Face it… we all deal with people whom we dislike and doing so means that we feel the emotions associated with dislike. Even though disliking others seems to separates “them” from “us,” in fact, “we” are connected through the experience.
Consider someone that you find irritating, unpleasant, or truly horrible, how do you then deal with this especially if the person is unavoidable?
Here are a couple of tips to help you deal:
- Listen to your gut: Focus your awareness on your body and learn from a language without words. Maybe you get a queasy feeling when things aren’t right, and, like me, you’ve learned to take that warning seriously? When I don’t, my head starts hurting and then my mouth gets dry, and then… well, you can imagine. Responding early and effectively is a much better option. If my gut tells me that I need some distance from someone or something, I do well to get some space. This applies even if it’s inconvenient, and there’s almost always a way to make it happen.
- Notice your thoughts: Pay attention to your mind, and notice whether your thoughts provide insight that constructively reduce your discomfort or if you’re trying to convince yourself that everything’s okay when it isn’t. I’ve learned that discerning the difference can be critically important, such as when I experience a kind of “knee-jerk” dislike for a new acquaintance based on my perception of some similarity to another – and totally unrelated – person. When this happens, my wave of dislike is neither constructive nor fair, and recognising what’s happening is the key to getting over it. On the other hand, if my brain is trying to convince my heart that I ought to like someone just because my sibling or friend does… then I’m giving myself bad advice. Sure, I need to be polite with that person, there’s no need to force myself to like someone if I don’t.
- Accept when it’s your issue: Pause and consider what’s happening and why. If you dislike someone because that person’s personality or qualities are not to your taste (but still socially-acceptable), then your dislike is your issue and you need to decide what to do based on other considerations. So, if I don’t like my best friend’s new romantic partner, but I love her and can see that the new guy isn’t harmful (just annoying), then maybe I can be more patient. If not, well, I’ll give them some space, respectfully.
- Acknowledge when there’s something else going on: Consider that your sense of dislike might be a real warning of danger. Sometimes our kids bring home new friends whose behaviour we, as parents, recognise as dangerous. We can’t choose our kids’ friends, but we can make clear boundaries in our homes and we certainly owe our children the respect of explanations. Pay attention to signs of danger, and promote protection. Such clues are priceless, and acting on them requires confidence as well as delicacy.