How to deal with difficult people at Christmas

The Hidden Gifts Of Christmas

by Jacquie Wise

Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year Celebrations are supposed to be a time of bonding and connecting with those we love.  A time of remembering those far away, and letting them know we’re thinking of them.  But too often it can be a time of groaning: ‘Do I REALLY have to see them?’ What hidden gifts are these ‘difficult’ people bringing you? Maybe just the gift you really need!

It’s the disappointments and frustrations of life, and people we refer to as ‘difficult’, which challenge us to grow.  If we can learn to see life’s lessons as opportunities, then we can learn to appreciate the gift behind the pain.

Life doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it, and seeing the benefit in our adversities can involve a lot more than just ‘looking on the bright side’.  Think about it: isn’t it through adversity that we develop the strengths and wisdoms we call maturity?  For example, how could we ever learn patience without the trials of endless frustration?  We only cultivate self-discipline by overcoming self-indulgence and procrastination.  And without fear, we wouldn’t be courageous, because courage is the ability to rise above and beyond our fears.

Circumstances and people can both be your tutors. Since Christmas is a time for being with people, let’s look at some people examples:

Aggressive people: They challenge us to stand up for ourselves and learn to deal constructively with conflict.  Their purpose may also be to teach us to listen more attentively, so that we can really hear what they’re aching to express through their anger.

Selfish people: They teach us to question our capability to be generous and considerate, or perhaps to set healthy boundaries.

Cheats and liars: These people cause us to examine our own levels of integrity, including our ability to be honest with ourselves.  They also teach us self-respect, as we evaluate what we’re prepared to put up with.

Emotional blackmailers or manipulative people: Through these types, we learn to understand human nature as we observe the games people play to protect themselves.  We also develop more awareness about our own games.  We develop our communication, negotiation and conflict management skills.

Opinionated, pedantic, dogmatic types: They challenge us to think rationally, develop strong arguments and express them powerfully.  They also provide us with opportunities to learn tolerance for other perspectives.

All of these ‘difficult’ people provide us with the opportunity to move beyond resentment and bitterness into greater self-knowledge and dignity.

Now here’s a scary thought:  What hidden gifts are you bringing others?

I’d love to know what you think of what I’ve said here.

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