No matter how enlightened we may get, there will always be people who rub you the wrong way, are troublesome or difficult. There is no reason to become a doormat when this occurs. These “difficult” people can show us where we can develop and grow as human beings.
Yes, sometimes it feels like we are banging our head against a wall with these people in our lives. But, with the teaching of mindfulness, we can direct our awareness to the emotional pain, tension that is felt in the body, noticing and accepting so that we may understand. Mindfulness is a skill that we can develop. I know for myself, it took time to hold my attention for more than a few seconds, and it can still occur after four decades! Staying mindful when we are in the midst of the fire takes time and practice to build up to. We do this by developing skills of compassionate awareness.
Additionally, we can see that most of our difficult people are the ones closest to us–our partners, children, relatives or close friends. When we are angry or upset with someone we need to look within as to what is triggering in ourselves that needs to be healed. It’s difficult to do so, but as we grow and develop our practice we can develop the ability to uncover the true source of the upset.
I have shared some beginning mindfulness practices in our current class “Mindfully Dealing with Difficult People.” We can learn how to be aware of our emotions, breathe into the stress and care for the difficulty with compassion. It can be helpful to place the hand on the heart which activates the vagus nerve, and offer phrases of recognition of the difficulty along with compassion.
If you would like to learn more about how to mindfully deal with the difficult people in your life, either attend the current live class that runs through the end of July 2022, or enroll in the self-study course with contains the videos of the teaching and practices from class plus a handout of exercises and additional meditations to assist you.