I found myself praying for someone who had hurt me deeply (but was totally oblivious – mainly) and someone who I found it extremely difficult to forgive. (I have forgiven now! Thank God!) This person, was in a position of leadership over me for many years and for the most of that period, although I did like them, it was a constant struggle to do so. I kept doing things to make the person more ‘palatable’ to me. I understood and admired this person but it felt like it was their life goal to oppress me. Their existence (to me) was like a weight. So much so even when this person encouraged me, it still felt like an attack (I know!).
Up until the end (of my directly relating with/to this person), when I decided to walk away (break every chain – lol!), after they had directly hurt me, there was nothing solid I could grab a hold of that validated the way that I had been feeling. After all, it was just a feeling. When this incident occurred, I latched on to it and and found a ‘legal’ way out.
There are so many questions that came to mind when I think of this person. A few of which include;
- What was it that made me feel this way?
- Why was the relationship such a burden?
- Why did praying for this person not alleviate the way that I felt?
- Why did God burden me with this person?
I never claim I have the answers for everything but I do have my own answers for the the above. Looking back, I can (now) understand a few things. When we claim to dislike a person, or for the Christian, when, “my spirit is not comfortable with that person”, what are we really saying?
Today, I received a What’sApp message again pulling me back to this issue. In summary, two strangers meet and they do not like one another. It negatively affected them both at different times. There was nothing to gain. After reading, this person came to my mind again.
I find that when there is something I have to learn, it appears to be everywhere. People keep talking to me about it, it is the topic of a TV show I may be watching and all over Social media. I am never sure whether it is triggered because I am aware of it or whether it is supernaturally sent my way. I simply cannot get away from it.
This whole issue of disliking a person is interesting to me. I looked at all the people I ‘actively’ disliked and noticed a pattern.
This has been my experience.
Looking at all the people I disliked, 5 things were present in every single one. The person I began talking about in the beginning, is no exception.
The qualities of everyone I disliked included but have not been limited to;
- something about them that was very much like me – the part of my person/personality I refuse to accept
- challenging the weakness(es) in me
- possessing what I wanted but did not (dare) dream of being able to possess
- threatening the ‘polite’ space I created for myself
- picking up on and directly addressing my insecurities
This discovery was shocking and uncomfortable. I am starting to understand that when I disliked a person, it had nothing to do with them, it was always my issue.
Going back to this person, I can see how I could have disliked them so much because you see, I was not allowed to remain in my comfortable space. Every time we were in the same area, there would be something else to discuss and it annoyed (ARRRGGGGH!) me. The fact that I was under their authority multiplied my annoyance. (LOL!)
This does not (always) mean that the person we dislike is nice or well-meaning or even polite. People CAN purposely be horrid (but that is again, their issue – for another post). Neither does it mean that the person wants what is best for you (it is important to note this!).
What it DID mean for me was betterment. I had come into contact with this person so that I could be better. I reluctantly admit that in many ways, I attribute my improvement in some areas to working under this person. However, it did not make the burden any easier to carry but I now appreciate the ‘why’. (Everyone we meet has a purpose!)
When I meet a person I ‘do not like’, I am aware that it is MY issue. Not their own.
I have now also started checking the above (these are the most consistent factors).
Interestingly, because of this person, I am learning to check myself and relate to people I do not like without malice or negativity.
I cannot forget that as Christians, we have an obligation to love everyone. Even those who go out of their way to act foolish and those who poke holes in our facades AND those who make us feel less than. It is an annoying part of following Jesus or at least trying to… 🙂
I would be amiss in not acknowledging that in cases where harm is intended, our dislike for another may well be to keep us safe but then, the correct term is not ‘dislike’. That is something else. Recognising the difference between dislike and ‘something else’ is important.
When next you think to yourself, “I do not like this person”, ask yourself why. In answering, be honest and unafraid to dig deep. The answer might surprise you.
People come in many shapes, sizes and personalities. Everyone with a wealth of positive and negative attributes. It may be possible to live a life wherein you like everyone but that takes a lot of conscious work. Thankfully, it is possible to see the good in everyone.
It is good to also remember that that person you dislike, is liked by many and even loved by some. How? I assume to hear you ask. Well, it is because they ARE likeable. (Unbelievable sometimes right?) Lol!
Find those qualities! (not a command but you know! Lol!)
Now, when I am no longer angry and selfishly guarding my offence and dislike like a prize, this person does not seem so bad. I almost miss them and the undeniable fact that I did improve in their company is bothersome.
God has been gracious enough to provide people who are very similar to this person in a lot of ways but these people do what this person did in more accommodating (yet still painful) ways. (It could be that I have changed in that respect and will be able to get along more freely with this person now).
There is so much I am yet to learn. In fact, sometimes, I learn and re-learn the same lessons because I did not learn enough the first time.
But I am willing to continue learning and will continue to try to change for the better.
That has to count for something right?
Ps, please remember that for the most part, ‘your like or dislike’ will not buy anyone a house. Lol! It has no effect on anyone, lol! BUT it is always nice to enjoy being in the company of the people around you.
Love and Blessings,