One common misconception I had when I first started on this path was that once one becomes "spiritual" they are somehow miraculously immune to hurt, disappointment, and it is the end of dealing with challenging and difficult people. Obviously this is not the case. The hurtful stuff is still going to show up while the spiritual work doesn't stop.
Instead, recognize the patterns that show up and use them to your advantage. Through challenging times, the acknowledgment of important patterns will emerge. You begin to see these people and circumstances as teaching opportunities, and as reinforcement of an important part of yourself, rather than an excuse to spiral into victimhood. Consider these invitations to go deeper into self-awareness. In these moments, you can choose to react or respond. And, sometimes, all it takes is some time and a few deep breaths to know exactly how it needs to be handled.
Sometimes when I encounter a challenging person, I wonder "What the hell?! Have I not learned this lesson already?" I catch myself being hard on myself, as though I might have done something to "attract" or "deserve it." Then I remind myself it's because I have the resilience and strength to handle it. I return to all of my self-care tools in the tool box I've been adding to over the years. With each and every one of these interactions, it gets easier. My communication skills strengthen, and I feel more empowered. Better still, my enthusiasm for fulfilling my purpose becomes even more vibrant and reinforced.
When I find myself really impatient and frustrated with a difficult situation, I immediately dive right back into self-care in the midst of the chaos. Then magically, the issue reveals itself fully as another opportunity for personal growth. Sometimes it may not be about a pattern or a karmic lesson at all. It could just be that a particular person is showing up because I have that much more light and love to extend, and they are *always* the one who needs it the most.
I feel like my entire life has been preparing me for this kind of work. Over the course of my life I have encountered so many difficult people, and my resilience has been tested time and time again. Now it is possible for me to see these interactions as check-in reminders that the work that I do, and how I show up in the world is more important than ever. The pain and the suffering that exists is tangible and real. When I prioritize myself first, take responsibility for the part that is mine, and respond with grace, that gives others permission to do the same - if they so choose.
How do I deal with this on a fundamental level? Through forgiveness and gratitude. Forgiving myself for supposedly "attracting it" and forgiving the person or circumstance that is propelling me forward into the next stage of my personal development, while at the same time feeling grateful for it showing up in the first place.
I spent a lot of time by myself last weekend, meditating in the woods. One morning, during my meditation, I suddenly felt everyone that ever caused me grief gathered around me in a circle. I sat with them for a while, then I started to cry. It wasn't because I was sad, it was because I had an enormous amount of gratitude for them despite the difficulties we experienced together. After all, they are my greatest teachers. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be called to do any of this personal work. At the end of the meditation, I sent them love and forgiveness, and then they disappeared.
This visualization was really healing. I'm not sure why it happened. Maybe it had something to do with my surroundings, or it's because I've been feeling ready for the next big step. In any case, I felt a huge shift in the energy, and it felt good.
Forgiveness is the first step, then once released, the second step is to create a self-care plan that works for you. Or, perhaps forgiveness alone as a self-care practice is enough.
The next time you come across a difficult person or circumstance, give yourself some love first, stay connected to your truth, and ask yourself "how can I serve in this situation to the best of my ability?" If you take the time to sit with it, and take some deep breaths, the answer will come to you in no time.