So, we went to church on Sunday. That’s nothing unusual because we go most Sundays. Believe me, I have sat through myriad church services in my 61 years, and they have elicited a variety of responses from me. There have been times, I have hung on to every word spoken because it seemed to be exactly what I needed to hear or it matched what I believe. Other times, I have doodled, whispered, and yawned convinced the service would never end.

All of that to say, I heard a sermon that kept me riveted to my cushioned chair. Sure beats those rock hard pews with 90° seats and backs. And why? It was about how to deal with the difficult people we encounter; the people who resent our personal successes. The very same people live life with a storm cloud following them, perfect for raining on our parades. Granted, you don’t have to go to church to find them, because they are everywhere: at every place of employment and in every family. Please note I can’t provide a fool-proof way to handle them, especially if they live in your home, but I discovered an option or two.

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The Pastor began by referencing the ridiculous Christmas letters in which people crow about their amazing accomplishments. I hope you enjoy my example below. These are the letters that make you want to burn your house down, disown your children, divorce your spouse and quit your job. Get the picture?

Don’t get me wrong. I love getting Christmas cards, letters and photos as long as they include the good, the bad and the ugly. In fact, I have sent out letters at Christmas, but I have tried to be authentic in them.

Okay, what about the people who cannot handle your joy, your progress, or your successes?

Well, maybe not.

For starters, there is little to nothing you can do to change them. Who can you change? Only you.

Stop being a martyr for someone intent on dragging you down to their miserable level. Can you distance yourself from them? So, let’s say someone you work with mistakenly believes you live a charmed life – perfect house, perfect spouse, perfect mouse – oops, I had to use mouse because it rhymes with house and spouse.

Everyone struggles. It is just that some people are more vocal about it than others.Getting back to church…by the time the service ended, I had a brand new lightness in my heart, a spring in my step and new resolve to stop letting the things that don’t matter consume so much of my time and mind, especially my mind!

After all, we all know people who have a problem for every solution. They like to poopoo your exciting news and forward thinking ideas. They say things like:
“I don’t want to spoil your excitement, but my sister in Toronto already tried that and it was a complete disaster. In fact, she failed so badly that she had to flee her home.”
“We’ve never done it that way before.”

Believe it or not, I, too, have those people in my life. I can’t banish them to Siberian salt mines, but I can make a few choices that will make my life more enjoyable. I have to teach myself to refrain from indulging these types. I am not the right person who should deal with them because I know they are going to drag me down.

  • Don’t invite them for lunch.
  • Don’t ask them how life is.
  • Don’t feel bad for putting a healthy distance between you.

Have a great weekend!