Tuesday, November 20th | 12 Kislev 5779

November 17, 2011 8:50 am

Difficult Personalities

avatar by Chava Tombosky

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Split personality. Photo: Derrick Tyson.

I am convinced that God has a mischievous sense of humor. It is based on scientific fact. Well not science, but I’m pretty sure the observations that I have had in my lifetime would prove this theory beyond a shadow of a doubt. How else can you explain God’s decision to put difficult people in our lives which potentially cause us a myriad amount of grief, challenging our emotional well being, creating so much havoc that we have three choices with how to cope?
1. Run.
2. Stay in conflict and become a drama addict.
3. Or find a way to turn it around. Learn from the very person who has been thrust on you by forces of nature that seem to be beyond playful comprehension and then find compassion for yourself and the person who is causing you pain.

See?  This just screams mischievous sense of humor. But I also believe, this sense of humor is there to teach us a valuable lesson.

When you are standing at the edge, looking into your abyss as a result of the very human being who has caused you to stand there, it can become a fortuitous moment for you to learn true enlightenment and self- refinement. And you’ll have no choice but to believe God’s sense of humor is at its best. For how else can we make sense of the challenging personalities that have been our source of therapy, avoidance, or chronic drugs, alcohol, food or sleep – then with the theory that God must have the best sense of humor EVER by giving us the exact person at inconvenient moments with highly difficult agendas to torment us beyond recognition?

But, if you take the time to examine those difficult personalities that you spend much time being frustrated by, you will ultimately come to notice those personalities are the very ones you need the most, for they are the very personalities that have the ability to shape your greatest moments of triumph. It might not seem funny to us, but God is probably having a hay day watching from above and laughing at how silly we are for not realizing his genius!

This week in my ongoing Torah class…..

(Yes, I really do have one of those.  I think it might be a law that if one marries a Rabbi you automatically are given a classroom with your name on it.  Like if you marry a doctor you are automatically handed a swivel chair behind the desk of a doctor’s office, starting your day with “Hello, Dr. So and So’s office please hold”. )

……we discussed the fact that our greatest conflicts can be the window into the greatest lessons of our lives. I had asked each person to look at a recent conflict and then put themselves and their latest adversary in a glass room. Become the host of their own show. Leave the room. Watch the conflict detached. (I hope you are all doing this in your own minds right now.) Try to mix it up by finding clear compassion and empathy for your adversary. Now take the side of yourself and find a way to have compassion and empathy for the person sitting in the chair that looks like you. It is not you, remember, you are the host. Before you know it, you will have the opportunity to see that the very person causing this pain has been planted in your life for an opportune purpose. The purpose of allowing you to grow and to reveal something about yourself you never thought you knew. Most probably the person causing you this pain is a reincarnation of previous personalities you have dealt with many times in the past but God has a sense of humor and felt the need to repeat this personality in your life yet again.

Maybe this person is there to remind you of how not to be, or how to find patience, or to seek forgiveness for yourself, or to impart the lesson of how not to be vain or petty.

Personally, I’d like to thank G0d for his constant ha ha in planting the difficult personalities that I have had to learn from at the most relevant yet inconvenient moments. And I will spend the rest of my week pondering on how funny it must be for God when I don’t take these experiences as the gifts that they are.  Maybe if I realize the lesson once and for all, I won’t get a revisit of it later. Although sometimes, I would just rather complain about those difficult people then learn from it all, but where’s the humor in that?

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