It can feel like you need a miracle to get along with people like this: Amy constantly complains. Even in situations where all is going well, she still manages to find something negative to say. Amy’s husband and kids try their best to please her, as do others who know Amy, but nothing they do seems to be good enough. Her constant criticism has alienated her from the people who love her the most. Darrell thinks he’s right all the time, no matter what. If people dare to disagree with him, they’d better watch out. His loud and rude comments to coworkers have nearly gotten him fired more than once, and his stubbornness has prevented him from making many friends.
Difficult people -- the ones who fray your nerves and drain your energy -- can be found anywhere: in your family or neighborhood, at work or at school. It’s tempting to avoid them, since interacting with them can be so awkward, unpleasant, and stressful.
Miraculously, though, you can actually can get along well with difficult people if you seek help from God and the angels for dealing with such relationships. You may even come to find that once you understand difficult people better, you’ll actually enjoy spending time with them. But even if that never happens, you can still learn to live at peace with them -- no matter what.
All people are valuable and loveable in God’s and the angels’ eyes -- even with all of their faults. Throughout history, the angels have watched God create all human beings in his image, with the potential to accomplish good purposes. God and the angels see good people, not difficult people. The difficulty with "difficult" people is that they’ve got sin in their lives, which major religious texts say everyone must deal with in this fallen world. So consider the love that God and the angels have extended toward you despite your sins, and let your gratitude for their unconditional love motivate you to be kind to the difficult people you encounter.
Here are some ways you can cope with -- and even improve -- your relationships with difficult people:
- Rather than focusing on trying to change other people, decide to change your own behavior around them. It’s futile to try to change difficult people. Only God and the angels can empower them to change their attitudes and actions. But when you change the way you respond to difficult people, you change the dynamic of your relationships with them. Commit to building better relationships with them by changing how you interact with them.
- Pray about the difficult issues between you and other people. Pray specifically about your concerns in each of your relationships with difficult people. Ask God and the angels to work each issue out for the best.
- Forgive. Ask God and the angels to help you go through the process of forgiving difficult people for any ways they have previously hurt you. Don’t allow bitterness to poison your current relationships.
- Set appropriate boundaries when interacting with difficult people. Respond positively to their positive behavior and don’t give much attention to their negative behavior so you don’t reinforce it. If they mistreat you, let them know in a loving yet firm manner.
- Encourage difficult people however you can. Compliment them on their accomplishments and cheer them on when they take risks.
- Have courage but use tact when confronting difficult people about a hot-button issue. When discussing the issue, make sure your purpose is to work toward the goal of strengthening your relationship. Rather than just pointing out problems, suggest solutions.
- Show love and humility. When talking with difficult people about conflicting values, pray for God and the angels to bring you all into alignment with divine purposes.
- Take the time to actively listen to difficult people and try to understand them. Seek to discover what’s most important to them, and why. Recognize where some of their different perspectives may be coming from. They may be of a different generation, for instance, or a different cultural background; keep that in mind as you seek to get to know them better. Also remember that men and women communicate differently. Men generally communicate to exchange information and try to resolve issues, whereas women usually communicate to express themselves and try to build relationships.
The more you reach out to difficult people, the more love from God and the angels will flow through your life into their lives. After a while, they may not be so difficult anymore, since that love will change them for the better!