Not only is this a catchy, punchy title for a book, it makes a lot of sense…once you read it. For some this may trigger some laughter and for others they might find it offensive at first glance. Personally, I found it funny and real. Little did I know it was going to wake me up to something bigger and better.
I was at a conference last year when I came across this book and after reading the description on the back cover and browsing through the table of contents, people around me started to ask me questions and we joked about the title. Even when I bought the book, the volunteers working the table asked me to read it and come back to give them a report on it! This was a big conversation piece and I could hardly wait to dive in and read it.
As it reads on the back cover, “With wisdom and humor, Thank You For Being Such A Pain offers gentle and compassionate guidance for understanding and healing relationships with difficult people. The author Mark I. Rosen, Ph.D., reminds us that nothing in your life happens randomly and your pain has a deeper purpose; frustration and pain are as necessary for your personal and spiritual growth as love and joy; transforming enmity and completing unfinished business may be the most important skills you can learn in life; and when you make an effort to work on your inner self, your outer relationships will be transformed.” The bottom line is that after reading this book, it can change the way you see the difficult people in your life as well as the way you see yourself. The silver lining awakening is that over time, you will be able to thank the difficult person for what they said or did to you because it helped you learn something about yourself and it made you grow into a better human being. Your higher self.
Everyone can relate to this book because there are difficult people everywhere we go and there have been times where we are the difficult person. (I know, harsh but true…). We can’t always point the finger at someone else, it’s important to take some responsibility for our own actions and how we may have contributed to the situation. After all, nobody’s perfect.
I really love how the author explains the emotional and spiritual side of understanding the difficulties, options for dealing with difficult people, why people are difficult, healing the difficulties, embracing the adversary and relating to difficult people overall.
I would like to share a powerful exercise from the book that I recently found to be helpful in my own life after being heart broken and it’s called Three Healing Letters. The purpose of this exercise is to use writing as an outlet for emotional release, most commonly anger and sadness. For all the writers out there, just remember do not send, post, give these letters to the difficult person! This exercise is just for you and your heart.
With pen in hand or computer in front of you, write a letter to the difficult person. Feel free to say whatever is on your mind and in your heart, don’t hold anything back. How were you hurt? What was taken away from you? How has your life been affected? What do you think of the person?
Take your time when you write and there is no deadline so add to it as needed over how many days, weeks, months it takes. Pay attention to how you feel in your body, what physical sensations are happening as you write? These are your emotions being released, be kind to yourself. Keep writing.
Read what you have so far out loud with all your emotion while imagining the difficult person is sitting in front of you not interrupting or defending. Find a quiet, private area to do this… 🙂
When you no longer feel the intensity of emotions inside you as you write and read the letter out loud, the letter is finished. Resist the temptation to mail it!
Now you can write the fantasy reply you would love to receive to letter 1. Take a different position by writing as if you were the difficult person. What do you want to hear? What would you like the person to say to you that would ease the pain and make you feel better? What type of apology would provide some closure for you? What would you like to be acknowledged?
Continue to pay attention to your physical reactions as you write, cry it all out if you feel like it. Even though you may never receive a letter like this it will feel good to express it.
As strange as it may sound, write the difficult person a thank-you letter. Thank them for all the positive things they did for you in your relationship despite the wedge that sits between you now. What might be the blessing in disguise here for you?
Thank the person for teaching you valuable life lessons that you wouldn’t have normally seen if it wasn’t for them. Not only did they teach you about patience and compassion but also about sharpening your relationship skills for future use with others. You may even want to thank them for not seeing the real you because now you are free to find someone who truly appreciates you for who you really are.
If you are having trouble finding anything positive or unable to say thank you, then your anger hasn’t been fully vented or dealt with yet. Please know this is okay and that you need to spend more time on letters 1 and 2 while reminding yourself there is no deadline. Time is your friend.
When you have completed letter 3, you are finally able to forgive, let go and surrender. You have healed from within because love replaced fear and gratitude shifted your perspective. Burn the letters, shred them or even bury them in the sand and have them washed away for good. Do something profound to mark the occasion of putting the past behind you where it belongs.
You are light and free.
Now you can say “thank you for being such a pain” with compassion for yourself…and mean it.