The Man in the Mirror [and Dealing with Difficult People]

When you come to realize that every single thing you dislike about those around you are nothing more that those personal traits or actions you dislike about yourself, you have come a step closer to get rid of unwanted patterns of behavior. We often wonder the best of dealing with difficult people who comes into our lives, and in so many cases the answer is at hand, within us.

Even though I try to maintain a “no judging” way of thinking, is inevitable to acknowledge certain characteristics about those around me that I immediately catalog as negative or difficult to deal with.

I have realized that every single thing that bothers me about others, is actually a personal trait that I fight against.

Dealing with Difficult People or with Ourselves?

I try to be a very organized person, this is critical in every aspect of my life and particularly important when comes to work and writing; however, is a constant battle I fight. I have to invest a great deal of time and effort to be as organized as I want to be and I have not gotten to that point of expertise when this can be set in autopilot and I can focus my attention in other subjects (I don’t think I’ll ever get to that point but I am OK with that). Oddly enough, something that bothers me when working with other people is disorganization, even when their actions may not impact my work and be organized or not might not be an issue for them.

I have found that this seems to be a general rule when it comes to relationships and interaction with other individuals.

Another clear example is the subject of kindness. I put the effort to be kind with other people despite my emotional state. We don’t know when a kind smile or a moment of full attention can mean the world to another person, even a stranger. I understand that everybody has its own issues and we might completely ignore the situations others around us are going through, but it really bothers me when people think that their discontent for their present situation or the amount or size of their problem as are an excuse to be rude. So I set the intention every day to be kind to everyone in my path along my day, but when I get deeply into a task or find myself caught up in a situation that demands my full mental and emotional attention, I can forget about the importance of kindness and can come as rude sometimes.

The above seems to happen with everything that I dislike about others; I avoid disorganized persons, but I am very disorganized myself; I appreciate kindness and dislike rudeness, but as much as I dislike it, sometimes I am also rude to others. I’ve wondered the best, most polite and effective way of dealing with difficult people, without realizing that in some cases I am the difficult individual.

The most interesting thing about this is not that we are all big hypocrites, but the fact that it is our own behavior what allows into our reality the actions we dislike about others.


Changes Start with Ourselves

What I mean is that the behavior of others mimics our own and when we successfully change our own actions, other will too. Dealing with difficult people often implies dealing with our own flaws.

I have proven this myself. Those around me are more disorganized and rude when I also am. But when I make a conscious effort to be more organized myself and show a kind gesture despite anything else, others seem to change their way of acting, without a single word said.

Try this yourself today. Think about a trait you dislike about other people and analyze if you do the same thing, maybe on a smaller scale or by different means but when the same outcome. And then, try to change it yourself and witness how those around you change their behavior as well.


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  1. It has taken me a long time to realize that whatever energies you put out, whether positive or negative, will come hurling back at you like a boomerang. Choose kindness

    • Pauline Hovey

      Thank you for liking my post, which sounds rather similar to what you’ve posted here. I appreciate your thoughtful and reflective posts.

  2. Well said! Along the same lines, I’ve learned over the years that instead of worrying about the bad in others, it’s better to focus on generating good within ourselves. Not always easy, but certainly well worth it!

  3. I think you n’ me were separated at birth. 😉

    Great writing and I absolutely believe this. I’ve been trying to teach my adolescent and young adult kids that when we are irritated by another, we are being called to look at where that behavior or trait lies within ourselves. Our attention is being drawn to witness that ‘flaw’ in us first so that we can address it and/or repair it. (Whenever I point my finger at someone else as criticism, there are always three pointing back at me!)

    GOOD STUFF! Love your blog!

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts and working with adolescents and young adults is great! If our kids could be teached from a young age about empathy and self awareness I am sure they would be spared of a lot of suffering as adults. But I believe this is happening slowly and every day there are people interested in educate our youth about this kind of subjects.

  4. When one person makes an accusation, check to be sure he himself is not the guilty one. Sometimes it is those whose case is weak who make the most clamour.

    -Piers Anthony

    Great read and soooo true. If only more people opened up their worldview and tried to look through other “lens” then we would have a much better, less violent and judgement world.

    be at peace !

  5. I certainly agree and witness this myself. It is quite amusing really in some ways the way we can automatically behave. It is more interesting to reflect it back at yourself to find out why certain things irritate us. I wish I had reached the level of non judgement. I certainly actively work on it daily and I quickly change my thoughts when I slip down that dreary road 😉

  6. Reblogged this on NR Wishart Healing and commented:
    I love how this truth has been written! We all resonate with this one for sure!

  7. I’ve tried to become more aware when I encounter a person that just rubs me the wrong way – I’ve been looking inward to see what it is I need to change about myself – it’s been hard, fun, eyeopening and life changing!

