A woman plays lawn Jenga, carefully placing a piece on the top of the tower.

Jenga – Being Nice to Difficult People

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There are people in my life whose personalities are kind of like Jenga towers. If I need something from them, it’s best to place the request or information in a very gentle manner.

People with super sensitive personalities can be a real challenge for a person like me. I naturally tend to have more of a bull in a china shop approach. I often find it easier to dismiss, ignore, or ridicule sensitivity rather than respectfully accept the specific needs of someone I care about. When I stop making it about me, I can recognize that these individuals are actually blessing me with an opportunity to dig deeper into my capability to be kind.

I once heard the Dalai Lama quote, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Aside from the fact that Mr. Lama has obviously never parented a toddler, I honestly didn’t ever consider that kindness is always possible. And, of course, there are instances when I simply don’t possess the patience or time to place information ever-so-gently on the structure. I barrel in knowing full-well that the whole tower is going to crumble. And yes, the words, “suck it up,” might even roll off my tongue. But, what I’m discovering is that acknowledging people’s sensitivities is a much more effective way for me to get what I need from them. Now, instead of resenting that part of who they are, I can view their needs as an offering—another chance to practice being the person I want to be.

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