highly sensitive person
source: Pinterest

“What makes someone difficult?   Essentially, it’s their energy. We don’t have to be students of quantum field theory or Buddhist metaphysics to sense how much the energies around us affect our moods and feelings.  What makes someone tough for you to take? Basically, it has to do with how your energies interact with theirs.

Every one of us is at our core an energetic bundle. What we call our personality is actually made up of many layers of energy — soft, tender, vulnerable energies as well as powerful, controlling or prickly energies. We have our wild and gnarly energies, our kindly energies, our free energies and our constricted, contracted ones.

These energies, expressing themselves through our bodies, thoughts, and emotions, and minds, manifest as our specific personality signature at any given moment. What we see on the surface, in someone’s body language and facial expressions, is the sum of the energies that are operating in them. As we speak, its the energy behind our words that most deeply impacts others.

The beginning of change, then, is learning how to recognize and modulate our own energy patterns. The more awareness we have — that is, the more we are able to stand aside and witness our personal energies of thought and feeling and (rather than identifying with them) the easier it is to work with our own energies. This takes practice. Most people don’t start out with a highly developed awareness of their own energy or the way it impacts others — and even fewer of us know how to change the way our energies work together.”

~ Sally Kempton

This excerpt from an article by Sally Kempton at Awkin.org caught my attention. There is wisdom here, and an opportunity to expand our insight into our energies and how they impact us and those around us.

Its easy to sense a “difficult” person, but do you have insight into how we may be “difficult” too? 

And when you realize your energy is impacting others negatively, are you able to modulate your own energy patterns?

I pondered these questions for myself, and came up with a resounding “I’m not sure”.

There is an old saying “It takes one to know one”. We see in others what we like and what we don’t like in ourselves. That difficult person’s energy is connecting with the same energy within ourselves.

Negative interactions become an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, and also to modify our own energy patterns.

Modifying our energy patterns is something that most of us have already experienced as we go through life.

Think of when you are feeling stressed out. What is the best way for you to let it go and feel better? It can be going for a run or a walk in nature, rolling out your yoga mat, reading a book, painting, playing an instrument, journaling, blogging or simply opening the Reader on WordPress.

These practices help the negative energy transform into something positive, so that it moves through you.

Awareness is the first step. Noticing how we are reacting to someone else’s energy, and how it is sparking the same energy within us.
Rather than reacting to what’s “wrong” with them, step back and consider what they may have touched within you. This can give you valuable insight into how you may be also be difficult to others.

33 comments on “What Makes Someone “Difficult”?

  1. “What we see on the surface, in someone’s body language and facial expressions, is the sum of the energies that are operating in them. As we speak, its the energy behind our words that most deeply impacts others.” ~> At first read, this sounded “right” . . . but then I thought about actors . . . and people wearing people-pleasing masks . . . and how Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain made an “unexpected” exit Stage Left.

    At second read, I was no longer convinced that our energies are that transparent. Or that others pick up on how we are really feeling inside.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your reflections Nancy. I think we all pick up energies to a lesser or greater degree. I tend to tune in to others very easily, and can sense pain behind the smiling social face…. what is not so easy for me is to see how my energy impacts others. To understand how I might be difficult.
      I wrote this with a colleague in mind that I am having difficulty with, and the negative energy spilled over into my interactions at home. I was unaware of what was going on, until I stepped back and reflected on the questions in the post.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do think that we pick up on each others energies ~> being around negative people can ruin a perfectly good mood, and being around positive people can give us a mood boost, etc.

        So, if someone “rubs us the wrong way,” and we absorb their negative energy, we can carry that with us . . . spoiling our interactions with others for the rest of the day, week, month, or year.

        That said, people who WANT to disguise how they are feeling (e.g., Anthony Bourdain) can fool most of the people most of the time. He dropped subtle hints here and there (e.g., “what do you do AFTER you’ve realized ALL your dreams?”) . . . but most people seemed blindsided by his decision to commit suicide. Maybe that’s because he hung out with people who don’t read each other very well (i.e., superficial folk who take everything at face value) OR . . . maybe he was talented at disguising his truth.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is very interesting, Val. I have to agree with Nancy’s comment, particularly her last two sentences. Speaking from personal experience, I know it’s not healthy, but I’m a pro at hiding how I’m really feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your reflection, Jill. 💛 There is such a social pressure/ cultural norm to appear to be happy and independent, particularly here in the US. I still notice how dour Scots appear when I visit there!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Interesting, Val. I understand the idea of “modifying energy”. However, I have learned to avoid those whose energy is negative or otherwise toxic. Modifying energy to be in another’s presence seems a bit like slipping into inauthenticity, and the implications over time are worth considering. I choose to be around those when are real, and who are not seeking to project their fear and anger onto me. I feel we are all very complex beings and knowing ourselves well is the best way to effectively navigate our relationships in the world, without losing something important…like the very essence of our being.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment Carrie 💛 I was thinking of a particular person who has been difficult for me to be around. I realized that her energy was one of insecurity and fear, which triggered something buried in me. By stepping away I was able to see this and shift into more compassionate place or understanding, and to realize that she was triggering old insecurities in me. She is a colleague, and I have to limit how much time I am in her presence. Sometimes we have to find ways to relate to others who may not be in alignment with ourselves. 💛🙏💛

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very true Val. I really agree with: “It’s the energy behind our words that deeply impact others.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally get this, but sometimes it is hard to modulate my energy when I feel swept along. Like trying to steer my canoe out of the rapids toward the shore, it takes skill (practice) and self-control. Some days are easier than others!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Apparently I can be scary.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s very wise! It is so easy to see the negative energy in someone else, but quite another to realize how it is effecting us and how we are reacting to it. And it’s even harder to realize when we’re giving off negative energy ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sally Kempton has been my favorite writer. Thank you for sharing this deeply relevant post. Self awareness is so much a journey of recognizing energy patterns.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful informative post.. And I often find people can mirror energies of our own, that we need to work upon.. 🙂
    Changes are affecting many peoples ‘energies’ around the word, people’s frustrations are boiling over as they are unable to find peace within.. So lots of anger and unsettling behaviours now surfacing .. As we each try to adjust ..
    My own ways of dealing with anxiety is to go within Natures healing balm.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nature is always healing and restores our balance. That is my place too.
      I have also noticed many people have withdrawn, and not longer engage in posts and conversations. Perhaps they feel insecure or dismayed. 😟
      I miss their voices here on WordPress.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think Val it may be that people are not so much withdrawing form WP, but perhaps they are hopefully engaging within themselves.
        Though many I know treat it like FB, ( which I have never joined) but prefer to click the like button rather than really read what is posted.. I find that from my followers, and some must just vanish as soon as they click follow, For they are neither heard or seen again LOL…
        I have to seriously do some spring cleaning of my own in that dept.. 😀 🙂 😉
        And wish I had more hours in the day to do justice to those I follow.. I may one day yet get organised haha…. 😀
        Have a great Thursday Val.. Much love and thank you my friend for always inspiring us and making us THINK deeper.. ❤ xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you dear Sue for sharing here. I like the thought that some have taken time for reflection and inner engagement. Thanks as always for your kind words. Have a wonderful Thursday and weekend ahead 💛🌸🌼


  10. Excellent post, Val…
    “Rather than reacting to what’s “wrong” with them, step back and consider what they may have touched within you”: I absolutely agree. 😉


  11. Great insights. Hard to acknowledge our own dark sides.But that is the only way to let in the light.

    Liked by 1 person

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