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Difficult People In Your Life? Kill ‘Em With Kindness

You’ve heard the phrase “kill them with kindness” as a way to deal with difficult people. Well lately I’ve had a situation involving some very difficult people and rather than responding to them with the same level of what I judged as rudeness, I chose to act kindly. In my conversations and email correspondences, I was friendly and clearly stated my intention to resolve the issue between us in a peaceful way. Yet with each exchange, the response I received seemed more and more unreasonable and downright mean. Kindness wasn’t working. If anyone was getting killed, it felt like me.

Then it hit me, I wasn’t being kind from an authentic place, I was acting kindly. I wanted something, specifically for the situation to be resolved in the way I wanted because I felt wronged. I had been using kindness as a way to try and manipulate the situation! Although I was smiling, doing kind gestures and using nice words, in my mind I was killing them with anger and judgment while feeling hurt.

Have you ever acted kindly outwardly toward someone while inwardly judging them?  Have you ever been extra nice hoping it would get you want you want? For instance, perhaps you act incredibly kind to someone who you feel hurt you just so you can prove that you are the “bigger” person. Or maybe you are extra nice to a hostess when you are trying to get the table you want, but then that kindness quickly fades after you’re seated when you are short with the waiter because he got your order wrong.

When we are trying to manipulate a situation or someone’s opinion about us by merely acting kind we are coming from our ego.  But true kindness comes from our heart, not our head.  Authentic kindness is also consistent rather than something we turn on when it feels useful.

In my situation I had an opportunity to recognize this, apply some kindness to myself and gently coax myself off my position of “they are wrong and I am right.” I was able to see the situation from a different perspective and let go of my attachment to wanting them to be nice back to me. De-personalization was a major key. Sometimes people just are upset and it’s not our job to “kill them with kindness” until they are not upset anymore. Once I really got this I was able to come from place of loving kindness with no attachment to wanting any kindness in exchange.

I encourage you to be conscious of truly being kind, rather than just acting kindly. Our nature is to be kind and it just feels better to truly come from this place.  You’ll also start to notice that when you set the intention to extend loving kindness to everyone, you’ll get a lot more back in return. It may not be from the people that your ego may want it; however, I assure you that the kinder you are, the more you will be the recipient of random acts of kindness.

Love,

Christine

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Christine Hassler is a certifed life and quarterlife coach. To visit her website click here.

  • bruno

    Unfortunately others may perceive this as weakness.

  • http://www.rasayogastudio.com Rasa

    This is definitely a reality check and great food for thought. The question I always toss around, is when is enough, well, enough? At what point is it okay to feel the anger and express it (appropriately!)?!! How does one always avoid the negative emotions or replace them with kindness?

  • http://soychiild.blogspot.com Soyoung

    A part of me agrees with Bruno- I find my that I am put on the bottom of the list because they know if they make me angry I won’t be a yelling, screaming mess.

    But, I realized that when you’re truly being kind, you don’t care if people think it’s a weakness. It takes self-assurance in how you act and treat others. Like Christine said, the kinder you are, the more you will be a recipient of random acts of kindness. I think that’s a reward in itself- life will treat you well if you have a change of heart.

  • Eden

    It takes strength of mind to be kind (or respond with a cool head) in the face of adversity.

  • Vida

    That’s a tough pill to swallow….but I can see where you were going with this.

  • Daniela

    Thank you, but other people thing you are manipulating them by being nice because they know what they have done to you.

  • Shawna

    I agree with the other poster that not only will this often be preceived as weakness but may also perpetuate the rude and abusive behavior in your personal interaction and beyond as well. I think the critical message was in the paragraph where the focus on who is wrong or right can be made secondary to allow for a solution. Also needing to de-personalize is valuable. So do interact with good intentions and also with a kind but firm response to offensive behavior.

