4 out of 4 stars
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In her book, Lessons From a Difficult Person, Sarah H. Elliston helps navigate readers through turbulent waters when it comes to addressing people that we find troublesome. How many times has your phone rang, and when you see a particular person's name on the screen, your heart races, your body trembles and you quickly click 'ignore this call' to avoid confrontation? You make sure to dodge this individual as much as humanly possible because your impression is of a porcupine with sharp quills, and running away seems like the only option to avoid pain. You feel that anything can cause this person to go off and you don't desire to be the target of his or her rants any longer.
Would it surprise you to know that most people whom we label as difficult don't realize the negative impact they are having on others? This is the center point from which this author writes using her own experiences as examples of how to not only assist the offender but to free ourselves from the suffering.
There are easy to read chapters in this helpful guide along with thought-provoking and relevant exercises in each section. The author realizes that a discussion with a prickly person will take courage, and she equips readers with the tools necessary to move in that direction. She gives strategic actions to follow that involve thoughtful preparation. I saw this as putting on armor so that you can go into a conversation and whatever is thrown your way, it will not harm you. You will be able to withstand an onslaught of defense mechanisms and remain ready to offer support and not create further drama. She trains her audience to listen actively and respond with compassion to create a dialogue between the parties to come to a peaceful resolution.
I liked the segment where she spoke about avoidance. Most of us choose this as a way of managing our steps to cope with relationships that leave us worn out from hurt feelings, anger or fear. She does recognize that some people need professional counseling and is an advocate of therapy, but the author instructs on how to start a favorable exchange and what type of language to use in hopes of solving underlying issues.
The author's straightforward approach is refreshing. All the stories from her past leading up to how she discovered inner healing and becoming more self-aware are valuable in a book such as this. She has lived the life of a person who was deemed 'difficult' and was told she was too 'passionate' or 'controlling,' and she uses what was once so painful to teach others how to come up and out of a pit that seems like an impossible trap. Her goal is to shed light on a dark subject instead of letting it hide unaided in the shadows.
I only found a few minor punctuation errors in the book, and these were mainly compound sentences that require commas. The author might want to go back and specifically look over the material one more time and see if those can be remedied. Other than that, it was written with perfection. While the subject may be weighty, the author has done her work to make it easy to read. I would recommend this to anyone who has a broken relationship, or persons who desire to do some self-reflection and want to become more aware of their behavior. For those who do not enjoy self-help books, this isn't the one for you.
I give this book a 4 out of 4 star rating for its exceptional advice from an expert with first-hand knowledge on how to give people a chance to have a better rapport with those around them. I was reminded of this famous saying more than once while reading this book: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It could be possible that you are someone's difficult person, and how would you want them to respond to you?
Lessons From a Difficult Person
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