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Finding Peace, Even Around Difficult People

Updated on September 8, 2012
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Giving Your Peace Away

I was jogging with friends, (our weekly "therapy session") and telling my tale of woe. A person in my life, one who always managed to "push my buttons", was at it again. Acting mean to me. Condescending. And rude. The same story I've told before, just slightly different circumstances this time. "Can you even believe it?" I exclaimed to the group. "How could someone be like that?"

One friend responded to my complaints with these wise words: "You are expecting people to act like you do. And not everyone will."

Her statement really made me think. Because she was right. I try my best to always be kind. And friendly. To listen to others. And to care. So when I don't get that back from someone, I get kind of astounded. How can they be so rude, or arrogant, or thoughtless, I'd wonder. When people failed to respond the way I thought they should, I'd feel bitter, like, HEY, I am always nice toward you. Why don't you ever say hello to me? I always compliment you--would it kill you to think of one nice thing to say to me? I've only been kind to you,so how can you be so cruel? My friend's wise words made me realize that just because I was practicing kindness, it didn't mean others in my life would be doing the same toward me, even though I wanted them to. And after so many disappointing and stressful encounters with the same people over and over again, why was I expecting a different outcome?

We all have people in our lives that "push our buttons." People who touch a nerve with their actions, words, or lack thereof. When we allow these encounters to bring us down every time, or stress us out, we are perpetuating the cycle rather than making it better. In my case, I would get stressed by the encounters with the "button-pushers", then get angry at myself for allowing it to happen again and again. As another friend said to me, "you are giving your peace away."

I didn't want to give my peace away anymore. I have since learned that there are ways to "keep the peace" within.



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How to Keep the Peace Within

The first step in keeping the peace within, even when dealing with difficult people, is to accept that they will not change. Accept that you will probably not get the response or interaction that you are hoping for from this person and instead look for it from others in your life. Be grateful for all of the positive encounters that build you up, from whatever source. Maybe you will never be validated by one particular person in your life, for example---but perhaps that validation is available to you from others in your life, whether they be teachers, neighbors, friends, co-workers or even strangers. Be thankful for the kindnesses bestowed upon you rather than focusing on what is unavailable to you elsewhere.

Become an "instrument of peace". Wayne Dyer talks about these steps in his book There's A Spiritual Solution to Every Problem. He says to decide " that you are not going to use your mind for anything other than peaceful thoughts." No matter the difficult people or situations in your life, always know that you can go to your personal, private oasis of peace located within you. This is a mindset, but it really works! Focus on finding and feeling own your peace, and sharing it, rather than trying to receive it from a source outside yourself.

Look at difficult situations as opportunities. In the storm of a difficult encounter, do not blame others for your lack of peace. Look to yourself. When frustrated or angered by someone, use that as a cue to practice your peaceful feeling. Search for your calmness, and remember your commitment to steadfast peace, despite what someone else is doing or saying. Always remember that no one can take your peace away, unless you give it!

Remember this affirmation: "I can choose peace rather than this." Whether or not you feel peace depends not on the difficult person or the situation--it depends on your thoughts. No matter what someone hurls at you , you can choose always choose to feel at peace. Try it next time!

Make time for quiet. Take time for meditation, silence and nature. A quiet mind is a peaceful mind. By practicing these peaceful techniques, you will be able to access that serene feeling when you need it most, such as when you are dealing with a difficult person.

Seek peace out. Think peaceful thoughts and look for opportunities to be a peacemaker yourself. When your thoughts and actions are on peace, there will be more peace in your life, and more access to it when you need it the most.

Make peace with yourself. As Wayne Dyer says, "you can't give away what you don't have." When you forgive yourself for any and all past mistakes, you will be more forgiving toward others. You will be less offended by others' actions as you focus more on the peace within yourself. Lifted by your own serenity, others won't be able to bring you down. You will begin to see those "button-pushers" in a different light---as individuals who are missing out on the peaceful, easy feeling you now have.




Closing Peaceful Thoughts

When dealing with difficult people, you must first accept that they are not going to change. Therefore, the change must come from within you. Tell yourself that, no matter what, you will not give your peace away. Keep your serenity with you at all times and summon it through your thoughts and commitment. Take time for meditation, quiet and nature, and learn how to calm the mind, even in the most tense times. Above all, make peace with yourself. And always know that no matter the situation you face, you can always choose peace.

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    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      Great advice! I will try to change my perspective as suggested rather than get riled when my buttons are pushed. Thank you !! :)

    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      A very sensible way of looking at things. I always expect people to act as I do and am constantly disappointed!

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      A very different approach and good advice, very useful hub, thanks

    • timorous profile image

      timorous 4 years ago from Me to You

      Absolutely right, g-girl. You have to really know yourself, and be comfortable and confident in your own skin. Then you'll know the negative things people say about you are (usually) untrue.

      I recently had a related comment in my Why Does it Bother Me hub. It was about dealing with noisy neighbors who couldn't care less whether they were bothering anyone. You can't really deal with them in any meaningful way, without escalating the rhetoric, so you just need to keep your peace and let it be...or move..lol.

