We all deal with difficult personalities in our lives, at home, at work or any other places. I am positive that all of us have seen either someone who was not thinking rationally and could not avoid to ‘puff him/herself’ or someone overreacting with anger for no reason.
Unfortunately, people experience bad situations in their lives or simply do not know how to control their emotions. And as human behavior is very interesting to me, I wanted to read something related to.
After visiting the bookstore I found a book that immediately grabbed my attention. The tittle was ´How to hug a porcupine’ written by Sean K. Smith. It had a super cute porcupine drawing on the cover (I immediately loved it!) and it was tiny. I quickly read on the Internet, some positive reviews about it. And especially, it looked interesting and was the perfect size to carry-on. Easy to read, I finished it in less than 4 days, during all those times that I got stuck in the DC Metrorail.
This book talks about how to deal with prickly personalities that you may run into. It teaches you how to practice empathy, compassion, kindness, understanding and unconditional acceptance towards ´human porcupines’ or yourself. It can happen that their or your ‘quills’ of judgment or emotions turn towards/inwards and pierce you or pierce others.
The author used these animals as metaphor. Porcupines are known by their spiny hairs or quills. When they are babies or ‘porcupettes’, their quills are soft. If porcupines feel threatened some tiny muscles at the base of each quill tighten. To defend themselves from predators, they will turn their backs, raising their tails and crouching. But despite the unattractive quills and force, these animals are still vulnerable to larger predators.
People can be as porcupines. Face to a threat or incursion they puff themselves up to try to scare off their adversary. Human porcupines can be anyone. A coworker always complaining, a defensive relative who verbally attacks you when vulnerable or a stranger having a bad day.
To be victorious over these difficult people, you should defect their attacks with kindness and stay in control. There are no winners and losers in relationships with human porcupines, but there’s victory if you can develop a discussion that promotes honesty, openness and willingness to talk and change.
This might not be easy, but remember that even porcupines have soft spots, the belly for instance. Do not forget that it may require some close attention and careful strategy, but you can find your human porcupine’s emotional ‘soft spot’. It can be a topic that brings to her/him a smile or makes her/him happy. And finally, try to speak ‘porcupine language’ to get to know what gets her/his quills up. But do not rush towards the quills if you are not prepared, instead keep a safe distance or wait until she/he calms down.