A Reflection: Making Myself Available To Difficult People by Meghan McAllister
My pastor finished a sermon series titled, God With Us. One of the main ideas was, sometimes, human beings withhold themselves from others by not extending the good they have to offer. They close themselves and make themselves unavailable to people in generosity, kindness, etc. He encouraged us to make ourselves more available to others and to trust God as our source, so we can give without anxiety in words and/or deeds.
This prompted me to think about making myself available to difficult people. Difficult people aren’t very pleasant and are hard to understand. Sometimes circumstances may dictate that I am better off shutting my doors, and we go our separate ways.
Difficult people are still people even though that is hard to see. They have their own lives, struggles, and issues. I don’t have a full view of their life, so I can’t write or read their story. I can only write mine.
However, making myself available to jerks is a bit—well, difficult. My reasoning is simple: They are not good to me. They deserve my judgment and cold shoulder but don’t deserve my acceptance, kindness, or forgiveness.
And maybe they don’t.
Maybe they do not deserve it, at least not from me, and that’s fine. There are 7 billion people on this planet. Let someone who likes them make themselves available. However, they are people, and people aren’t impervious. They are vulnerable to hurt, but they are also vulnerable to kindness.
Get it. “Kill them with kindness.”
Side Thought: Life will hand everyone a difficult person at some point because life is a bitch. Ain’t it great!
I knew a woman who wasn’t very kind to me, and I think she took pleasure in making me upset by putting me down every chance she had. A friend of mine once said, “Some people just love knowing they bother you.” I believe she was definitely one of those people. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the skills or resources to protect myself. She knew that and took advantage, and that’s a shame. The hurt was deep, and I’m working to overcome that hurt.
Don’t feel too bad for me though because when I got the opportunity, I wasn’t very nice to her either.
However, for Christmas one year, I gave her a present. I don’t know why, but I felt led to, and she really liked the gift. That day, we got along unusually well, and I believe I saw something genuinely good in her. However, that only lasted a day, and then it was business as usual.
Occasionally, my mind goes back to that Christmas season. That memory is like a crack in the hardening of myself towards her. I believe with time that crack will grow and that hardness will shatter. Since nothing was lost that can’t be replaced in time and in season then I say—
let it break.
There was value in making myself available to a person even though I never wanted to see that person again. The value was being able to appreciate a side of that person I wouldn’t normally see for whatever reason. Furthermore, I think the gift gave her joy, and perhaps her life has been a bit stingy with that. All in all, I was just glad to see her happy. Well, at least for that day.
Meghan McAllister is a graduate student at Campbell University pursuing her MA in Mental Health Counseling. She is originally from the crystal coast of North Carolina. She loves the beach, artwork, writing, and dance. Her cat’s name is Myra, and she approves this story.