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Managing Relationships by Sheila Singam

Whether you are dealing with a difficult person at work or at home, most of us have encountered unreasonable people in our lives. It’s easy to feel ‘stuck’ or allow a challenging person to affect us and ruin our mood or day. Sheila Singam, Human Equation’s Coach uses NLP principles and talks about some keys to empowering us in these situations and the challenging relationships in our life.

What do we mean by difficult people? – Those around us who are constantly angry, or always negative or those who are never satisfied. People who are toxic or put us down constantly.

First, look beyond a person’s behaviour. A person is not their behaviour. Separate the person from the behaviour. For example, instead of saying, “This person is difficult,” say “This person is behaving in a difficult manner.” Regardless, no one can make you feel or react a certain way. It’s always our choice how we decide to feel and respond to them. It usually affects us when it’s the people closest to us or ones that we have close contact with.

Are we reactive or are we proactive people? Do we choose to take on what people throw at us? – That’s the difference between people operating at cause or at effect.

We need to examine ourselves, first of all. – We can’t change people. Ask yourself what you can do to impact the relationship?

Perception is projection. What you feel inside is what you project to others, even unconsciously. If you have utmost confidence in who you are and your self worth, nobody should be able to make you feel the opposite. Children do not have the analytical ability to filter what is true and false. As adults, we do.

What if it’s someone close to us? – We tend to always want the people closest to us to have a really good impression of us and have value in their eyes. When they express the opposite, we tend to get hurt. And then we start doubting ourselves and questioning ourselves. And thus begins a cycle that makes the relationship worse.

Forgiveness Presupposition 

Ask ourselves what is behind the behaviour of difficult people. It could be that they are insecure, not as confident or are hurting themselves. That is one reason. It could be that they are projecting what they feel inside, even unconsciously. It could be a cry for attention.

What if we go around and make them feel valued instead? This takes time and effort. You have to be willing to put in the work. It won’t change overnight so that is a choice you have to make. Is the relationship worth the effort? If yes, we have to take the initiative.

Case Study –

#1 Dealing with Difficult Boss in a Customer Service Business

  1. Look at what is important in our interaction with people. Some are very responsive to your tonality of voice and sometimes it’s your physiology.
  2. Look beyond the person’s behaviour. We did a role play, where my client stood in her boss’ shoes and I pretended to be her boss. It dawned on my client – her boss is not just servicing her needs. He is dealing with the pressure from a number of warehouses and others. My client was able to have an ‘a-ha’ moment and understand why her boss was dealing with her in such a way. Her physiology changed immediately after she changed her perception. Physically acting this out makes such a difference.
  3. If you want to resolve the situation, you need to take the initiative first.
  4. My client tried a different approach. She changed her attitude and decided to approach her boss by being nice and asking him in a nice way how he was. Over time, there was a shift in their relationship and it became easier.

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