Try as we might, there’s always somebody either at work or in our personal life that we just don’t care for. By identifying their main quality that puts you off, you can use it as an opportunity to make yourself better.
When you take a good, long look at why you don’t like someone, there will always be something that stands out above everything else. Maybe they’re selfish or rude, or maybe they boast about themselves too much. Laren Bacon at Quartz has an exercise for using the negative qualities you see in others for personal insight:
Now ask yourself:
- How do I feel about this person, in general?
- What specifically about them is so triggering? (Spend a good amount of time here, dumping it all out.)
- What are they modeling for me, in a “how not to be” way?
- How does my reaction relate to my own values?
Whatever we disdain in others hides a gift for us—a quality that, once we face and integrate it, will stop haunting us and make us more whole. If you can’t bear to hear people bragging, ask yourself: Where do I stop myself from celebrating my life? How could I practice more gratitude? Or if selfishness triggers you, ask yourself where you might be harboring resentment about your own self-sacrifice and self-denial.
As strange as it might seem, you may not like a quality in someone else because it embodies a trait you wish you had more of. You can take the quality that you dislike and not only avoid doing it, but also use it to look in the mirror and discover a quality you might need to work on. Don’t let someone you dislike just be a negative void in your life, get something positive out of it.
Photo by Jessie Jacobson.