I like to believe that most people are inherently good and are simply doing the best they can in the moment. Very often peoples’ actions are driven by fear or some other negative emotion, causing them to act in ways that feel difficult to us. And, we’re often quick to brand them as a difficult person. However, I’ve found that most times when we step back we find it’s not the person, but the situation, that’s difficult.

After years of butting heads with people I didn’t see eye-to-eye with, and considerable personal growth work, I’ve come up with the following 6 steps that help me when I’m faced with a difficult situation. Perhaps they can help you, too.

1. Try to see their side

Don’t be so quick to get defensive and make the other person wrong. Be open. Try to see their side. Maybe there’s something you can learn.

2. Ask yourself if they’re operating from fear

Very often, people who are being difficult are operating from a place of fear. Fear of what might happen to them, or if we’re someone they love, fear of what might happen to us. While you may not agree with their actions, try to see if you can at least understand their intentions.

3. Understand what they say, and do, is more about them than you

Maybe they had a bad day, a business deal went south, they just had a big fight with a loved one, or lost someone close to them. You never know what’s driving someone’s behavior. Understanding that it’s likely a reflection of their current state of mind and not really about you, makes it easier to detach, let it go, and even be sympathetic.

4. Ask yourself if it’s worth falling on your sword over

Whenever I’m faced with a tough person or situation I always try to step back and ask myself if it’s worth fighting over. How important is it really? Sometimes it’s faster, easier, and better to just let it go.

5. If you must fight, remove all emotion, and document and state your case

Granted there are some times we feel compelled to stand up for ourselves or someone we love. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s best to remove all emotion. Do your homework. Prepare your argument. Make sure you have concrete evidence to back up your side. Then make your case as unemotionally as you can.

6. If you cannot resolve the situation be willing to let it go and move on

In the end, sometimes we just have to let go of people or situations if they ‘re not serving us. Fighting and constant negative mental energy drain us. They prevent us from being happy. And very often the anger we’re holding onto only hurts us. As Kenny Rogers says in his song, The Gambler, “you got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.”

Author's Bio: 

After spending 25 years in the marketing industry, Debbie LaChusa became so frustrated with its "be more, do more, have more" mentality that she began speaking out about it. She wrote a book entitled "Breaking the Spell: The Truth about Money, Success, and the Pursuit of Happiness" and created the Money Success Happiness blog all in an effort to help others learn how to stop chasing money, success, and happiness and instead discover the true path to a happy, healthy, wealthy life. To read the first chapter of "Breaking the Spell" for free, visit www.breakingthespellbook.com