In recovery, we are taught to live life on life’s terms. Yet, we are rarely taught to live life on people’s terms. People are difficult. Life presents us difficult people. A good situation can turn into a difficult situation when we are dealing with difficult people. Recovery in our lives puts us at both an advantage and a disadvantage for dealing with difficult people.
The Recovery Advantage
Compassion and empathy have been shown to us since the beginning of our recovery. We have been shown the way for understanding that difficult people go through or have gone through difficult things. After all, not too long ago, and probably sometime soon, we have been difficult ourselves. Love and tolerance is our code, we are taught through the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and other programs. Tolerating others while continuing to love them regardless of who they are is something we learn in recovery. However, it is often easier said than done.
The Recovery Disadvantage
Learning to love and tolerate others has been the result of learning to love and tolerate ourselves. We have a common saying in recovery, if you spot it, you’ve got it. Developing an attitude of gratitude, being kind toward others, and maintaining peace in our lives has taken great work. Our lives were in the worst place they had ever been. Through hard work we pulled ourselves out and made the changes. We can’t know what anyone else is going through. As a result we tend to make judgments. It couldn’t be worse than living with a life-threatening addiction or a mental health disorder! How worse or not worse the cause behind someone’s tendency toward being difficult is doesn’t matter. Cultivating empathy and practicing compassion continues to be key
Here are three suggestions for navigating a difficult person in another wise not difficult situation.
- Be Kind: Sometimes all a difficult person needs is the loving-kindness of an understanding stranger. Rather than be averse, show them the same kindness and patience which has been shown to you so many times.
- Bring Peace: We cannot resolve every situation by being a peacemaker. What we can be is peaceful, which tends to have a peaceful effect. Bring the peace by not creating conflict out of difficulty.
- Surrender Control: being right, proving a point, showing someone how difficult they are- these are all wasted efforts for the sake of trying to be in control. We cannot control every difficult person we encounter. We can’t control any of them. Radical acceptance is the practice of embracing the totality of what is, as it is.
Learning to live is the reason we get sober. At Enlightened Solutions, we are showing clients how to live a peaceful, holistic lifestyle. Our programs seek to heal mind, body, and spirit by bringing together the best of alternative healing, holistic therapy, and clinical treatment. For more information, call 833-801-5483.