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Sandpaper People by Mary Southerland

By Edited Feb 9, 2016 2 1

Sandpaper People

Sandpaper People

Dealing with Difficult People

 Have you ever met anyone who just rubbed you the wrong way? A person who annoyed you so much that you would do almost anything not to come in contact with them? In her book; “Sandpaper People – Dealing with the Ones Who Rub You the Wrong Way,” speaker and author Mary Southerland outlines a fresh approach, with a toolbox full of anecdotes and humor, of action principles for relating to the abrasive people in your life.  

Sandpaper People offers chapter-by chapter questions, applications, journaling suggestions, study and application guide, plus a personal journal to help you recognize your own sandpaper tendencies and see your sandpaper people for what they really are. If you’ve ever thought “God, why did you put these problem people in my life,” this book’s for you.


Difficult People: A Gateway to Enlightenment
Amazon Price: $17.95 $11.02 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 9, 2016)

The Biggest Problem in the World

The book begins by discussing “The Biggest Problem in the World,” and you can probably guess what that is. It also talks about the good news and bad news of problematical relationships and how to deal with sandpaper people.

In the first chapter “Be Loving: Recognize Their Worth,” Southerland goes into great detail in this difficult topic. How can you recognize the worth of someone you feel is worthless? Can you really value the abrasive coworker, annoying in-law, or nosy neighbor, and who would that really help anyway? There is one way to find out.     

In chapter two, “Be Humble: Choose Against Pride,” you will see that everyone struggles with pride and how to deal with it. You will learn how to recognize the power of grace, practice accountability and service to others.

In chapter three, “Be Accepting: Love Them – Just As They Are,” you will read about faithfulness and sacrificing your own happiness for a time in order to redeem a relationship. Sandpaper people rarely encounter such love. Forgiveness is also necessary as it is the deepest need of the soul. When you choose to sacrifice, you chose faith over pride and restoration over destruction. Love never gives up and never fails.

Chapter four, “Be Encouraging: Become Their Cheerleader,” this can be difficult to imagine. How can you support a person whom you despise? You may be surprised to learn that one of the secrets to defusing and disarming a sandpaper person it to become their cheerleader. You may not feel like being their cheerleader but you can still choose to do so.

Chapter five is “Be Patient: Learn to Endure,” things don’t happen overnight and people don’t change overnight. Learn and recognize where the source of your patience comes from and learn to rely on that source daily. Learn through your circumstances, be patient and don’t give up.  

In chapter six, “Be Forgiving: Forgive and Forget,” the author will show you how to take the initiative for forgiveness, why it is important to forgive yourself, how to forgive the debt, practice acceptance and pursue reconciliation.

Meet A Need

Chapter seven is “Be Caring: Meet A Need” and it outlines how to see the need, feel their pain, take immediate action and always follow-up.  Southerland notes “The more I work and interact with sandpaper people, the more I realize there is always a reason for their abrasive behavior…a creatively crafted defense, a tediously built wall, or a bandage carefully applied to some deeply hidden wound that has never fully healed.”

In chapter eight, “Be Peaceful: Wage Peace,” you will learn how to recognize the power of anger and learn how to deal with it. Do you ever admit when you’re angry then try to recognize why you are angry, and delay your response? Not very many people do. Learn how to dismiss your anger then resolve and prevent it.

Chapter nine, “Be Confrontational: Care Enough to Confront,” there is an art to confrontation which the author talks about in this chapter. One of the basic needs of a healthy relationship is the art of confrontation in order to resolve conflict, while still promoting peace. Silence to most people equals agreement and sandpaper people take silence, in the absence of a ‘no,’ as an unspoken ‘yes.’ Many parents are struggling with sandpaper teenagers who try to take advantage of an unspoken no as a yes. The goal of confrontation is unity, not combativeness. If you care about someone then level with them and learn to confront with the right motive, and in the right way. Confront at the right time and in front of the right people.  

Chapter ten, “Be Strong: Develop Endurance,” dealing with difficult people can be draining and the book discusses the strength it takes to withstand and gives “A Strong Example.” The book also discusses how to choose humility over pride and peace over worry. “When we live in peace, we are paving the way for difficult people to encounter Peace Himself.” Learn how to choose knowledge over ignorance and character over comfort.

In chapter eleven, “Be Thankful: Thank God for Them,” you will discover the importance of living with the attitude of thankfulness. Learning to be thankful is one of the most important choices a person can make when dealing with a sandpaper person. Can you thank God for the sandpaper person in your life? The chapter highlights the reasons to be thankful as “Reason 1: Being Thankful Brings God Pleasure; Reason Two: Being Thankful Deepens Our Trust; Reason Three: Being Thankful Frees Us From Having To Understand Our Circumstances; Reason 4: Being Thankful Transforms Tragedy Into Triumph; Reason 5: Being Thankful Strengthens Our Prayer Life; and Reason 6: Being Thankful Seals The Victory.”

Be Committed

The final chapter is chapter twelve, “Be Committed: Refuse to Walk Away,” at times it will be extremely tempting to walk away from a relationship with a sandpaper person, and the urge to give up may take every bit of your strength to overcome. Commitment is the only right choice to make. “Sandpaper people behave in a manner that ultimately drives others away. Commitment looks past that behavior, sees the need and chooses to stay.”  In our society, people are looking for the quick-fix, they want commitment to be easy and convenient, painless and cheap, but commitment is never that way.  In learning to commit, you will also recognize the value and worth of the sandpaper people in your lives.

Sandpaper People: Dealing with the Ones Who Rub You the Wrong Way
Amazon Price: $14.99 $8.90 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 9, 2016)

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May 11, 2011 9:38am
What an excellent review of this book, "Sandpaper People." It sounds like something all of us should read ... because doesn't everyone have a few sandpaper people in their lives?
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