    • Kate, I think the key is to understand that is really about us completely. We are the ones who control our mood and our emotions, and the only ones affected by them. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  8. Great blog, and completely agree. It’s amazing, when we go onto autopilot and we don’t really think about the projection that WE are giving out. It’s great to have that level of self-awareness.

  9. I have been thinking that recently too…the behaviours I most dislike in other people are actually things I can be inclined to do!!!

  10. learningtocry

    So true. So true. What you put out, you receive.

  11. I am astounded by your wisdom. I had to go through years of therapy to come to this realization. I know this is going to sound strange but when I read your posts it is like I’m sitting with a good friend who is wise loving and kind! So impressed!

  12. Nothing takes the wind out of the sails of our resentment toward others faster than turning it back upon our selves.

  13. We all got our likes and dislikes but i believe that it all comes to a common ground for what is wrong and what is right. Some people will get hurt when we point out wrongs but, it will remain just that..a wrong. What we feel does not matter, doing what is right is what only does.

  14. Great observation, we often judge others when we avoid something in ourselves. Be gentle with yourself when you do so, and use it as a helpful guide to show you what you are avoiding!

    Thanks for finding my website by the way:)

  15. This is very true. I think our ego sees our true self just as it does other people – an ‘other’ to compete with, guard against, etc., as it seeks to accrue and aggrandize its false self (e.g. pride, fear, selfishness, etc.).

  16. Excellent words. I can really empathise with a lot of this, especially disapproving of behaviour in others that we do. Like your thinking.

  17. I share this view. Thanks for taking time away from these thoughtful posts to view my blog!

  18. Great blog, i actually wrote a similar blog in January 2015; the thing is that people that get triggered by these traits are definitely seeing a mirror image; however if you put too much emphasis on any particular trait like ” being disorganized” then you can attract the very people around you that you do not like. Also the thing about wanting to be organized all the time is a control issue. Being organized all the time does not allow for any spontaneity in your life; does not allow you to live in present time. Another experience i had with a person is they put a lot of emphasis on people being honest; he attracted a lot of dishonest people around him. He himself was not a dishonest person; so we need to be careful where we put our energy; because it is very powerful; especially when we resist anything; what we resist will persist. LOL Murray

  19. It took me many years to realise that I felt calm around calm people (so obvious but I didn’t get it for a ling time). Now I work hard to be calm, whatever the ‘catastrophe’, and whenever people are manically excited (positively or negatively) I try not to mirror them, rather to stay calm and alert and interested. I can see this calms others and then they smile broadly – its as if they realise the expending of so much energy wasn’t necessary.

  20. Really good point! Impressive.

  21. This reminds me of MJ’s “Man in the Mirror” song, which I love. Even though you are human and not always able to be perfectly cheerful to others, the fact that you set the intention to be kind to others every day no matter how YOU feel is fabulous and hard to do. I do the same, and it’s nice to know I’m not alone in this effort. I’m glad to have found your blog and look forward to reading more!

    • The idea behind the post did remind me to the MJ’s song Trista, hence the tittle of the post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  22. Reblogged this on empowerexcellencewithjan and commented:
    Something that I totally relate to…

  23. WOW what an eye opener for me. I absolutely find myself annoyed with people for this or that. I even think about the fact that I do the exact same thing. Love this perspective thanks for sharing.

  24. What a great post! I have never thought about it but you are spot on. I am constantly mentally telling myself that what I just did annoys me when others do it.

  25. this is such an important part of change….so much can be wrote on this aspect as it really reflects the sum and the parts of the whole…..great writing! does that mean im a great writer too;p

  26. I totally agree. No excuse for rudeness. Don’t know what another is going through anymore than they know your circumstances.

  27. Great post.I agree,no excuse for rudeness. The other person may need kindness above anything else. Treat each other as you want too be treated on life’s highways.

  28. People forget and some simply do just not know that what we put out to the world we get back to a degree. I was a HUGE complainer at a time and it really began to bring me down, and eventually i could hear myself complain i was able to catch it and stop it…..

  29. I really need to keep up with this Blog. So many things to learn from here. But am wondering how do I follow? Because I have checked but can’t seem to find the “follow” pointer. If you can lead me to where it is I’ll be glad.

  30. I’m going through a lot right now, and I’ve never looked at things the way you described them. It’s definitely an interesting and more positive out look on situations. I will be trying this starting now! Thank you for this blog.

  31. Well written and succinct, your voice shines through. And, it doesn’t hurt that I concur that life shows us, consistently, how we’re thinking and where we’re Vibing.

    I have recently noted a wonderful up tick in a friendship I enjoy. It has opened up in so many delightful ways and has become incredibly satisfying. And because I know it’s ALL due to my vibe, well, I give myself an atta girl, well done.

    Hey, if you don’t dig something in your life? That’s great because you, me, we have the power to change it. Just like that!

    Thanks for the morning inspiration Julio…~*

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