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Have you ever had that one person, that just gets under your skin. Like nails on a chalkboard, or sticking your finger in a light socket-they just make your hair stand up on end, and make your ears feel like they might bleed. It’s that person that you can’t just walk away from, because it’s either a family member, or someone you work with, or have to go to school with. Because I believe that everything in life is happening for us, and not to us, I’m going to try my best to give you a few pointers on how to handle this person with dignity, and a little grace, mixed with a whole lotta love (and maybe whispering “for fuck’s sake” under your breath). Remember, your relationships affect your health just as much as the kale in your smoothie, so let’s make all of them as palpable as possible!
Have you ever thought about the formation of a pearl? According to Pearls.com, “Natural Pearls form when an irritant – usually a parasite and not the proverbial grain of sand – works its way into an oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, a fluid is used to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating, called ‘nacre’, is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed.” So let’s just consider that this pesky person who makes your life less than pleasant, could just be a parasite irritating you for the purpose of beautifying your soul. Every time they rub you the wrong way, with words, or behavior, silently thank them as you think of your heart turning a beautiful shade of an iridescent, soft, off white color. One of the most special treasures I own is a set of pearls given to me by my grandmother for my sixteenth birthday. They are so dear to me, because my grandmother would let me play dress up in her most expensive jewelry, clothes, shoes, handbags; anything she had, was mine for a day of play. As she got much older, she developed dementia, specifically sundowners syndrome, and she was not the nicest person in the world. In fact, the last few times I talked to her, she barely new her own name, much less mine, but it never diminished my admiration for her. She lived an extraordinary life, and she was tough as nails. She was a school teacher, then owned her own business, even sold encyclopedias door to door, when most women shamed her for leaving four young boys at home. Most of my family couldn’t take her harsh tone and rigid rules, but I admired her fierce, unapologetic independence, even if she did hurt my feelings on more than one occasion. And I loved that she didn’t go out and buy me a set of pearls, which she could more than have afforded. She knew that hers would mean more to me, because of the memories that came with them, and they remind me of her tough love and tenacity, and the fact that she could just be an outright bitch sometimes. So now, when I have to deal with someone who is hard headed, cold hearted, or just plain stubborn, I try very hard to think of my grandmothers pearls, and hold my tongue, rather than slashing someone to shreds with it, because without my grandmother’s brazen personality, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.
Also, I found it interesting that a pearl isn’t formed by the sand as an irritant, but a parasite, who just like aggravating people, can also, literally get under your skin. Some will even feed off of your blood, and just like people, can literally feel like they are sucking the life right out of you. But there are some parasites that are beneficial, they eat dead skin, protect the microbiome from unhealthy bugs and bacteria, and leaches can even be used medicinally. Just like these helpful critters, some people are in our lives to make us better, as well. They are like sandpaper finishing off a beautiful price of wood that could be mantle on a fireplace, or a family dinner table, or a beautifully stained rocking chair. Rather than exterminating these pests, we should actually embrace them, because what we don’t like about other people, can be very telling about ourselves. People in our lives can be very reflective, because what I dislike about another, usually is some part of myself I dislike, or have yet to embrace. Any feelings of discomfort in life, should be viewed with curiosity, considered as an opportunity to learn something, and grow in the process. Because if we are not growing, or evolving, or feeling like we are progressing, then actually, we are dying. Growth is a basic human need, and so is love, so I challenge you to find at least 3 loving thoughts about the next person that normally tends to inspire your inner serial killer. I have actually tried this with great success. When I wake up, this one wretched and mean spirited person would always cross my mind by the time I had gotten to the bathroom, so while brushing my teeth I would think something like, “she is an excellent mother and is very protective of her children,
She has an excellent work ethic, she always tells the truth (although, sometimes, brutally honest).” This is just a way of finding a few positive traits as an antidote to the negative thoughts that give way to losing my peace, which is extremely unhealthy. I hope you’ll give this trick a trial run, because you have nothing to lose but your negative attitude. And your peace of mind, sanity, joy, and health to gain. The benefits might just be equal to a fistful of kale, rather than a fist to someone’s face.