Finding Peace, Even Around Difficult People
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.
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 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. There's A Spiritual Solution to Every Problem.
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.