facing each other. Accept that the reason for your dislike, resentment, jealousy or any other negative attitude is purely speculative. Make the effort to discard your opinions. Then consider these three facts:
- (1) There is something about that person you do not understand.
- (2) Somebody dislikes you (same way you dislike that person) for the same reason: he or she or she does not understand something about you. Consequently you share something in common with that person sitting across from you; you are equals.
- (3) Since lack of understanding is a sign of your human limitation, you are allowing your weakness or limitation to rob you of your oomph (energy and love of life). You want to change that.
By now, you’re ready to forgive yourself for sabotaging your own happiness. The next step is to transform the person, for your own sake, from the threatening figure of oomph destroyer to the friendly face of oomph builder.
Your aim is not to become bosom friends, though that is possible, but to take back the power you have previously given that person to bring negativity into your space. In the process you may learn more and understand enough about the person to actually like something about him or her.
You have the control as you lean (in your imagination) toward the person facing you. Ask the following questions.
(1) How Can I Empower You?
Actually, you're asking, "How can I empower you to empower me?" Everyone including your former oomph destroyer has qualities, talents or skills worthy of admiration. If you haven’t noticed any before, clear away your prejudice and stare at the replays of your previous encounters until at least one virtue appears.
Based on the strengths you notice, rehearse one or two compliments that you intend to speak to the person, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t cost you anything, and it is worth the effort to help you change your attitude toward him or her.
Affirmation, encouragement, approval or any other form of verbal support, gives the receiver a reason to put forth his best behavior. You will begin to look for and notice other positive traits as you begin to feed the person’s sense of worth. Your response to the person’s presence will change for the better, and attitude change is contagious.
(2) What Can I Learn from You?
Recognizing that someone has the ability to share with you helps you accept that person. Your self-imposed discomfort or dislike may be obstructing your view of noble actions you can imitate.
There once was a single mother who worked for low wages and who had more children than she could seemingly manage. Her living was substandard and her well-to-do executive neighbor ignored (disliked) her —until the day the unassuming woman taught her a valuable lesson in parenting. The poor woman watched as one of her neighbor’s two children playing in the backyard shouted to the mother that she would like to have a soda pop. Knowing that the other child would soon ask, the mother came to the door with two soda pops.
Summoning her bravery, the onlooker addressed the mother of two, and asked, “What happens when you only have one bottle of pop? Give the pop to the child who asked, and give her an opportunity to share.” The generous mother was surprised and impressed. She had never thought like that, but it made sense.
The person you dislike for one reason or another, may have the answer to your question or the suggestion that might make your project a success. Treat him or her like someone who has as much value as you have. Your self-worth is reflected in the worth you place on others.
- When You Feel Like You Just Don't Like People | www.succeedsocially.com
Some statements I've heard from people who are quite lonely and socially isolated are: 'I just don't like other people. Honestly, that's why I don't have any friends', and 'I hate people. People suck.' Here are my thoughts.
- Working with Someone You Don't Like? | Psychology Today
Don't just grin and bear it. By Peter Bregman...
(3) How Can I Serve You?
Nothing inspires care for others like willing service; not necessarily scheduled hours of duty, but small acts of kindness.
Offer to lend a book or movie, share a recipe, bring a gift of fruit or flowers from your garden, or simply ask what assistance would be appreciated. When you show that you care, the other person often responds in expressions of gratitude, and similar kind gestures.
Service calls for humility, the antidote to arrogance which develops when someone justifies a reason for dislike or disrespect. People think about you long after you serve them, and the good thoughts they think, surface in their actions toward you.
Serve the other person and feel the joy boomerang before you even receive thanks. It will ensure a smile of satisfaction with every memory.
© 2013 Dora Isaac Weithers
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