People are tough (can I get an “Amen!”?).
No matter how much of a people person you feel like you are or how far along you feel in your relationship with God, people will let you down.
People will speak harshly of you.
People will talk about you.
People will betray you.
People will just flat get on your nerves (can I get another “Amen!”?).
We all have those people in our lives.
The question isn’t will we experience difficulty with other people, the question is, how will we react to it?
Here’s a little bit of a process I’ve developed over the last few years when it comes to getting to know people. This works for everyone…people you like and people you don’t. I don’t necessarily think through these steps, but I think it’ll help us all deal with those “difficult” people a little easier.
We have to make it somewhat of a game. A personal mission, if you will.
Search for the gold (good things)
We search for something good in them.
Sometimes, after meeting someone, it can be pretty obvious. Sometimes, we have to dig a little more. Oftentimes, I’ve found, it requires seeing them a few times before you can pinpoint this. You search for the gold and when you think of that person, these are the things you think about. You put aside how they’ve offended you and find the gold. You put aside their appearance and you dig until you find the gold.
See the possibilities (potential)
After you’ve searched for the gold, look for the possibilities.
This is where we use empathy. When we begin to see the possibilities in others, we become focused on the fact that they’re broken just like us. Why did the mistreat us? Maybe they had a tough night with the baby. Why did they gossip? Maybe their past requires that they find their identity in others’ failures. There’s always something in others that we can see as a possibility rather than a liability.
See it shine (build)
When we actually build relationships with people that aren’t like us or that offend us, beautiful things can happen.
Do we have to use sound judgement and discernment? Absolutely. But, when we’re willing to get a little, have a few uncontrollable conversations, and see the potential in others, great things can happen. We begin to change our perspective on the broken people we see and we begin to broaden our horizons on what is “right” and “wrong” with other people.
This article originally appeared here.