Are there some people in your life you wish you had never met? Maybe encounters a decade ago which still make your heart race and your muscles tighten when you remember them today? Teachers, false friends, spouses, colleagues, bosses, just to name a few?

In my life there were quite a few, I can tell you. There were teachers whose injustice was so upsetting. Colleagues who spread gossip like poison and thus ruined the working environment. Bosses who never respected the feelings of staffs and treated them like slaves.

However, when I am honest, in retrospective it was good to meet these people. In fact it was great! Reflecting on it from the distance makes me realize that all these people, all these encounters which I suffered from in the past, they actually have contributed to WHO I am and WHERE I AM today. And in fact, life has never been better.

I’ll give one example: once I met someone in my life. Only very late it turned out she was a false friend. I characterized her as greedy and dishonest. Her only value in life seemed to be money, and caused me some days like hell on earth. I was upset, disappointed, and I felt abused and betrayed. I was in severe pain. As in Nelly Furtado’s Maneater I definitely wished I’d never ever met her at all.

But again, looking at this objectively from today’s perspective, there were some positive side-effects from this episode which I would not want to have missed, and which contributed to where I am and to who I am today.

As a consequence of meeting her, for instance I have met new friends who turned out very helpful in my life. I have been to places I might not have otherwise explored. I have done things that I never did before, and which I still today enjoy to remember.

No, looking at it from the distance it was not bad at all! Today, I am grateful.

In my journey, I have managed to reframe my perspective, and I am grateful for all these people who have caused me suffering and pain in my life, because they have been my real life teachers. I also have to admit, that whenever I felt hurt, disappointed, or abused in my adult life, that was only because I gave my silent consent to it! It takes two to tango.

Today, I dedicate this day to the people I once wished I had never met, and I thank you all because you have basically given me the opportunity to learn valuable lessons which made me

• trust my gut feeling
• find happiness inside myself
• explore my values and beliefs and live accordingly
• give me a new direction in life

All people I have met have shaped me in a way to become the person I am today, and in retrospective, it was all good.

So, who are the people in your life you may have caused you pain in th past, but who you should be grateful to today?

– Oh, by the way, in my life I have also hurt people, got in their ways, maybe made them feel abused, or just annoyed them. I wish to apologize for that and maybe one day you will forgive me.

6 Responses to People We Wish We Had Never Met – But Should Be Grateful for.

  1. Deb Brown says:

    Dr. G: Very revealing and that’s brave. I agree that the rooms, the people all contribute to who we are today and we need to appreciate and celebrate that part of our history. But, if I’m honest, if any of them came and asked me for coaching I would run the other way.

    P.S. It’s good reading, too.

    Deb B.

    • Dr. G says:

      Deb, good point! To be honest, there may be some people among those mentioned above who I would not be TOO happy to coach either, ha, ha.

  2. Dave K says:

    All very complicated. Some of the revolting people I grew up with may have left me with traits I could do without but, then again, I may never have left my home town if I hadn’t disliked them so much.

    • Dr. G says:

      Dave, yeah, indeed complicated. Sometimes, it takes time to see how useful things are. Maybe the positive aspect of them encounters are VERY hard to see. Book recommendation of the month: “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. Agreement number three: “Don’t take anything personally.” (Not so easy either, I know…)

  3. Mandy says:

    There are people in my life who have left deep lasting impressions on my psyche. I could say they were wounds and scars but I have worked hard to reframe them and use them for empathy and to connect with the shadows in other people’s lives. I hope to help others move forward too.
    Thanks for your candour. It struck a chord with me.

    • Dr. G says:

      Mandy, Thanks for your kind comment. I fully understand how hard it is to deal with the wounds and scars that others may cause. From your words, I assume you have made progress in re-framing your perspective, and that is usually not easy. However, with everything we learn, once we have understood the concept, the more we practice, the better it will work.
      Recently, I came across a wonderful book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. The second agreement is “Don’t take anything personally”; again, theory is easier than practice, but when you get the idea of the Toltec wisdom (everything a person says or does is about them, not you!), it will become easier to apply.

Dr. Gerrit Pelzer
Executive Coach
Bangkok, Thailand
phone: +66-8 98 11 36 48
Skype: gp_bkk

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'Helping managers transform into great leaders who are enthusiastic about their work and inspire others.' Vivo Coaching offers Executive Coaching, Leadership Coaching, and Work-Life Balance Coaching. Coaching is provided online and in person. Dr. Gerrit Pelzer is a Certified Professional Coach who serves clients all over the world. His homebase is currently in Bangkok, Thailand.

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