How NOT to Take Difficult People Home With Us

A woman in a Tongue Fu!® workshop said, “I have to deal with a client who is incredibly arrogant, demanding and rude. How can I keep him from making me so angry?”

I asked, “Are you familiar with Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote, “No one can make us feel inferior without our consent?’ You might want to adapt that to “No one can MAKE ME MAD without my consent.”

Before I could continue, a gruff construction boss stood up and said, “Sam, you’re pulling a Pollyanna with this one. You have no idea the kind of people I work with. Do you mean if someone’s YELLING in my face, that’s not supposed to make me mad?”

A woman raised her hand and said, “I agree with Sam because I’ve lived through this. I’m a surgical nurse. I work with a neurosurgeon who’s the most abrasive individual I’ve ever met. He’s a brilliant physician, but he has zip people skills.

Last year, I was a fraction of a second late handing him an instrument in surgery. He berated me in front of my peers. He humiliated me in front of the team. It took all my professionalism just to continue with the operation and not walk out.

On the drive home, I kept rehashing what he had done. The more I thought about it, the more upset I got. By the time I got home, I was fuming. I sat down at the dinner table, told my husband what happened, and said, ‘That doctor makes me so MAD.’

My husband had heard this before. He said, ‘Judy, what time is it?’

I looked at him. I had no idea where he was going with this. ‘7 o’clock.’

‘What time did this happen?’

‘9 o’clock this morning.’

He said, ‘Judy, is it the doctor who’s making you mad?

And with that, he got up and left the dinner table.

I sat there and thought about it.

I realized, it wasn’t the doctor who was making me mad. The doctor wasn’t even in the room. I was the one who had given him a ride home in my car. I was the one who had set him a place at my dinner table.

I decided that evening that never again was that doctor welcome in my home or in my head.

From then on, I was leaving him at the hospital and never again was I going to give him the power to poison my personal life.”

Who do YOU take home with you?

Who do you give a ride to in your car?

Who do you set a place for at your dinner table?

Can you decide, right now, that person is no longer welcome in your home or head?

Can you get clear that person no longer has the power to poison your personal life?

From now on, leave that person at work – do not let him run and ruin your time at home.

Our quality of life is directly proportionate to who and what we give our attention to.

As Victor Frankl (author of Man’s Search for Meaning) said many years ago, “We may not choose or control what happens to us, we choose and control how we respond to it.”

Choose to focus on people who show up with integrity.

Choose to spend your mind and time on people who add value and treat you with respect.

Choose to give your attention to who and what’s right with your world, the many blessings for which you have to be grateful.

I’m not suggesting you ignore people who mistreat you.

The good news is, there are pragmatic ways in my books on how to proactively deal with people who are being unfair, unkind and inappropriate.

It’s just that, in the final analysis, we choose who and what gets under our mental skin.

The quality of your life is in your mental hands.

Choose NOT to give toxic people the power to poison your perspective.

Choose to focus on people who are kind, generous and gracious.

In a world where we cannot control much, we can control that. And it matters.

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Sam Horn’s 3 TEDx talks and books – POP! Tongue Fu!® Take the Bully by the Horns, SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? share real-life ways to create collaborative communications that add value for all involved. Her work has been featured in New York Times, on NPR, and presented to Intel, Cisco, Capital One, NASA, YPO, Nationwide.

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