By Sunny Simon

How do you fare in dreamland? My husband often dreams of flying. I’ve read people who soar above the clouds in their dreams are confident of achieving their goals. That description fits him well. Last night I was lost in dreamland and found myself wandering into a series of hotels seeking directions from some very testy concierges. This morning it occurred to me I recently encountered a prickly member of a hotel staff who seemed quite bothered when I inquired about finding a particular conference room.  Waiving me off she told me to ask at the check-in desk where I eventually received a competent answer. I remember muttering to myself how ill-suited the concierge was for a customer service job. Rude people do not normally get under my skin, but it’s apparent somewhere deep in my subconscious the incident smoldered and resurfaced in a dream.

There is no getting around it. We all encounter and deal with difficult people.  On my good days, it isn’t my practice to go around muttering about an individual’s behavior.  I shrug it off and remind myself not to take it personally. On my best days, I try to respond with kindness. In Don Miguel Ruiz’s book “The Four Agreements.” the author developed a premise that “nothing others do is because of you.” I believe my simple request for directions had nothing to do with the way I was treated. The concierge may have been struggling with a personal problem or perhaps was under pressure to resolve an emergency situation for a guest.

Sometimes living out the “don’t take it personally” strategy is challenging. Dealing with rudeness on a consistent basis calls for some type of action. If your co-worker, friend or mother-in-law has a consistent habit of tossing sarcastic barbs your way, it may be time for a serious discussion. People sometimes fall into negative behavioral patterns without realizing the effect their delivery has on others. It may take only a few minutes to offer up a gentle reminder that words can hurt.  Or, you might have to stand firm and request the sarcasm comes to an end.

Try resorting to humor. Nothing diffuses a negative encounter better than a good laugh. In some instances it’s best to ignore a rude comment. Just let it go. After analyzing my dream I realized I was holding onto pent-up emotions and quickly sent a silent blessing to the concierge then moved on to enjoy my day. Do you have a silent blessing you want to send? Do so. It cannot hurt and may end up improving someone’s disposition.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at