On Difficult People

The article below is very applicable to my experience last year. It’s a good reminder for me, especially now that I’m having unavoidable contact through email with some of the difficult people from last year. Their mere online presence still has a tendency to suck out energy, but the distance makes it easier to keep negative effects at bay.

I recalled what my PI taught me as I sat in his office last year and cried in front of him: “You have to be stronger than this. Be single-minded, there is work to do.” I guess single-mindedness has its merits for certain circumstances. It keeps you focused on what’s important. (My PI panicked a bit when he saw tears fall from my eyes to the point that he offered me Kimwipes to wipe my tears. Kimwipes! Talk about panicking! XD His gesture made it a totally unforgettable moment :P)

Okay, Jill. Your PI opened a door for you. Let’s make the most out of this. Navigate carefully.

“They don’t die in the fight. Smart people know how important it is to live to fight another day, especially when your foe is a toxic individual.”

Article: Here’s How to Effectively Deal with Difficult People

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On the Road to Recovery

He cried in front of everyone. I saw his hand. It was trembling. His voice was shaking and there was pain as he spoke those words. The woman  beside me, she started to cry as well. The woman in front who was facing all of us, she was crying, too. She looked at me, said I was there during the meeting. Those eyes were asking, disappointingly, “Why didn’t you explain my side to them?”

I looked at his hand again. It was still trembling. Just as my hands have been trembling for the past few weeks. He was still crying. Just as I have cried in the past months. The girl beside him placed her hand on his shoulder and started to comfort him. Even if it was my case that was the subject of that meeting, no tears fell that night. Nothing. I just looked at them. I saw how the eyes of the woman I am serving first turned slightly red as tears started to flow out of it. I saw his trembling hand and remembered the many times that mine trembled the same way as tears fell silently on my bedroom floor.

I find solace in the belief that all this happened for a reason. It’s amazing. How the world taught me how it feels to have someone hate you so much, but at the same time to have another person believe in you so much. How at some points you feel so weak that you just want to give it all up, but then you wake up the following day feeling determined to fight for what you think is right even though others may have opposing views. It was probably the only period in my life that I have constructed so many letters to give comfort, to seek comfort, to explain, to defend, to apologize, to rant, to say thank you. A time when difficult decisions had to be made. The world made me experience how it feels to have people beside you for support, but at some points, what it was like to feel terribly alone again. I saw students cry in front of me, but, fortunately, there were many who were happy as well. It was a time that I felt disappointed about a lot of things, the most hurtful one, in myself. But I also learned that it is only through challenges that we will see the extent of our courage to wake up and live each day despite all uncertainty.

I can feel that all this is about to end soon and I can only hope that my sanity manages to hold on a little longer. The deadline of grades has already elapsed and I have two subjects I have yet to submit. I have a thesis defense in two days and I haven’t done a single slide for my presentation. But so what? In the words of my student,

“I learned that I am not a disappointment as long as I did my best given my current circumstances.” 

You have no idea how happy I was when I read that on your paper. Thank you for writing it so beautifully. It’s now your teacher’s turn to apply that lesson in real life. Wish me luck!