Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"How to Hug a Porcupine"

Throughout my life I've met and dealt with numerous difficult people. In fact, I have family members and close friends who tend to be difficult at times. I will admit that I get frustrated and tend to shut down with disappointment, when I just can't get through to them. I do understand them though, as I myself seem to have a bit of defensive tendencies that can easily be construed as "attack mode". It's because of this similarity, we haven't killed - not literally - each other.

During a stroll through Barnes and Nobles a while back, I found an adorably petite book that claimed to decipher the hidden secrets of the very difficult people I hold near and dear to my heart, including myself! I picked it up - mostly due to the adorable porcupine on the cover - and became intrigued in the entire philosophical stand point that we as people can be compared to the inner workings of specific animal attributes. It was also on sale for $6, so I added it to my picks of the day. Unfortunately I put it in my bookcase without a second glance for a few weeks, rendering it forgotten. That is until yesterday. 

The book I'm referring to is How to Hug a Porcupine by Sean K. Smith. Yes this book is a bit of a light read, as it can easily be finished within an hour or two. I was able to finish the entire read with time to spare, during another one of my many insomnia ridden nights in bed. I found it quite interesting the way they described certain scenarios. I truly felt it understood the difficult people I'd encountered and gave me a much better insight on how to deal with them through numerous situations. It even prepared me for when my son goes on the defense during an emotional outburst. 

While many of the "steps" and advice in How to Hug a Porcupine are a bit obvious, during a difficult argument, a huge misunderstanding, or a simple quarrel, you just seem to be out of ideas on how to resolve it. After reading this book, I've been able to have a better understanding of all my relationships, allowing me to further indulge in those I love. I truly feel better equipped to relate specifically to each person as an unique individual, with the knowledge of underlying causes to the "issues" at hand. 

I have applied a few of the "tips and tricks" mentioned in How to Hug a Porcupine and found it to be spot on. You do need to take into consideration that not all tips can be accurately and successfully applied towards each person - everyone's different - but you can "tweak" them to suit your needs. 

To better explain, I'll provide you with an example.

Say for example you are having a very loud argument over the phone with your friend (the porcupine in this situation) and you just don't know how to explain that you are only trying to help. That you aren't attacking them and they are understood. A few simple things to keep in mind is that every porcupine will run out of steam, just some take longer than others. You have to remain calm, listen, and simple wait for them to get everything out. This will help them to slowly "lower their quills" and allow you to express your opinion(s) and/or concerns, without making your porcupine feel attacked. 

This simple trick would allow your friend to know they can confide in you openly, that you are not an enemy, and they don't have to use their "quills" with you. It eliminates MANY future arguments, granted their will still be a few. No one is perfect.

Just using that, I've saved myself a headache and a lost friend. I used this specific tactic and found it to be a really good approach. 

Overall I would recommend this book to literally anyone, as we all have porcupine's in our lives. Whether we know it or not. Using this book, you will be able to better approach all types of people. Heck, you could use this book to deal with your grumpy boss who seems to always be sticking people with "quills". 

Whether you're dealing with an overly defensive friend who really needs to be heard or an emotional distressed child who just can't seem to feel understood, this book will help you open up, de-stress, handle all situations with ease, and best of all, be a human. Trust me, it helps me to become a better mom, daughter, friend, and person! Just as Sean K. Smith says in How to Hug a Porcupine, "Be kind to yourself..."

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