How heavy is your Teacup? – Dealing with difficult people

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Stress could be one of the reasons why people become difficult on themselves and others. When you are stressed at work you carry it back home, give folks at home a very hard time, and then because of that hard time at home you have problems with your family that adds to the stress.  You then carry the stress from home back to work.  I see that people are stressed out even before they begin their day.

This vicious cycle of negativity and stress, so much so, that we really must learn to deal with that problem, whether at home or at work.

Dealing with difficult people - disengage

The old Buddhist story – How heavy is the cup?

The longer you hold it, the heavier it feels. If you keep holding it for five minutes, your arm aches, ten minutes – you will be in great pain, if you keep holding this for half an hour then the pain will be unbearable. What should you do when it starts to get heavy? Put it down for five minutes. Try this at home, pick it up again after say about five minutes and it would seem much lighter. Does that mean its weight has changed?  It’s exactly the same weight – it feels lighter because you disengaged with it for a while.  You took a pause, some rest.

The same is with difficult people. The longer you engage with them the more painful it will be.  The more stressed out you will feel as they become more and more difficult with time.  Like with the teacup, it is best to disengage for a moment – maybe take a 10 min. break or go for a walk.  You will feel a bit lighter when you come back and pick up the conversation again.

You would have experienced this yourselves many times at home or in the office.  When we keep engaging with those who are difficult, it does not just anger you, but you end up feeling a whole lot frustrated.  You may even feel exhausted at the end of such conversations, unable to think clearly.  It affects your judgment, and you tend to get caught in the vicious cycle.

Disengage to re-engage meaningfully – a way to deal with difficult people

What other methods do you adopt while dealing with difficult people at work?

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