Difficult People

Chatting to a friend this week I remembered someone that I used to work with who I really disliked.  To my mind, he was everything that I find difficult in a human being: he was self-centred, dishonest, arrogant and unkind.  I had to work with this person for some time and although I tried to get along better with him, in the end he moved to another office and I think we were probably both relieved not to have to try to get along with each other in the face of our obvious conflicts any more.

When I think about this person I feel annoyed and disgruntled even now, five years later.

But this week, with the benefit of hindsight, I realised just how much this person had moved me along in my life... if he hadn't made my life so very intolerable and flagged up to me just what it was that I hated and found uncomfortable about corporate life, then it could have taken me many more years before I finally decided to quit that office life to seek another way of living: a way more in tune with my feelings, my strengths and the way I wanted to live.

In fact, I should be grateful to that person for everything he showed me and for how much he helped me move my life along.  I've been teaching yoga for five years now and in many ways I have that person to thank for it.

Life's not always going to be great.  There are going to be people and situations that press all of our buttons and challenge us.  There is going to be sadness and disappointment and anger.  But it could well be that the lessons we learn from the difficult times and the troublesome people teach us more about how to live well than the good times do.

So, I thank that person for everything he taught me.  I wish him well.  And in future I'll try to remember to embrace the people and situations that make my life difficult and to be open-minded to the lessons they might teach me.

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