Monday, July 1, 2013

July? Seriously? The summertime blues of dealing with people

July 1, 2013

I've been pensive lately as I consider my place in the universe. We've reached the halfway point of 2013 and I'm feeling a little stifled and stymied. That's not like me at all.

Nor is it like me to be discouraged. Is this the "summertime blues" for which there ain't no cure? If so, it's going to prove problematic to treat with the growing chaos of health care "reform" in the United States.

I suppose this funk started with a series of conversations with a woman who thinks she knows everything about everything. I'm sure you know the type. We rarely discuss life and death so in the overall scheme of things it's all fru-fru and just small talk. What I do care about is the lingering toxicity of dealing with her, what being nice on a continuing basis is doing to my state of mind.

The difficult person is something we all deal with from time-to-time. The stresses of a relationship in which we endeavor to create equality and balance with someone who cares little for such things is exhausting. Unless we decide to sever ties, we have to change our internal responses to that person for our own mental and emotional health.

Too often these days we do choose to sever ties. It's the easiest way out of a bad situation and, truthfully, no one should rule it out as a last resort. But isn't there more?

It's hard work to look beneath the surface, to take the time to discover the perspective of the other person and make the effort to understand their motivations and their point of view, but it's a worthwhile process. Sometimes we learn more about ourselves, who we don't want to be, than the other person but doesn't that benefit us? Learning about self comes from both the positive and the negative.

Some people live small lives full of fear and anxiety. As hard as it is, we need to be kind to them. We may be the only beacon of light they have and they fear losing us. The older they are, the greater that fear may become. Being alone at the end of days is a daunting prospect for anyone.

So it's time for me to shake off my dismay and discouragement and embrace a gentler, more loving approach to people I perceive to be greatly unhappy. I can't fix their situation or improve their lot in life, but I can be kind.

It will improve my life, and that is worth the effort.


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