Do you sometimes not want to go to work because of that one person you work with? Yeah, I know. Me too.
Working with Heather* this morning. I’m not excited about this at all. In order to enjoy my day, I have to change how I see things. She gets on my nerves because she’s very similar to how I used to be (and sometimes still am). Trying, too hard, to be perfect. Recipe for disaster. I know that now. Do you have people you work with you can’t stand? Do you wish sometimes they would just go away? I know I do. I’ll admit, sometimes I almost hope for something terrible to happen to them. Like, you know, dying, disappearing, something permanent.
But I don’t like when I’m that person. You can’t change who you work with, well sometimes you do, but for this particular scenario let’s pretend you can’t. Even though you can’t change them, you can change your attitude towards the Heathers of this world. The ones that make you cringe when you hear their voices. Or when you know they will be at that meeting, monopolizing everyone’s attention.
First step: Breathing
Back on track here. Your attitude is what you can change. But how on earth are you supposed to do that? Especially when they trigger such visceral reactions? First of all, breathe. It sounds silly, I know. But I tell you: it works. Try it. Now is a perfect time to do it. Deep breath in… hold… let go. And try again, for real this time!
See? You are still alive! If you can do that now, start with that next time you see your Heather.
Second step: Listening to them
This one is difficult. I’m not going to lie. When they speak, try to listen. Put your feelings and unease away. Store it in a corner of your head for now and truly listen. Try to hear what they are saying but mostly what they are not saying. I find that being truly there and listening to what someone that gets on my nerves has to say usually shifts the annoyance away. And you learn stuff. About them. Not that you care. But who are you kidding! You do care because they make your life miserable. So suck it up. Listen and try to understand where they are coming from. Listen to what makes you tick. Find the trigger. Once you know the trigger, you can either move away from it or, if you are lucky, it might actually move away from you.
Third step: Work on your patience
This will not improve magically over one day. Being patient is hard. It takes work to improve any area of your life. So be good to yourself. It might not work immediately, but the more aware you become of what triggers your reactions, the better you’ll become at moving past it. And one day, you might even find that Heather is not that annoying anymore. Not that you’ll become friends or anything, but at least you will have learned not to care anymore, and not let her affect you.
Once you try one, or all of the steps, let me know in the comments how that made you feel. And feel free to share any other tips you have, as I’m sure we will meet other Heathers in our lives, and get many other opportunities to practice these steps.
*Of course, it’s not her real name! Do you really think I’m that silly?