How to deal with difficult people and improve your relationships

How to deal with difficult people and improve your relationshipThis article introduces ideas that can help to broaden your perspectives as well as shift perceptual positions, no matter how complicated your interaction with another may be. With a broader view and a multiple perception stand-point you will have greater freedom to choose mindful responses in any type of interaction with people.

You are the only one who is responsible for your happiness.

When we feel emotionally affected by someone it’s because something that already exists inside us was triggered by that person. When we deal with what’s inside us then we no longer get triggered in the same way. We then stop blaming others for doing things to us. We see that the way they are is a reflection of their level of awareness and this enables us to remain resourceful and compassionate toward them.

The only way other people, including your family and friends exists for you is through your perceptions. Our perceptions determine how we behave. Our behaviour influences the behaviour of those with whom we interact, which in turn influences our perception about them. And so the cycle goes. In other words, the way in which people behave validates our perception of them, and so we always get to be right. Therefore our perceptions become self-fulfilling prophecies that keep recycling in our life.

Perceptions are subjective and therefore relationships can be seen as a process of intersubjective responses between people. Our perceptions of others (especially the important people in our life) often mirror the unconscious qualities of our own personality, which is what we’re not aware of in ourselves. In this sense we generally experience and judge others according to the internal representation of ourselves.

Problems occur in relationships when you get stuck in your point of view. When you refuse to see the situation from the other person’s perspective as well as from a more distant (observer) perspective, therefore only seeing it from your own map of reality, then conflicts are inevitable. Being able to shift perspectives between your position and another’s position and an observer position frees you from preconceived judgments toward others, which in turn fosters better communication, understanding, respect, compassion and harmony in that relationship.

This doesn’t mean that you stick around in an unwanted or abusive relationship. It means that you become empowered to act from a broader perspective of what is really going on. You are able to choose what is in your best interest and move in that direction without resentment or negativity or any sense of loss.

You’re only responsible for your own thoughts, feelings and behaviours. When we try change other people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours it often leads to disappointment and suffering. Changing your point of view and therefore your ability to respond differently in a relationship is the best chance you have of having a happy, healthy and successful partnership.

Fulfillment in relationships means not depending on someone else. Fulfillment is the privilege of an open mind and flexible points of view.

When we realise that at a deep level we are interconnected not only with our loved ones, but also with everyone and everything in nature, then we begin to treat others the way we would like to be treated.

It’s important to take responsibility for your feelings and to articulate them.
When describing your feelings, choose words that express what you are experiencing, as in “I feel sad, lonely, frustrated, jealous.” Avoid using words that reinforce your sense of victimization, such as “I feel neglected, rejected, betrayed.” Avoid judging others, you are informing them about your feelings, rather than blaming them for something that only you are responsible for anyway.

Practice the discipline of observing your internal reactions in relation to people with whom you’d like to interact more positively or resourcefully. This enables you to loosen your identification with thoughts like: “He shouldn’t have done that”; “She should be more understanding”; “Him saying that means he doesn’t care for me”; etc. Observing your thoughts in this way also enables you to more easily shift your attention away from limiting perceptions and identify with broader views that show you a greater truth.

Look beyond the person whom you want to relate to better. Open the aperture of your awareness by focussing not only on the person that you’re communicating with, but also on the space around them, as well as the space (or energy) that connects you with that person. If you can’t see their entire body, then you might be too much ‘in their face’. Also, by broadening your perceptual field and softening your gaze, you are able to relate to the whole human being in front of you rather than just their title.

Implementing the ideas shared in this article will enable you to change your own perception so that you can experience others with greater equanimity. Taking this mindfulness approach toward the people in your life affords you the freedom to experience more fulfilling relationships.

Remember: You are the only one who is responsible for your happiness!

This article’s content is inspired by the Relationship Resourcing audio programme.

Written by Jevon Dangeli – NLP Trainer & Coach
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