Coping with difficult people

Several months ago I made a decision that has had a huge impact on the way I live my life.  Instead of getting upset when someone says or does something to hurt my feelings, I will stop and pray for them.  It doesn't mean that my feelings don't get hurt, but it helps me to feel less pain and put things into perspective.

Be kind to everyone you meet for we are all fighting some kind of battle.

I believe that no matter how much of a tough guy act someone may put on, all they really want in life is to be happy, and hurting others is not a recommended detour on the path to happiness.  Unfortunately, when we feel pain we want others to feel pain with us so that we are not alone.  I have chosen to look at these experiences with a whole new perspective, and now see them as a sign that they are struggling in the search for happiness in their life.  A sign that I need to pray for them, and be a little kinder because they don't need any more pain in their lives. 

So when someone hurts my feelings I pray for them and for whatever battle they are currently facing.  I ask that God will help them find joy and ease their pain so that they will not go on to cause pain in others.  In my prayer I remind (tell?) myself that they are deflecting their inner pain onto me and that's ok.  I am simply sending up a prayer, acknowledging that this person aches inside, and asking God to please keep an eye on them until they are able to work through whatever is causing them to lash out at others.

There are many ways people react when their feelings are hurt.  I'm not going to argue about what is the correct or incorrect way to respond when your feelings are hurt.  Only you really know what is best for you.  This is what works for me.

I feel better when I do this. This takes a painful situation and turns it into a moment of healing for me.  I take the anger and pain they caused me to feel and I put all that emotion into a prayer - a prayer just for them.  There are times that the pain is so great that I have to force the prayer out, but always - always - by the end my heart has softened.

I have a whole new outlook on coping with difficult people and it has made a world of difference in my life.