In the way

* originally published June 2011

“Your most challenging relationship is often your greatest teacher.” – Unknown

Do you have someone in your life whose habits or personality force you to speak up for yourself?

To find your voice and speak your truth?  Someone who keeps you on your “A-game?”

You know who I’m referring to because you can picture them now and you’re nodding your head in agreement.

You prepare for interactions.  You anticipate their next move and you might even rehearse conversations.

You’ve gone to battle with them –  in your head.

Again and again, I’m reminded that the people who frustrate me most are the ones who have the most to teach me.

Their behavior flashes like a mirror in the sunlight– and creates opportunities for self-reflection.

The loud reinforce the power of a softly spoken word.

The pushy make me ask myself, “what are we rushing to and why do I care?”

The needy give me pause to ponder my own needs and if I’m expressing them.. or not.

The thoughtless remind me to make thoughtful choices.

And the selfish serve as a reminder of everything I don’t want to be.

They’re in our way for a reason, I think.   Sometimes I can see the lessons; other-times they are seen years later.

If it takes the sand irritating the oyster to produce a pearl I ought to have a jewelry box full by now!

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

Whose behavior makes you more conscious of your own? What have you learned from dealing with a challenging personality?


Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Growth, Life, Men, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “In the way

  1. Excellent post!

  2. Yes.. immediately think of my feisty friend who is always right…at least she acts like that. Sometimes very irritating. But when she is down I miss the old girl. I have learned from her the value of being humble.

  3. You know who my person is. And I begin each workday with a reminder to self to be patient, to try to see behind the behavior, to try to stand tall in spite of her attempts to keep everyone else beneath her. I remind myself that it is her own insecurity that contributes to her behavior. But I often forget to try to learn from her. Thanks for the reminder, MJ! 🙂

    • I do remember who yours is, and you probably know who mine is. 🙂 Sometimes all we can do is let their behavior serve as a reminder what NOT to be like 🙂 MJ

  4. Interesting observation. I don’t have your tendency to see the plus side in dealing with difficult people – I just grit my teeth and power through when I see them approach.

    • Oh I do my fair share of whining and complaining, but it’s usually in looking back when I see the lessons all around 🙂 Thanks for visiting, Peg! I hope you come back again, MJ

  5. Pingback: On value, growth and being seen | Emjayandthem's Blog

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