Is there someone in your world who drives you absolutely insane?
Does this person’s voice sound like fingernails scraping against a chalkboard? Do you find yourself running for cover whenever he or she enters the room?
Like most of us caught in similar situations, you have undoubtedly wrestled with your negative feelings for far too long, wasting precious time and energy. Getting angry hasn’t helped, and ignoring the situation hasn’t worked either. What can you do to resolve this unhealthy personality conflict for good?
The biggest reason you and Joe Obnoxious can’t seem to find your groove is a simple lack of awareness. Sure, you are acutely aware of the silly, annoying or rude choices Joe makes. In fact, it’s very likely you could rattle off all of the inappropriate things Joe has said or done in minute detail. However, the awareness needed to free you from Joe’s clutches isn’t about his foibles; it’s about his humanity.
Here are a few helpful hints on how to see Joe in a new light, thus transforming your ‘oil-and-water’ relationship into one that resembles two peas in a pod.
Identify what drives you nuts. Name those characteristics Joe possesses that make you want to pitch a fit. Is he always late for meetings? Does he blame others for his own mistakes? Does he think he is better than everyone else? Is he a whiny-baby?
Look at his hidden concerns. What would you guess terrifies Joe when he is in his quiet moments? Is he afraid people don’t respect him? Is he afraid he may lose his job and won’t be able to find another one? Does he think if he doesn’t make a scene no one will notice him or care?
Admit where you have done the same things. Be honest with yourself and fess up to those times in the past where you have acted in a similar fashion. Haven’t you ever been in a funk and unable to meet commitments? Haven’t you found yourself complaining about how tough your life is? Haven’t you made those same poor choices Joe - and everyone else - has at some point? (This is by far the toughest step. It requires a lot of courage to admit where we have made boneheaded mistakes.)
Look at your own worries. What is it about Joe’s choices that rankle you so? If you peek underneath your anger and frustration, you will most likely find a little bit of your own anxiety hiding there. Maybe Joe’s poor performance puts more pressure on you, and you don’t think you’ll be able to handle the workload. Maybe you believe that if Joe is more visible, popular or appreciated than you are, then you will not be as valued in the eyes of your teammates or employer.
Recognize your similarities. While your personalities may be worlds apart, you and Joe share many things in common. You both want to be successful. You both want to be appreciated. You both have felt pain. You both experience fear every once in a while. When it comes to the things that count, you and Joe aren’t that different after all.
Perceive your adversary through a new lens. When you become fully aware that underneath Joe’s obnoxious choices lies a person who is struggling just like you are, those things that used to drive you crazy will lose their power. You will no longer see him as your enemy, but rather someone who deserves your compassion and understanding.
Believe it or not, Joe did not always act this way. Like the rest of us, Joe learned about proper behavior from the teachings he received from his parents, teachers and many other fallible sources. However, as children we often acted up when we didn’t receive the attention we desired. As adults, we sometimes fall into the same pattern. It is likely that your buddy Joe is a wounded grown-up who simply doesn’t know any other way to operate.
When we act from a place of compassion instead of judgment, our challenging relationships magically shift from acrimony to harmony. We begin to see ourselves in the other’s eyes, and our anger automatically melts away. If you decide to employ these techniques, you will quickly realize Joe isn’t out to get you or misbehaving to spite you.
By working to resolve the negative feelings within you, you will not only improve the relationship, but you will also be healthier and happier because of it. Joe may even start making better choices when he doesn’t get the usual response he seeks. Won’t it feel great to finally rid yourself of this emotional albatross you’ve been carrying around?
Theresa Rose is an inspirational speaker, author of the newly released book called Opening the Kimono, and founder of Serious Mojo Publications. Theresa specializes in fresh approaches to energy management, productivity and creative development. For more information, visit www.TheresaRose.net.