Difficult people....

Have you been noticing how you feel around other people? It’s easy to choose to be with those who we feel good around. Sometimes it is more difficult to distance those (especially loved ones) who are difficult or critical. However, remember that your body is in its optimal healing state when you are calm. When we are around difficult people, our nervous systems go into overdrive and our body produces epinephrine and cortisol, also referred to as “stress hormones.” These hormones cause the heart to beat more quickly, the blood vessels in the legs and arms dilate, the digestive process changes and then the glucose enters the bloodstream to deal with the stress. Over a long period of time, this creates a drain on the body and takes us out of the optimal healing state.

I have an acquaintance who is often incredibly critical and hurtful in her comments towards me. Whenever I was around her, I always left feeling upset and angry. I always promised myself that I would never be around her. However, with all the mutual friends we have, I knew I would miss seeing them and didn’t want to cut them out of my life.  

My husband always told me, “You can’t change her. You can only change your reaction to her.” Easier said than done, right! However, through meditation, I became less reactive over the years.  Instead of taking the bait with her comments or lashing out to her, I started to take a breath and pause before I responded. 

At a gathering last summer, she took a shot when I went to get seconds of the tasty lasagna. She loudly asked, “Is that your second or third time back to the food, Carla??” The room got quiet and I laughed. I said, “No, it is actually either my fourth or fifth, because this is so yummy!” My comment took the charge out of her accusation. Instead of an energetic spiral of negativity, I diffused the situation with humor. 

When someone says or does something that pains you, take a breath. Find your grounding. And, if you can remember—fill your intuitive center with 24K gold. This helps to neutralize the negativity. All of our communication is really just energetic exchanges. This doesn’t mean that we become a doormat and don’t stand up for ourselves; it just means that we are capable of shifting certain interactions. She is still not someone I would choose to be around. However,  I’ve also come to realize that she is a really unhappy individual who has experienced a lot of suffering in her life. This compassion towards her was also helpful in healing the relationship. A couple of years ago during a visit with loads of opportunity to practice my nonreaction, she actually cried while hugging me goodbye. She was genuinely sad to see me go. Even when I think of her now, it is with compassion instead of a charge. This shifted my own inner dialogue immensely!