It’s not a coincidence that difficult people are put into our lives. They’re our “grace growers”, people who teach us to become a better version of ourselves. I’m gonna propose a challenge that we can start this very day: Let’s take advantage of our grace growers by using every opportunity to react to them exactly the opposite way they expect us to! This is taking “killing them with kindness” to a militant level! Let’s compliment them when we feel like tearing them down. Smile at them when they demean us. Bring them coffee and NOT purposely spill it on them! Be obnoxiously polite! Let’s try being creative when that person speaks negatively by changing their words from negative to positive. “ Oh, Aunt Jenny (chuckle, chuckle), I think what you meant to say is, that spike going through cousin Mary’s nose sure is…….shiny aaaaand …..super clean!!”
I once had a co-worker who just got on my last nerve. One day I decided that if our working relationship was going to change, I’d have to make it happen. So, I mustered a smile (albeit, fake), told her that I was going to get a bottled water and asked her if I could bring her one as well. All the way back I just conjured up some “good thoughts” that I “input” on that bottled water which was in my clenched hand! The next day, I came up with something to start up a short conversation and vowed I would make myself actually looked interested. The next time I asked her what she was planning that coming weekend. Day after day, it went like this……and then we became best friends. No, not really, in fact, not at all! BUT our working relationship did become better, and that was the whole point, right?
No, it wasn’t easy and I did have to be “fake nice” at first. But what I learned is that by taking advantage of the opportunity grace growers provide me, I may be able to change that person, even if that changed person ends up being me.
-Tessa L. Charles
-Tessa L. Charles