Thankful for Difficult People

Today’s Thankful rumination focuses on the unexpected benefit to having people in our lives who challenge us each day. We mean those difficult people who don’t always cooperate with our needs, who challenge our egos and make us work to get what we want.

Why would anyone feel grateful for people who make their lives difficult, you wonder? Isn’t it better to have easygoing friends, family, lovers and coworkers who agree with everything we say and do?

Won’t it be more productive to just avoid those people who give us a hard time with whatever we want to accomplish?

Some people rock the boat instead of go with the flow. Maybe we get a little wet and upset when we hang out with these folks.

But honestly, if everyone always thought exactly what we thought, wouldn’t that eventually get a bit boring?

If life is an adventure, maybe it could be fun to sometimes be in the presence of people who oppose our views, contradict what we say, or even occasionally try to get us to do stuff we don’t want to do at a time when we don’t want to do it!

Believe it or not, the struggles we face in our relationships can make us stronger and more resilient in various aspects of our lives.

Think about a relationship you have that’s progressed over time. Were there once obstacles that once seemed insurmountable?

Did you eventually learn to predict each other’s reactions, not be upset by the other person, and eventually compromise?

That’s called personal growth. We can grow in our dealings with others. We don’t always have to become emotional about everything or take an all-or-nothing attitude.

Relationships that challenge us definitely make us stronger.

Suppose you’re dealing with a tough boss whose oversights force you work harder to be recognized. He doesn’t notice you, therefore now you must speak up to others at work about your contributions and accomplishments.

Over time, your way of dealing with your boss now spills over to other areas… like getting what you want as a consumer.

Now, thanks to your difficult boss, demanding to receive what you pay for seems like no sweat to you! And boom, you spoke up, and got yourself a raise.

JOURNAL EXERCISE:
What do we learn from people
who challenge us?

Who challenges you? Think of a friend or family member whose words and behavior force you to push the envelope or be walked all over.

How do you typically react to such a person?

If your main tactic is avoidance, what happens when a confrontation is inevitable? How do you react? Do you yell? Withdraw? Pout? Stew?

If you aren’t proud of your behavior around this person, what can you do to change?

How can you work out solutions, to get the message across AND get what you want from the association?

Think about the personality of this individual. Do they have certain admirable traits?

How can you turn those aspects of their personality that bother you, into something positive?

Can you show gratitude toward the ways they have helped you grow as person?

Describe how you’ve changed and matured since your first encounter with said person.

Be grateful for those problem-makers, who have molded you into a better, stronger, more resilient you!

Day 16: Thankful for Beautiful Music

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