Dear Chelsea,

I’ve been experiencing some “challenges” with an adult in my life; let’s call her Sandy. She can be confrontational, so I feel anxiety when I see her. Sometimes I catch myself wishing she would disappear so I don’t have to deal with this situation any longer. Several times she has  shown up in my nightmares. But I’ve realized that since I see her every day I will have to learn how to handle the situation since it clearly is not going away.

The other day I was talking with a girlfriend about a different adult. Jonathan (not his real name) is someone I completely trust and respect so it came as a shock to find out my friend feels the way about Jonathan as I do about Sandy. Somehow we have arrived at completely different opinions of Jonathan. It was good to be reminded that it’s impossible to truly know every aspect of someone; there are always different sides to a person.

After the conversation with my friend about Jonathan, I came to the conclusion that Sandy has more sides to her than what I’ve perceived. So I have been reminding myself that Sandy is someone’s wife, someone’s mother, someone’s aunt, someone’s sister. She has shown the other parts of her personality to her family and friends – things I haven’t had the opportunity to see.

This challenge to change my perceptions about Sandy will make me a stronger person. So you too, Chelsea…when there is someone in your life that you struggle to get along with or understand, just remember that they probably have a story that you are not aware of. When you take the time to see them as a person with problems just like you, it will help you to think about them in a new light and maybe even forgive them for the ways they  have wronged you.

You won’t always get along with everyone in your life, but making the effort to understand their story will definitely help you as you make your own journey.