By Miles Jaye
If success in life demanded our enduring uncomfortable relations, most of us would fail. In fact, success does require us to endure, suffer, bear, and tolerate uncomfortable relations. Most folks, however, are unwilling to do so—others do so grudgingly.
Therefore, few of us actually reach our full potential. Few of us are willing to draw the arrow back far enough in the bow to reach the target, much less hit the bull’s-eye. We want the gain, but not the pain. A famously ironic Al Pacino line in Ocean’s Thirteen was, “I don’t want the labor pains, I just want the baby.” Successful people say, bring on the pain. I enjoy reading biographical accounts of highly successful people who learned to navigate their way around difficult relations.
The Steve Jobs Story was one of my favorites. Interestingly, how difficult was he? Also, quite interestingly, according to my reading, most successful people are themselves difficult– demanding, picky, particular, peculiar, perfectionists. No one in their right mind wants to deal with difficult people. Right? I can hear you now, I don’t put up with difficult people. No? Ever have a difficult boss or supervisor? How often did you give him or her, a piece of your mind? Really? Did you quit, or did you get fired? Ever have a teacher or professor you thought was the worst, but you needed the grade, so you did what? You completed the course, got the grade, graduated and haven’t looked back—you succeeded!
The list could go on and on. We’ve listened Sunday after Sunday, for years, to ministers preaching prosperity and increased territory, but somehow omitting the difficult relations Christ endured. Each Apostle had a personality loaded with idiosyncrasies. It’s easy to focus on Judas’ betrayal, however, it doesn’t speak to the disappointment or aggravation wrapped up in the simple line, “Oh ye of little faith.” Yes, there were moments when even the Apostles got on Christ’s nerves.
Here’s is some of what the Bible says about dealing with difficult people: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 “The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult.” Proverbs 12:16 “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.’” Galatians 5:14-14 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:18 “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Matthew 7:1 “For whatever you wish that others do to you, do also to them…” Matthew 7:12
Here are a few quotes about dealing with difficult relations. “I don’t have to attend every argument I’m invited to.” – Unknown “Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness’s of other people.” – Carl Jung “If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are.” – John W. Gardner “If it were necessary to tolerate in other people everything that one permits oneself, life would be unbearable.” – George Courteline “We are constantly being put to the test by trying circumstances and difficult people and problems not necessarily of our own making.” – Terry Brooks “When dealing with people, remember, you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudice, and motivated by pride and vanity. -Dale Carnegie “Seek the best in everyone that you meet. Seek the worst in dealing with yourself.” -Sasha Azevedo Here’s one more, “Dealing with backstabbers, there was one thing I learned. They’re only powerful when you got your back turned.” – Eminem
If you’re the type who handles difficult relations by constant complaining, consider this, you are subjecting yourself to a constant state of frustration and at its extreme, even poor health. You ever hear someone say, “Y’all gone worry me to death?” You will never be happy, or at peace in this state of mind. You can never ever succeed in this state of mind. Live and let live, and remember this little prayer, you may have heard it, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” That’s what’s on my mind!