Friday, 18 January 2013

The Kindness Challenge - day 11. Be kind to someone you dislike

Weeks behind, but here's my post on the Kindness Challenge day 11 Be kind to someone you dislike. which was a toughie!

Generally, I'm fairly easy-going (fairly, not very!) but if I've lacked sleep than I can dislike just about everyone! These are some of the things that annoyed me the other day:

People driving past my house while speeding, people driving past my house while playing their bass loud, people ignoring me when I've stopped to let them past, people blowing smoke in my face, people talking loudly on their phones, people texting while they're driving. You get the picture. But there's one person who just drives me bonkers. Not once have our paths crossed when he hasn't said something so annoying that it's made me want to weep or uttered something so calculated to press my buttons that I swear he's doing it on purpose.

Why was he annoying me so much? I asked a couple of other people who confirmed that this person is quite irritating. But I've been pondering - does the fact I get so annoyed reflect something in my own personality? Also, does the fact that I tell myself he is GOING to annoy me put me in a certain frame of mind which makes him want to hurt my feelings?

Anyway, I decided to be nicer and more laidback. We met last weekend and I did very well until he sat down at the table and decided that bath hoists and child benefit would be good topics of conversation, before slagging someone off for being nosey after she had asked him why he wrote to the council to tell them to refuse her planning application. On previous occasions, he has asked me how much I earn, told me not to have more children because "the world is already overpopulated" and asked how "that job malarkey of yours is going".

I needed back-up!

I referred to Paul McKenna's book Change your life in seven days which refers to "putting relationships into perspective".

He suggests:

1. Remember how you feel when you're in conflict with this person. Hear you internal dialogue. Then float up out of yourself and let your feelings go.

2. Now float into the shoes of the person you dislike. What does it feel like to be in their shoes?

3. Now think of someone whose intelligence you admire. Imagine being in their shoes and watching the interaction. What would they think as a neutral observer?

4. Take what you've learned and step back into your own shoes. Look at the person you have a problem with and choose one thing to bring about a resolution.

This is incredibly helpful as I know that the person I mentioned brings out the worst in me and reminds me not to "wrestle with a pig in mud".

There's a lot of work to be done, but this has proved to be one of the most useful days of the Kindness Challenge. Hopefully this explains why I've spent quite so long on it!


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