12 Bullet-Proof Beliefs for Maintaining Happy, Healthy Relationships with "Difficult" People
What 10+ Years of Complex Child and Youth Care Counselling in the Field of Social Services and Criminal Justice Has Taught Me About What It Takes to Truly Be a Happy, Healthy Support for 'Difficult' Children, Youth, Individuals and Families, Both Personally and Professionally... for Life!
"Difficult" People: People who are hurting and do not feel safe (non-judged), strong (supported), or worthy (inspired) enough to face and overcome the pain.
Key Principle: There is nothing you can say to get "difficult" people to change until they feel safe (non-judged), strong (supported), or worthy (inspired) enough.
So here are the 12 bullet-proof beliefs that are essential for having a happy and healthy relationship with those "difficult" people in your life. These beliefs are derived from 10 years of personal and professional experience learning about and dealing with complex issues involving immigration, legal issues, major crime, abuse, drug abuse, complex health and mental health issues, suicide attempts, sudden death, and more. Some of the beliefs below are concepts that have been modified from various pieces of literature that have helped me maintain happy, healthy relationships with some very "difficult" people during some of the worst periods of their lives. These are universal beliefs that you must challenge yourself to truly believe and embody in order to have others around you begin to believe in them too. Trust me, it happens.
Pick your battles.
Nobody is perfect; no individual is able to change everything all at once. Start small and prioritize; focus on one thing at a time. Take pride in every effort made towards change and celebrate every victory and success.
Always lead with kindness and empathy.
You never know what others may truly be going through. Be someone who is a pleasure to be around; be someone that you want to be around. Kindness is contagious and no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.
Lead by example.
People don't remember what you try to teach them as much as they remember what you are and how you made them feel. Never forget that you are a role model to everyone around you. Think before you speak; practice what you preach; pay careful attention to everything you decide to think, say, or do.
Live from the heart of yourself. Seek to be whole, not perfect.
The most powerful relationship you will ever have is your relationship with yourself. Discover yourself. Know yourself. Accept yourself. Grow yourself. Be yourself.
Remember to say the right thing at the right time but even more importantly, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
Just as there are plenty of times for 'teachable moments' there are also times to be silent and let others think for themselves. A meaningful silence is always better than meaningless words and silence can never be misquoted.
Apologize for your mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are one of life's greatest teachers. Never let pride get in your way of apologizing or taking accountability for your mistakes. In every mistake is potential for growth and the power to turn yourself into something better than you were before.
Accept that you cannot change what has already been done. Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die; like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone but only you get burned.
Never stop believing in people's ability to change.
Change takes time; change is cyclical, not linear; sometimes things go back before they go forward; sometimes things get worse before they get better. Be patient and remember that right now just may not be the right time.
Take care of yourself.
The more you take care of yourself, the more you can take care of others. You cannot pour from an empty cup; you cannot serve from an empty vessel.
It is never too late to rewrite your story.
You are not your mistakes. You are not your struggles. With every new day comes new opportunity to start over. At any given time you have the power to close a dark chapter and begin a new one or rewrite your story altogether.
Save money and fill your home with love and laughter instead.
There is little to be gained by filling a home with material things. Take time to embrace every moment and opportunity with your loved ones to celebrate, get silly, laugh out loud, play together, and make memories. These are the things that end up being most important to each of us in life.
It takes a village.
Have no shame in asking for support or guidance from others around you. You are not built to be able to do everything on your own. Asking others for help will keep you grounded and humble on your journey through life as you grow and become more and more of the amazing you!