Thursday, February 14, 2013

Loving Your Enemies

Chances are, there's someone in your life who drives you completely crazy. You are required to have repeated interaction with this person. Maybe it's a coworker, a relative, a friend's significant other. Whatever the case, interactions with them are unavoidable.

It's easy for this sort of situation to blow up repeatedly. This can be very damaging, causing problems at work or in your personal relationships. So what can you do to mitigate things?

I've found something that helps me change my perspective when interacting with people I dislike. As much as they may irritate me, I remember that someone loves that person deeply. That person has a spouse, a mother, a sister, a son, a good friend, or someone else who thinks they are absolutely wonderful. To their loved ones, my enemies are fantastic people.

I think about the habits my closest loved ones have that I find endearing, and understand how they might bother other people. While I might find it awesome that my boyfriend is always the center of a lively party, someone else may see that as obnoxious. I appreciate my friend's honest admission of declining an invitation because she just doesn't feel like going out, but someone else may think that's rude.

In the same way, the things that really get under my skin about the people I dislike are possibly the ones their loved ones like most. The guy who is never on time for meetings may show up a bit late for dinner as well, giving his wife extra time to prepare. The girl who never expresses a negative opinion about ideas she knows can't work may often listen patiently to her mother's schemes, ensuring Mom knows she has a sounding board.

So next time you find yourself gritting your teeth and biting your tongue when that one person you can't stand says that same thing that's been irritating you over and over, try to consider how their close loves would view the situation. It doesn't mean that they're right, or what they are doing is a good thing (it may be very bad for you indeed), but it will help you shift your perspective out of a place of anger.

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