July 31, 2011

How to Hug a Porcupine.

Understanding, loving and forgiving the emotional vampires in your life.

I once saw a book while browsing at Borders titled “How to Hug a Porcupine.” The sub-title read: “101 ways to love the most difficult people in your life.” It is common, and it is human, to have difficult relationships in life, whether they are romantic, familial, friendly or business-related. Our porcupines can be our biggest teachers in life, and that is a blessing. Alas, a blessing in disguise.

I didn’t buy the book “How to Hug a Porcupine.” I felt, for some strange reason, that all I needed at the time was the title of the book. It was enough for me. It was enough to know that difficult relationships are so common in this world that someone wrote a book about it. It was enough to know that I’m not the only person who struggles with porcupines.

As I refer to these types of people in my life as porcupines, my dear friend recently referred to them as emotional vampires. I think this made a lot of sense. Let me define it for you: an emotional vampire is someone who feeds off of conflict, someone who jumps at opportunities to fight, someone with unresolved issues with themselves, that use others as avenues towards feeling better about their own issues.

Now, consider for just a moment, that it’s possible to not know the total truth about these people.

And then observe.

Observe how you observe.

Observe how much power you give to these emotional vampires, observe if its possible to take some of that power back.

Observe what you can give up, to move towards a place of peace with this person. Is it fear? Resentment? Frustration? Are you leading with your ego in relation to this person? How much easier would the situation be if you led with your heart instead?

Consider that this emotional vampire’s issues actually have nothing to do with you.

Consider that you are the emotional vampire.

Consider forgiving this person.

Consider letting go of judgment.

What kind of relationship is possible with this person? What needs to happen for you to get to that place?

Okay. Now, get committed – and go hug your porcupine.

… And maybe read the book. I’ll read it too. For although at one time the title was enough for me, I now realize I could use all 101 ways to love these emotional vampires in my life. Lets meet back here to discuss it. Here’s the description:

Most of us know someone who, for whatever reason, always seems to cause problems, irritate others, or incite conflict. Often, these people are a part of our daily lives. The truth is that these trouble makers haven’t necessarily asked to be this way. Sometimes we need to learn new approaches to deal with people who are harder to get along with or love. “How to Hug a Porcupine: Easy Ways to Love Difficult People in Your Life,” explains that making peace with others isn’t as tough or terrible as we think it is – especially when you can use an adorable animal analogy and apply it to real-life problems. “How to Hug a Porcupine” provides tips for calming the quills of parents, children, siblings, strangers, and other prickly people you may encounter. Among other tips, “How to Hug a Porcupine” includes: * Three easy ways to end an argument * How to spot the porcupine in others * How to spot the porcupine in ourselves, with a foreword by noted psychotherapist Dr. Debbie Ellis, widow of Dr. Albert Ellis, “How to Hug a Porcupine” is a truly special book.

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