As we travel through life, we encounter all kinds of people. Some we like, some we don’t, and some change our lives so much so that we choose to travel life with them by our side through the years. These people can be friends, colleagues or even lifelong partners. If we are fortunate enough to find these people we need to work long and hard to preserve and maintain our relationship with them over the course of our life. That takes work and much effort.
There are people we encounter that we don’t like. We don’t gel, we have nothing in common AND we find ourselves going out of our way to avoid being in their presence. Something about them doesn’t sit well with how we live our lives or treat people. They seem to embody all the things we want to rally against. Trouble is that more often than we care to imagine these people are in our world – colleagues, family, neighbors – and they are not going away. So we tolerate them, keep them at an arm’s length and do all we can to not be rude because they are going to be around for a long time. For this group it is best to just make it work, even if that means keeping them close enough to live with yet far enough away to not ignite sparks.
And then there are those people we cannot even tolerate. Indifference and neglect are the only ways we can survive them in our world. It is a harsh reality that we have people in our lives who embody all that we dislike. Sometimes they sit right next to you at work, sometimes they are your boss, or even worse they are family. It can be hard to love them and be around them when all they do grinds down our own resolve or they just invade our personal space. If we didn’t have some sort of life connection we would never be in their presence.
It is hard, sometimes even unbearable to be around this group. It seems like a cruel joke that life is playing on us, forcing us to interact with them. Or is it a blessing? It may seem hard to believe and yet having to interact with people we disdain forces us to practice kindness, be more aware of our feelings and emotions, and let’s face it they sand off our rough edges. They help us better define who we are and what we believe because they challenge us in every way. Conflict causes us to KNOW, really know what we believe and why. It forces us to stand up when things around us violate our core values. Which means we better understand who we are and what we are willing to fight for.
It may seem strange, yet let us give thanks for the people in our lives who rub us the wrong way. They help us remember what we believe and why we believe it. They make us a better version of ourselves. It might be a tough way to learn it, an even tougher way to understand ourselves, yet it all comes down to being who we are and accepting who they are even if those two people will never quite gel. Life would be rather dull and boring if everyone was just like us.