  • Adam

    I have been trying this (on and off! coz I SOMETIMES get VERY angry with them!) for many years, when I engage with Political Zionists who support the Apartheid in Palestine & Israel! I think it NEVER worked, it only made them more angry, FEARFUL & defensive and I recently more or less gave up this approach.
    Thanks for this article – I now realise I must try harder. However, in the meantime I wouls still encourage everyone to join the global Boycott Divestment & Sanctions movement (NOT to be UNKIND to Israelis, it hurts the poorest people and the Arabs too) but to be KIND to them by helping to end the entrenched system of Apartheid & Ethnic Cleansing, which could otherwise bring about their downfall.
    I believe the Holy Land is Holy to ALL THREE of the main religions of the people who live there, I work towards EQUALITY, SHARING & LOVE between these lovely people.
    IMHO, sometimes to be kind to people, we have to be political!

  • Chris

    It takes incredible strength and courage to stay rooted in pure kindness and love towards those who hurt us. If you believe it will perceived as weakness, you are still struggling with fear and ego attachment. Think of Mandela, think of Mother Theresa, think of Jesus…rock stars of kindness and strength in the face of terrible abuse. This was a beautiful post about a very subtle but powerful shift in thinking.

  • http://www.drezrehersal.com Kimberly Clark

    I’m a point in my life where I want nothing but positivity around me. If that means I need to surrender a few people than so be it. The pity parties and negative energy just isn’t worth it. In order to move forward sometimes you must leave a few people behind. Walking in LOVE is GOD’s will and you can definitely do that at a distance. It doesn’t make you weak it makes you strong that you were wise enough to say in love what’s on your mind. I desire to walk in LOVE and not on egg shells. Treat others how you would like to be treated. Unfortunately there are some individuals who didn’t get this memo and are just angry people in life. Continue to spread positive words of encouragement Christine and you’ll continue to bless those who desire to hear & receive it.

  • LaToya White

    I TOTALLY AGREE WITH KIMBERLY CLARK!

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  • Agb720

    hi! I have been doing my best to try to be nice to my sisters but they get something to argue about,and my other sister doesn’t anything I like when want a song she says its not a good song and she had a better song, well its just hard to explain! I just don’t know how to be nice to her!

    • Badass Dorkie

      Hi. Im writing to you because I know I need help. Im stuck
      in a situation that I don’t know how to deal with. Im living with my in-laws
      because my husband is sick (end-stage renal failure). I just cannot stand my
      in-laws, MIL-FIL-SIL. Before my husband got sick, we were living on our own
      (me, husband, and daughter). We were doing very, very, very fine on our own.
      But then he got sick, we have a kid and we both have jobs to take care of, he
      needs a renal diet (which FIL takes care of) and we needed somebody to look
      after our daughter (which MIL took care of). But now, we have been pretty
      stable. He has been undergoing dialysis for 5 years already, our jobs are
      stable, our daughter now goes to school. We can already move out of their
      house, but then his mother got sick (cancer) and his father had an accident
      (brought on by his vices). My husband has a SIL who doesn’t care for them. I am
      the one taking care of my in-laws’ needs because I feel it is my obligation
      since my husband is sick. Therefore, I have come to resent my sister-in-law for
      not fulfilling his family obligations. And now, I also resent my in-laws’ for
      not asking their daughter for help. The SIL wants her parents to feel sorry for
      her. She tells them things like she is so tired from work and don’t have time
      for them, and she tells them she has no money when I can see her pictures
      splattered on facebook, instagram and twitter that she has iphone Samsung s3
      and Samsung note 2. but when she comes home, she changes her phone to a black
      and white nokia so her parents will pity her. I also see her going to bars and
      drinking instead of caring for her elders. And she eats out a lot, but when she
      comes home she gets disappointed if there’s no cooked food for her to eat. I don’t
      know if im the one that’s wrong here. Am I just paying too much attention on
      her? I can take my daughter and just raise her on my own. I can get my own
      place. But I think it is not right to leave my sick husband behind (and he
      refuses to leave his parents because they are old). He is sick and he still
      thinks about his parents. His sister is in good condition and treats them like
      trash.

      I don’t know what to do anymore and I don’t know what to
      think of myself anymore? Please help me..i just need someone to talk to (I don’t
      want to burden my own family on my “complaints”).

