Do you find it easy to appreciate the difficult people in your life?

Well, everyone can be difficult at times. In fact, I believe that we might value those in our lives not by the easy times, the free times, the times of joy, but more sensibly by the difficult times, the times of sorrow. What quality is there to measure love by, what quality more readily marks the grace that a loving heart displays, save for the patience we have for the failures of our friends?

Failure? Yes, we are never more human than when we fail.

I am reminded, as I sit this evening, watching an interview with Patti Smith about her memoir of her early years with the very difficult Robert Mapplethorpe, "Just Kids", that a true friend is precious because they see us at our most vulnerable, they see our failure. What good is a friend who is only there for us when we are at our best? Friendship can not be qualified on the basis of our best selves, but more correctly, on the basis of our ugliest self, that monstrous person that we face in solitude. Maybe not complete solitude. Maybe with a good friend, or two.

Friendship, love, companionship...these things are, we are told, marked by heady joys. We have been misinformed. Friendship is a difficult, prickly thing. I truly believe that the most consideration we can ask of our loved ones is that they hurt us in the gentlest fashion possible. The hurt will be there, friendship or no; that's how life is. We are so very human, so limited, so prone to failure, so hurtful. A friend is gentle with the hurt they dispense, however. A friend acknowledges this truth: We are, all of us, more than likely to show those closest to us our worst, rather than our best. A friend sees the quality in the worst we have to bring, however. A friend understands that we hurt each other, unnecessarily, but inevitably. A friend understands that there is worth in this, and stays to see the finish. A friend sees that we never hurt, either ourselves or others, alone.

Ah, those friends I have, be tender, compassionate, in how you wound me, and I promise to do the same for you. I'm not really a good person at all, and neither are you...but we are good together, don't you think? Let's count our wounds and scars and appreciate the grace, the style, the thought, that went into each and every one. It's an honor to have a scar from such a person of quality, my friend.

Well, these are my thoughts. As for you, do you find it easy to appreciate the difficult people in your life?

Update:

Ah, Shinigami, you write of putting on a show, a strong front...well, this is, I think, part of the problem we all have, a problem culture and society have burdened us with. We all strive to be strong. So many have worked so hard to know how to be strong.

The real thing we should work on, however...is how to be weak. Most people haven't a clue.

12 Answers

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  • 8 years ago
    Best Answer

    Do I find it easy? Absolutely not. It's a constant challenge, especially because I share strong, important familial ties with most of them. One of *the* most emotionally grueling relationships in my life is the one I have with my older brother. He's the self-appointed patriarch of my family who is easy to get along with as long as things go his way, as he's too stubborn, arrogant, insecure, pertinacious, whatever, to submit to anyone else. So if you challenge him, he packs an excruciatingly venomous bite. Easy to appreciate? Hell no. Still, I do. He's remarkably smart and talented in areas in which I have no expertise. He's also just as damaged and vulnerable as most people, yet he's too afraid to acknowledge that, which is strangely endearing in a weird, twisted way. Most importantly, he's the father of my nephew, whom I adore...and if I lose my relationship with the brother, it's pretty much guaranteed that I'd rarely get to see my nephew.

    That's just one example...There are many others, but I suppose they'd contend that I'm the difficult party, primarily because they're too intellectually lazy and socially conforming to accept or even appreciate my "challenging", yet colorful disposition, which is rooted in something much deeper than they'd care to understand. So naturally, they discard me like yesterday's garbage and tolerate me for the sporadic obligatory gatherings.

    There are multiple interpretations of Shakespeare's famous quote "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players". I've always adapted it to mean that so many walk around with masks, behaving in ways that are considered to be socially acceptable, for fear that their true selves will be rejected. I've never had the skills to pull that off...I wear all my emotions transparently on my sleeve-sadness, irritability, humor, compassion...all of them. When my metaphorical sleeve is adorned with the "pretty" stuff, hey, I'm everyone's bestest buddy. Yet when the sleeve is stained, torn and mud-spattered, people scatter like rats off a sinking ship.

    Sooooo, I suppose what I've learned in my dealings with "difficult" friends/relatives is that, much like myself, they're essentially just products of their experiences, challenges, biochemical makeup and relationships. For me to dismiss them simply because they're not always funner than a barrel of freakin' monkeys, is just way too hypocritical....and easy.

    And I don't do easy.

    Source(s): Sorry for rambling, and thanks for giving me some food for thought, Jack. You really have a way with words.
  • 8 years ago

    I suppose that's one way of looking at it. You seem to have a well-balanced and optimistic view.

    If I think back on my own life, I think of certain relationships gone wrong, I find that the difficult people in my life were men.

    when they were troublesome, this was the time I talked about them the most....and sometimes those conversations lasted months and years, and lifetimes....picking apart the relationship, the things said and unsaid, the things done and not done, trying to find a pattern, trying to fix it, then when it seemed fixed, unable to enjoy it because of the expectation it will not last.

    Leaving that troublesome relationship left me unable to communicate well, nor able to express my own needs properly. Everyone I met thereafter had to guess what I was feeling.

    There are some things that leave us damaged beyond repair....and we don't even have to have any outer weaknesses that show others that we ARE damaged. We know how to cope, how to put on a strong show.

  • 8 years ago

    I find the difficult people in my life to be very interesting. I try to understand why they think and do certain things. When someone directs their anger at me, whether intentional or not, I just react smooth and calm. It's amazing how much control you have over a situation when you're calm and the other person is throwing a full temper tantrum. Do I appreciate them? I guess you can say that. They give me a better understanding on how they work.

    Source(s): Life
  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    I find that the most difficult people to deal with, including myself I've been told, have two sides that are both extreme. The easy side is full of nice traits and characteristics that are better than they are in anyone average easy-going person. And then there's the colorful side to the person that no one wants to see but you tolerate it hoping that you can bring back that easy side of them.

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    It depends on their type of difficulty. I've been able to get along with some extraordinarily irritating and unpopular people. I guess I'm just weird.

    I prefer someone who smacks me upside the head with a two by four and calls me an *** and then sits down and has pie with me. None of that "oh, dearheart, you might be a weeeee bit bltchy today." No, that makes me stabby. I prefer the L smacks upside the head, and I want to be able to do it in return.

    Funnily enough, I can't find too many people who let me do it in return. Stupidhead b@stards.

  • 8 years ago

    You have just summed up a long marriage as well.

    Got except the good with the bad.

    maybe the word Appreciate should be tolerant.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Actually, I lose sight of the good things in life sometimes, because they are overshadowed by the evil things. I have to stop myself and give thanks to GOD for the good and the bad. It seems to me, we have to pray to get past the evil and continuously give thanks for all the blessings the LORD has given us. Satan will always try to mask those blessings by bring evil into our lives-that's a given.

  • Tiger
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    You are a good and clever writer, and I actually like the question. IF it had you have a short version of it later thank you:)

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    It depends on how "difficult" they are. Meltdowns and bouts of mental illness I can handle. But I have to draw the line if they start voting Republican.

  • 8 years ago

    that was beautiful man,. but no, I have something better than friends, Strippers, they never disagree with me or make me mad because they want my money, its a beautiful relationship, call girls are good for that too. and for a little extra, they even swallow, that's more than friendship!

    Source(s): about 30% serious.
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