Finding Grace in Difficult Social Encounters


Grace is the beauty of form 
under the influence of freedom.
Friedrich Schiller

This season is a time for gathering.  We may be seeing people that we don’t often see on a regular basis.  Some may be cherished friends and relatives, others may be people that we would otherwise prefer not to see or, perhaps have a difficult time being around.

Those awkward encounters don’t have to spoil our holiday socials.  Consider these things when you come across difficult social encounters. 

Be courteous and gracious.  Even when people are nasty to you, you don’t have to do the same in return.  Getting into a power struggle does nothing but make you feel worse later when you reflect on the encounter and remember how you reduced yourself to a level where you became nasty as well.  
Instead of preparing for a power struggle, try to find something genuinely nice that you can appreciate about that person.  Maybe they are a great parent or business person or cook. 

You will be sincere with your words to them when you have an honest appreciation for something about them.  If you can’t think of a sincere charitable thing to say to them, then just say, “it’s good to see you”.  Keep it brief, then remove yourself from the encounter sooner than later if possible.


Be at ease.  How do you remain at ease when you encounter someone that makes you ill-at-ease?  Try to think about a different person or a place that makes you feel comfortable.  Imagine how relaxed you feel with them or in that place.  Carry that peaceful feeling with you.


Be the peace that you seek.  Big parties or gatherings can sometimes be so big that you find yourself more alone than ever.  Or you may find yourself amid conversations that are negative and gossipy.  If that’s the case try being the peace that you seek.  You don’t need to be artificial and participate in negativity. 

Simply, remove yourself physically or mentally from the conversation. 
What I sometimes do is an open eyed quasi-meditation where I focus on my breathing and just listen to all the buzz of people and sounds around me but don’t focus in on anything in particular.  It helps me stay centred and at peace.  

If all else fails, bring your smartphone and read my blog until the party is over.  Just joking (sort of).

Truly, if all else fails try to remember the simple rule-of-thumb to always treat others in a way that you would never, ever regret.  


Have a safe, healthy and peaceful holiday!

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