    • nancymaggielee profile image

      nancymaggielee 4 years ago

      I thought I would share another quote by Wayne Dyer which seems to be very fitting to this hub - he said "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." It's definitely true that we can only change ourselves and our own thoughts and reactions to others. Thanks for the great advice, excellent hub!

    • g-girl11 profile image
      Author

      g-girl11 4 years ago

      cat on a soapbox, I truly hope the new perspective helps you. Keep thinking of that affirmation: "I can choose peace rather than this." Those words have helped me. Good luck and thanks for reading!

    • g-girl11 profile image
      Author

      g-girl11 4 years ago

      Peanutritious,

      Yes, my friend's words really jolted me to my expectations. We can't change others (and they don't change!) I now accept things as they are and work on my own peace instead. Hope that works for you, too!

    • g-girl11 profile image
      Author

      g-girl11 4 years ago

      Thanks girishpuri! Hope it works for you!

    • g-girl11 profile image
      Author

      g-girl11 4 years ago

      timorous, that is a running thought in my head as well: "why does it bother me?!" Hopefully these suggestions will help when dealing with your neighbors. Don't you love having people like that in your life who really help with your personal development?? :)

    • g-girl11 profile image
      Author

      g-girl11 4 years ago

      nancymaggielee,

      Love that quote! Wayne Dyer has so many good ones. Glad you enjoyed the hub and thanks for reading.

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 4 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      g-girl, you're right on target. This Hub reminds me of one I wrote on Dealing with Difficult People, Don't Let Difficult People Get You Down! May I link this Hub to mine?

      The most important thing as you said is our own choice. We choose to let ourselves get bothered and by the same token we can choose peace and let those things slide off of us.

      Great Hub that I'm sure many people will find helpful!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My friends and I call it "renting out head space in my brain." In other words, I can choose who I allow to spend time in my brain....and negative people need not apply. :) Love your message!

    • sradie profile image

      sradie 4 years ago from Palm Coast FL

      Jesus said it best, John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

      Christians find their affirmation comes from Christ, not from the world. IICor 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

      I find that to be true. Affirmation from friends and loved ones, sometimes even strangers, is a great blessing but when it doesn't come as I might expect it to, I am reminded of this one critical thing; John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

      I have to ask, is there ANY affirmation greater than this? Not for me. I like what you said about what we 'expect' in other peoples interactions with us. It is our very own expectations that make us vulnerable to having our buttons pushed. Well written hub. A good reminder for me since I have been experiencing this exact same thing recently.

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 4 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      rsadie, you're right, as no one can change God's mind about who we are, no one can take away His love and he will never change or give up on us. See my Hub "Love and Fear" which has to do with this!

    • g-girl11 profile image
      Author

      g-girl11 4 years ago

      debbiepinkston,

      absolutely, link your hub! I remember reading yours and really enjoying and learning from it. I actually tried to find it again to link to mine, but couldn't remember the exact title or author. So glad you are linking and thanks for reading!

    • g-girl11 profile image
      Author

      g-girl11 4 years ago

      debbiepinkston,

      that's right, we can always choose peace. Definitely link hubs! (See my other comment to you below.)

    • g-girl11 profile image
      Author

      g-girl11 4 years ago

      billybuc,

      I like that saying! You are right---negative people will not get space; I choose peace instead! Thanks for reading.

    • g-girl11 profile image
      Author

      g-girl11 4 years ago

      Thanks, sradie! I hope these reminders help with what you've been experiencing!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 4 years ago from london

      Very sound advice. We all have to learn somehow, and you are learning fast. "Peace begins when expectation ends" - Sri Chinmoy

    • angelskies profile image

      angelskies 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Great hub! I will definitely read some of your suggested books.

    • g-girl11 profile image
      Author

      g-girl11 4 years ago

      manatita44, I LOVE that quote. I will remember it and refer to it often, I am sure!

    • g-girl11 profile image
      Author

      g-girl11 4 years ago

      angelskies, thank you and I hope you enjoy the books!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 4 years ago from london

      Thanks g-girl11.

      I am sure that we are all spiritual people here trying to do our best. I am sending you another 2 quotes, quite similar:

      "Try not to change the world, you will fail.

      Try to love the world.

      Lo, the world is changed, changed forever." - Sri Chinmoy.

      "Mind, my mind, do not try to change the world. You will undoubtedly make the world infinitely worse.

      Heart, my heart, do love the world. You will unmistakably make the world infinitely better." - Sri Chinmoy.

      Thank you for allowing me to share. For sublime quotes on different topics, you can click www.srichinmoylibrary.com and use the search engine. God speed!

    • g-girl11 profile image
      Author

      g-girl11 4 years ago

      Thank you again manatita44. Another inspirational quote for me to remember. Thank you also for the website--I will check it out!

    • DreamingBoomer profile image

      Karen Kay 2 years ago from Jackson, MS

      Well put! I have to agree with you. It is not always easy. Sometimes I have to stop and think my way through a situation before I react in order to keep the peace, but it is so worth it!

    • g-girl11 profile image
      Author

      g-girl11 2 years ago

      Hi DreamingBoomer. I think you hit the nail on the head...thinking our way through is always a good idea. Being proactive always works out better than being reactive. Thanks for your comment!

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