Finding the Beauty in the Prickles

Torch Cactus

We all know prickly people. But before we start pointing fingers, isn’t it true that we all act prickly sometimes.

Prickly people are hard to be around. They can be defensive, irrupt in anger, blame others for undesired circumstances and withdraw in silence…all in the same conversation.

What makes us prickly?

  1. Loss of dignity or self-worth.
  1. Feeling abandon or unloved.
  1. Fear of loss of relationship, position or financial security.
  1. Emotional or physical exhaustion.

But like the Torch Cactus feature in the picture above, under the prickles is something waiting to be discovered, healed, seen, heard and blossomed. We are not responsible for how a person will respond, but we can help to ignite the beauty that is hidden under the prickles.

Here are four ways that you can respond and encourage beauty to overcome the prickles: 

  1. See and encourage the potential in others when they can’t see it in themselves.
  1. Take the road less traveled and choose connection, love and physical affection in appropriate doses. Let’s admit it, the easier thing to do is mimic a prickly person’s behavior but the most productive and relationship building thing you can do is to tell the person through word and deed, you will not abandon them in their time of need.
  1. Don’t try to fix it. Accept that the person is in a process of understanding and change. The art of active listening will benefit you greatly in this process. If you need coaching on active listening watch my interview with Lynne Baab, Author of The Power of Listening HERE.
  1. Provide a safe environment of rest and renewal. For example, offer to make the person’s favorite comfort foods or participate in their preferred outdoor activities. If the person needs space, take their kids (or yours) out for a playdate so they can relax.

It’s your turn:

Share some reasons you have become a prickly person at times?

What advice would you give to a friend or loved one who wanted to ignite the beauty that can be hidden by the prickles?

I would love to hear your thoughts on Finding the Beauty in the Prickles, please don’t hesitate to share your stories or comments below.

If you found this blog helpful or encouraging, it would be the greatest complement to me if you shared it on your social networks. Thank you for helping build our community!

In Life and Leadership,




2 Comments on “Finding the Beauty in the Prickles”

  1. Wow! What a great article! Very helpful in what I am in right now. My husband and I are pastors and come across “prickly people” and my heart it to run to them but find that hugging a cactus isn’t always what is best for me or the cactus. Thank you for this encouragement!! I am going to really write these ideas down and try them out and love in a way they can really receive love.


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