Funny Motivational Speaker
“I can’t believe you feed kids this junk food at a HOSPITAL!” She complained to her son’s nurse. Her voice rising, along with the plate of chicken nuggets, she’d carried up to the nurses’ desk. As I slipped into the med room, I heard her begin listing her daily complaints: his room was too cold, the bistro coffee was too expensive, he needed a better pillow. On and on and on.
Her son, Jake, had been on our unit for five days, and each day brought a new storm of cloudy criticism. We dreaded her evening visits, and I said a quick prayer of thanks that Jake wasn’t my patient.
The next day, my heart dropped when my patient list included Jake. A black cloud hung over my head as I anticipated an unpleasant interaction with this hypercritical parent. During my dinner break, I recalled the saying,
“Find something you like.”
She arrived for dinner and, within minutes, approached the nurses’ station holding a carton of milk. “Who is Jakes’s nurse today?” She asked, watching us like a cat eyeballs a cornered mouse.
“I’m his nurse, may I help you?” I squeaked, rising from behind my computer. Jake’s mom started. “This milk is close to expiration, and he’s still hungry.” She announced, taking a breath before ticking off her complaints. Her negativity darkened the surrounding atmosphere.
“Let me check on the milk,” I responded, suddenly noticing the delicate, brightly colored scarf she wore around her neck. “Did you make that beautiful scarf? I love to crochet, but that looks especially complicated.” I asked.
Jake’s mom touched the scarf “It took me three months to crochet. Now that it’s finished, I’ll never take it off!” She laughed, and suddenly both our moods lightened.
Once I discovered something I liked, we found common ground, and my view of her eventually changed. She ended up being a very nice but anxious mom. We worked through her concerns and became friendly with each other. She even brought me a copy of her scarf pattern.
When dealing with difficult people, it is easy to focus on what irks us: their unpleasant tone, their ongoing complaints, their selfish attitude, and inappropriate or manipulative actions.
But, negative stuff is never all we can see.
It may take lots of effort, but use mental flexibility to deliberately look for something positive.
You may need a set of bifocals, you may need to dig deep, but everyone, even a jerk, has something positive about them. When you lighten a tense situation, find something positive, seek common ground, you may see the difficult person with a different of lenses and the new view may surprise you.
Become more Resilient, use this link to Amy’s Resilience resource guide, A Resilience Resource Guide