It can take a lifetime to factor this simple truth into reality in our lives. Behavior arises from people’s personal experiences and perception – their experience and view of the world. When we experience a person or situation, our mind immediately makes a judgment, to keep us safe. It is part of a self-defense mechanism and how the ‘fear, fight or flight’ process works. The brain makes a rapid assessment and comes up with a conclusion: this is safe, or not.
If something is similar enough to something that hurt us in the past, an emotional response can be triggered and we can unconsciously react to the current situation as though the incidents were one and the same.
Even if you are in a situation with a difficult person, it isn’t actually about you. It never was. If not you, it would be somebody else with similar qualities that triggers a reaction and creates the sandpaper quality in this person. The important thing is to recognize that the flaw is a part of them, not you.
It is important that you learn:
• how to manage and resolve conflict,
• how to relate in a neutral manner
• how to respond rather than react,
• how to not take it personally.
Developing compassion for those who are armed with rough edges in our lives is a slow process that also involves close examination of our own perceptions. With patience and persistence, it is possible to learn to remain calm and to recognize that the problem isn’t necessarily something we have done. We can set a priority to learn to manage our own well-being and remember not to take the actions of another personally.
Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Mentor, Writer, Wife & Mom