We all have ’em. Friends that we love deeply who have friends we can’t stand. Extended family members who are disruptive, emotionally diminishing, or just plain pains in the butt. If we had the choice, these people wouldn’t be a part of our lives but because they are, through loving connections with others, we have to find a way of making the relationship with them work.
In general, we usually like people who are like us: same values, same patterns, same way of seeing the world. So if we can find a way to make ourselves in some way – however small – like or appreciate the person who drives us crazy, there’s a possibility that we can make our life easier.
“You are kidding, right? Make myself like that idiot who drives me nuts. Why would I want to do that?”
Relax… I said, make ourselves, in some way – some way, which includes subconscious body movements, speech patterns, even breath rhythm. Because science has shown that human beings all have a need to be accepted and appreciated. We subconsciously check for similarities or differences in others. We need to find – or make – a “sameness:” the existence of common ground, of common humanity. If we can make ourselves similar by something as simple as breathing in the same sequence, or talking at the same pace, or sitting in the same position, we create a deep subconscious feeling of acceptance. And the other person doesn’t even know it’s happening. In neurolinguistic programming (NLP) jargon, it’s called “rapport,” subconscious rapport. All the other person knows is that they feel more comfortable with you. You might want to read some NLP books or take some classes to find out more. I promise you, it will make a h-u-u-u-ge difference in your life, especially in your relationships with the unloved ones.
The next level of change in moving toward co-habitation on this planet with the unloved ones is listening. Really listening. Listen to the other with a view to understanding, not disagreement or agreement. This is not the time to prove you are right and they are wrong. You are listening and learning their view of their world so that you can better understand their personal needs, hopes, dreams, and wishes. Whether or not they share the same political views or social understandings as you do, it’s more important to realize where you are similar – love of family, animals, the outdoors – whatever. Make it your goal to find the sameness, not the differences. It changes the energy between you.
Everyone wants to be accepted and respected for who they are. It’s your job, as the person who wants to live in harmony, to find that place in them that can be respected and accepted in your mind and heart. Be generous with yourself, without losing your core. Life gets easier that way. And most importantly, you retain your power, your strength. You don’t lose it to anger or irritation. You are in charge.