Maintaining Integrity Around Annoying People
We all have people in our lives who are especially frustrating; people we cannot escape.
Summertime and holidays tend to put us in situations where we come face to face with these folks and their condescending comments, disapproving glances, and that laser-beam-stare of judgement that appears to scrutinize every molecule of your body like a high-tech gadget in a sci-fi movie.
Not that I would know anything about that.
Anyway, I maybe have had a conversation or two with some friends who have expressed dismay concerning a forthcoming event at which they will be forced to dodge ridicule and scorn.
If you can’t relate to this post, if you don’t already feel like you are re-living the derision, come back tomorrow and we will talk about something else.
If you’ve read this far and you’ve already had to take two deep breaths just from the mention of these moments, keep reading.
The internet says we should treat people the way they treat us. It says JUMP SHIP when people are jerks. And sometimes it is good to cut the cord on painful relationships. But as a responsible adult, it might be in the best interest of your marriage if you just suck it up and have a 15 minute conversation with Aunt Mel, even though there’s a good chance she will laugh outright at you when you reveal you quit your job to stay home with the kids (or got a job, or changed jobs, or whatever. She’s never satisfied.). As an obedient child of God, you should not be lippy when Great Uncle Leo asks if you are STILL going to THAT church, and you should do your best to avoid getting involved when Grandma asks how much weight Aunt Colleen has put on.
First of all, you need to give yourself a pep talk before this event. You have lots to be proud of. You are impressive. You are talented and clever and you are doing God’s work wherever you are whatever it is. You are a valuable child of God who is loved and cherished and you are some fabulous things to some exceptional people. They love you. Don’t forget that.
My good friend Heidi is the one who suggested preventative work so that when Satan attacks, we are ready. In other words, you identify a weak area where you frequently feel defeated, and arm yourself with Scripture that can lift you up and keep you going.
So if you can relate to the challenge of facing people who aren’t exactly “nourishing your soul,” and you can’t escape them, let’s identify some ways we can bounce back.
My therapist calls it “self-talk.” It’s when you think about what it is you are believing about yourself, or hearing about yourself, and then you respond. I know it feels borderline multiple-personalities, but I’m not above that. Are you?
- I forgot something and I get the “what kind of an idiot are you?” look….
Instead of replaying that in my mind for the next 6 hours and FEELING like an idiot, how ’bout I focus on this instead:
〉You ARE defined by….
Clarification: Not that WE have overcome anything, but that God has done it for us. And because He is in us, we are defined by Him!
Save those reminders to your phone if you have to for the day. There’s nothing like clinging to the Word of God for strength.
- When you walk up to a group of people and no one says hello, or you get the cold shoulder…
Instead of dwelling on their attitude and your anger/disgust/disappointment…
〉See if there is something useful that needs to be done. Being useful is always better than being bitter.
〉Start singing the Shake it off song to yourself and remember this hilarious video…
〉If you want to explore more about the art of being rejected… check this out. Whole new perspective. I think he might be on to something.
- How bout when someone says “So what are you doing these days?” and you excitedly tell them about your newest achievement in the art of knitting. Or whatever awesome thing you do that they don’t respect. And what follows is an awkward moment of silence where they attempt to think of somewhere they need to be.
〉Keep this in mind…
〉So maybe just ask them more questions about themselves. People love to talk about themselves and meanwhile find something good to drink and a sunny spot to sit so you can at least enjoy a few things while they entertain themselves.
Here’s the deal. We all have to face not-so-comfortable personalities. Find a way to do it with class. The number two commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. It’s easy to love people who are loving. Consider it a little mission trip you are on as you figure out a way to love these people who aren’t so loveable. Leave your laser beam glare at home, make a pasta salad to share, and stand tall. When it’s over you can curl-up with your favorite book/tv show/hobby/friend and breath a sigh of relief.