I want you to think about a difficult person in your life.

In a perfect world, it would be easy to work or live alongside one another. But the truth is we all have significant differences in how we think about the world. Those differences lead us to behave differently than one another. What may be acceptable to you or me may not be acceptable for someone else.

Because trying to change other people is an exercise in futility, I’ve created quick tips to help you help yourself as you navigate challenging relationships.

When we become masters of our own minds and our own behaviors, we take huge strides towards changing how we relate.

Here’s Tip #1:

Difficult people are not difficult until someone else believes that they are. 

People cannot be difficult. People can demonstrate behavior that we may believe to be difficult to deal with, manage, work around, etc. But people themselves are not difficult.

Most of the ‘difficult’ people we encounter are just being who they are. They’re busy being who they’ve always been. How they act. What they say. How they interact. Their behavior has been cultivated over a lifetime.

Just like you and me, right? Each one of us behaves in a manner that is learned from our experience. So, how they act isn’t necessarily difficult. But because it is different from our expectation, we perceive it to be difficult.

As soon as we believe something or someone to be difficult, it impacts how we interact with them.

Take notice today of the “difficult” people in your life.  Examine your expectations for how they are supposed to act.  It may be that they really aren’t that difficult after all.