       

      • kara

        ive was jist randomly looking at things on google and this cane up I know your post has seen to be put up a while back but it got me and from what I read your a very very strong person and I agree with you all the way yes she should help I really hope n pray that things are better for you.my deepest regards

  • B.R.

    I like this article. But, it’s easier said than done!

  • H.

    There is no other life than the genuine one. I hope this lesson spreads out across all facets of your life.

  • Nolendi Nabrig

    You really speak to me. It never dawned to me that lack of sincerity makes kindness, even with good intentions, can go awry.

  • dingy

    hey guys, i,m in fix. can someone guide me. I,m married to a very difficult man. he is rigid, stubborn, dominating and many times abusive, physically as well. how to deal with him, although he is caring n loving but almose everyday there is an issue.

    • Kansukansu

      physically as well ???? there is no love there and there are no issues. Your husband has subscriptions !. Leave him and take control over your life.

    • Andreadolores73

      Any man that abuses you in ANY way does not love you-or himself for that matter. You are foolish to stay. Go and get the life you deserve!

    • Vinny

      I can’t believe you just described someone who is abusing you as “caring” and “loving”. O_____O

    • Guest

      Prat to Mother Mary & Communicate Your Desire in A Smart way. Think. Stay focused on solving the issue, but never allow physical aspects slip. Address the issue at hand with prayer and smart moves. It’s almost like politics, yet much more real. If you know what i mean, and what i mean is that it as all about making decisions that will lead us to out dreams, not distract us from it.

    • kara

      divorce him your worth alot more.tell yourself your beautiful in every way and donnt stand for itm

  • Peter Baxter

    Give them a bottle of spirits every day that will do it ha ha 

  • John Smith23323

    Buy a sword..
    Name it kindness
    Kill them with kindness…

    • ….

      Better yet buy a pet lion.

  • Dboy4resh313

    We all must reject the evil in our hearts and accept the good. This world will NEVER get better as long as we continue to do evil

  • Badass Dorkie

     

    Hi. Im writing to you because I know I need help. Im stuck
    in a situation that I don’t know how to deal with. Im living with my in-laws
    because my husband is sick (end-stage renal failure). I just cannot stand my
    in-laws, MIL-FIL-SIL. Before my husband got sick, we were living on our own
    (me, husband, and daughter). We were doing very, very, very fine on our own.
    But then he got sick, we have a kid and we both have jobs to take care of, he
    needs a renal diet (which FIL takes care of) and we needed somebody to look
    after our daughter (which MIL took care of). But now, we have been pretty
    stable. He has been undergoing dialysis for 5 years already, our jobs are
    stable, our daughter now goes to school. We can already move out of their
    house, but then his mother got sick (cancer) and his father had an accident
    (brought on by his vices). My husband has a SIL who doesn’t care for them. I am
    the one taking care of my in-laws’ needs because I feel it is my obligation
    since my husband is sick. Therefore, I have come to resent my sister-in-law for
    not fulfilling his family obligations. And now, I also resent my in-laws’ for
    not asking their daughter for help. The SIL wants her parents to feel sorry for
    her. She tells them things like she is so tired from work and don’t have time
    for them, and she tells them she has no money when I can see her pictures
    splattered on facebook, instagram and twitter that she has iphone Samsung s3
    and Samsung note 2. but when she comes home, she changes her phone to a black
    and white nokia so her parents will pity her. I also see her going to bars and
    drinking instead of caring for her elders. And she eats out a lot, but when she
    comes home she gets disappointed if there’s no cooked food for her to eat. I don’t
    know if im the one that’s wrong here. Am I just paying too much attention on
    her? I can take my daughter and just raise her on my own. I can get my own
    place. But I think it is not right to leave my sick husband behind (and he
    refuses to leave his parents because they are old). He is sick and he still
    thinks about his parents. His sister is in good condition and treats them like
    trash.

    I don’t know what to do anymore and I don’t know what to
    think of myself anymore? Please help me..i just need someone to talk to (I don’t
    want to burden my own family on my “complaints”).

