Every time we are challenged by people who frustrate us or work that frustrates us or life in general, it helps sometimes to realize that if everything were easy we'd all be enlightened.
According to Debbie Ford, the gift of challenging people is that they are uniquely qualified to show us those parts of ourselves that we disowned. Do we just hate angry people? Then maybe we have an inner angry person that we need to own. Anger can be useful if channeled correctly. It's when it's ignored that it becomes a problem.
Are we frustrated with irresponsible people? Where are we irresponsible? How do we want to be less responsible and where can we let that come out in a safe manner?
What about people who are always late? Do we wish we could be late? Are we behind in things we need to do for ourselves?
Each of these traits is a "shadow trait." The term shadow was originally used by Carl Jung to include all those things we don't see in ourselves. Debbie Ford has written about this and "put new wine in old bottles," according to a forward in her book, Dark Side of the Light Chasers
. I think it's a wonderful metaphor for what she does.
Noting that each frustrating trait is a part of our own shadow can be an excellent way to relax into those encounters with frustrating people. Where am I too impatient? Where do I need to stand up and say it's all about me? Do I sometimes judge people too harshly? How do these traits serve me? What am I afraid of if I just act like that?
Good questions aren't they? The answers are often difficult to come by so maybe we ought to thank those challenging people for the insight into ourselves that they give.