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The Hidden Gift

Last modified 2014-03-28 18:29

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We've become really close, she and I.  I'm really happy about that.  She's been opening up to me gradually and I can see her getting more and more comfortable.  She tells me about how she recently handled a difficult situation and I am really impressed.  I tell her so.  She says she thinks she really kept her side of the street clean, handled herself with grace and dignity yet the person she was speaking with reacted so immaturely that she was confused.  She felt that she handled herself the right way yet this person’s reaction felt insensitive and unwarranted.  We discussed how this person had behaved this way many times in the past towards her and that she probably shouldn’t be surprised.  And then I shared with her something that has made it easier for me to deal with difficult people:

"Sometimes people are in your life to teach you how NOT to behave"


Every relationship I have had has been a gift, especially the difficult ones.  I have learned more about life and about myself from the lessons that the challenging people have presented.  They have all been a gift because without those people I wouldn't have been able to practice the tools I was taught in Alanon.  I would have never known the deeper meaning of boundaries or detachment or forgiveness or not accepting unacceptable behavior.  Because of these challenging relationships I learned how to take better care of myself.   I've realized that each person has taught me something I wouldn't have necessarily learned otherwise.  When I take the time to get quiet and journal about a difficult person or situation I'm able to ask myself "Ok, why is this happening?  Everything happens for a reason so what’s the reason? What is this meant to teach me?"

I've been able to help my teenage daughter deal with the difficult people that are in her life as well.  I've explained to her that I've learned how NOT to be a wife, mother, friend, employee, mother in law, grandmother, customer, boss, etc. due to the example of the difficult people I've dealt with.  It's taken me many years, but I am grateful for the hidden gifts those people have given me.  The opportunity to know myself better through the challenging situations and the challenging people I’ve had in my life has built up my self-esteem, empowered me and made me the grateful person I am today.

Once I realized the power of recognizing these hidden gifts, it lessened the negative feelings I had toward the challenging people I encountered.  I saw their behavior as a way to get clear about the person I wanted to be in this world by understanding how I didn't want to behave in my world.   I'm not always thrilled to have to deal with difficult people but I know that I learn more with each "gift" that shows up in my life.

So the next time you are dealing with a difficult person, whether they're a stranger or a close relative, say an internal "Thank you" and smile because your mother always told you to say thank you when you receive a gift.

Who are the difficult people in your life?  What have they taught you?

What example are you setting for the people in your life?  Are YOU an example of how NOT to behave?

Name one difficult situation you're having.  How is that situation a gift?


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