    • JOHN/JCS

      It won’t last forever. Love & enjoy your husband & your daughter. Also, it helps to talk to someone wholly apart from the situation, a trained person, who can help you look at the situation with all its complexities, differently. I myself benefitted immensely from counselling/psychotherapy/talkingtoaprofessional & I recommend this for you, dear Woman. Everything happens for a reason & the reason is we understand ourself better & connect more & more with loving kindness & compassion, though on the way we may need to express anger & frustration forcefully & safely, with which the counsellor helps. Enjoy the journey & you will be amazed at the love & exhilaration you will feel!

  • AM

    This is a very helpful article. I recently had a situation where I
    offended someone terribly and I doubt he will ever forgive me. I feel
    very badly about it and did apologize. But, I think I’ve accepted the
    fact that he probably won’t forgive or talk to me. I belong to a group
    that he is also a member of, and I feel nervous when going to events
    with this group. I try to keep a distance and just think peaceful
    thoughts, and not thoughts of one of us being right or wrong. Not always easy, especially if I’ve had a rough day.

  • Lisette Dagraca

    To Badass Dorkie

    First of all I would like to state I am not a professional
    life coach or anything but I do have a few suggestions.

    Second I don’t think you’re wrong or overly observant per
    say, you’re SIL from what you have written and observed has clearly exhibited
    more than a few instances of duplicitous behavior.

    Also, I can see you are truly upset by the situation you
    find yourself in judging only by the length of your explanation and your last
    few sentences and you have no reason to doubt yourself. You clearly are a very
    dedicated, responsible person who has been put in the very difficult position
    of having to look out for not only your own interests, but that of your
    daughters, your husband and you’re in-laws.

    What I suggest is the following: Give your SIL a taste of
    her own medicine.

    For about two weeks take time to compliment her, perhaps her
    fashion sense.

    From what you have written she is a shallow person who cares
    what her parents think of her but not about them.

    After the initial two week period , hide the black and white
    nokia, somewhere no one will look. If you see her with either of the Samsung
    iphones; make sure to complement her phones or ask her where she got them, etc…/
    bring them to your MIL and FIL’s attention and let them come to their own
    conclusions.

    Or…

    If you aren’t confident in your own ability to be duplicitous
    and you think they’ll receive it well.

    Just show your husband, you’re MIL and FIL, her face book
    and twitter account, and explain some of your concerns regarding you’re SIL.

    It is after all a parent’s job to lambast their children.

    One of two things may happen-

    1.) With my first suggestion you’re SIL may be guilted
    into cleaning up her act and actually helping around the house and financially
    (I am assuming from you’re comment about her expecting meals, among others you live with all your in-laws.)

    2.) She’ll be so shamed she’ll remove herself from
    your life or her parents will do so for you. Either of these options would
    remove your growing resentment and any likely resulting stress.

    Oh, and if you do get called out on it,
    just show them this message, I won’t mind all
    that much taking the blame. And on a more serious note only you can really
    guess the possibilities if either of my two plots fail, so I suggest thinking
    of any negative consequences first before executing either.

    I can’t really give you any marital advice
    being all of nineteen.

    But maybe being honest with him would help?

  • brooke

    i am having some troubles at school with a person being down right mean last year it tore me to pices then my dog die that same year. I was in a bad spot and I still am I don’t know what to do. the person just wont stop.

  • Christine G Tannous

    Thank you Christine , but for me life and everything in it is difficult !

  • Antonia Banderas

    Some people only understand one kind of kindness, that’s a boot firmly placed on their neck. Trust me, I have neighbours.

  • chantyy

    Just wanted to let you know christine that this article had a huge impact on me and I now realize that I am a huge offender of using kindness to try to get what I want. I have now started being kind selflessly and have seen the effects it can have. Its a powerful thing if everyone had this mindset the world would be a much better place. props girl much respect

  • Claire Sinclair

    Loved this. On my blog, https://aprojectforkindness.wordpress.com/
    I often write about kindness and spreading it and the genuine part is so important!!

  • maid of nkandla

    Beautiful read.
    I needed to read this.
    Thank you