Article in Tone Magazine October, 2011


Dealing with Difficult People…  Stop Resisting and Accept

Learn to deal with the difficult people in your life by improving your communication skills, accessing additional resources, and knowing when it’s time to just accept things as they are.


“We struggle to define ourselves from earth and vast blue sky

We open to explore ourselves unto the question why

Then we realize that hoping will not take us to our dreams

One step is just beginning

To accept life as it seems”


The difficult person in your life may never change but you can. Your challenge may be to stop resisting and to accept the person and situation as exactly as it is. What stands in your way is called resistance. It can be provoked in many different ways and for a variety of reasons. The first step to overcoming resistance is to be more aware, or conscious that we are actually resisting something, or in your case the difficult person or situation that has arisen.

One of the early signs of resistance is that we notice ourselves becoming more defensive. We put up an emotional wall to ideas, information, and even people. We can physically feel our stomach tighten and our blood pressure rise.

We may get flushed or red in the face. Our adrenaline kicks in and we have a strong urge to fight or flee. If this happens to you around your difficult person then you may be having a stroke or heart attack, but more likely you are experiencing resistance.

Just to be clear, resistance is much deeper than disagreeing. When we disagree we can sometimes become stressed or even angry, but we don’t usually want to run away or beat the other person to a pulp. Resistance is always about us and never the other person. They may provoke the feelings inside of us but they cannot change us. That is completely up to us.

Where we most resist change is precisely where we must change. We need to recognize our resistance and then change ourselves or our attitudes to watch it recede. To do that we must be open and also find clarity around the situation. Then change.

There was a fairly bad science fiction program on television a couple of years ago that featured a group of man-machines called ‘borgs’ as the bad guys. Their mission was to take over the brains of humans and assimilate them into their cyborg consciousness. Once the ‘borgs’ got you it was over. Their slogan was “Resistance is futile”.

So too with the resistance to change in real life. Accept the situation and the difficult people in your life and then go about the change you need to make inside of yourself in order to move forward. Resistance really is futile.

Read more about Change the Things you Can and Mike Martin at:

Mike Martin is a freelance writer and workplace wellness consultant. He has written and published thousands of articles about workplace issues for magazines and publications inCanada, theUnited StatesandNew Zealand. He has worked in human resources for over thirty years and has experience both as a senior manager and a union leader. For the past fifteen years he has worked with dozens of small, medium and large organizations in the areas of workplace intervention and conflict management.

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4 Responses to Article in Tone Magazine October, 2011

  1. When you find yourself resisting, it may be helpful to recite the serenity prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Wiser words were never spoken.

  2. This reminds me of the book “Who Moved My Cheese”. I actually like change. I think it helps to keep us young. 🙂

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