You cannot stand your friend’s offensive spouse, yet, you need to meet him/her because you truly enjoy hanging out with your friend; you want to kill your husband’s relative as she has nothing good to say about you, yet, you need to be pleasant because she is ‘his’ ‘relative’; you are enjoying your Friday ‘after-work’ drinks at work, and that ‘one’ colleague joins who is gregarious with others, but invariably avoids eye-contact with you. He is making you angry, but you cannot show your anger because you have to maintain professionalism. Be it your friend’s spouse’s obnoxious antics, husband’s relative’s sarcasm or colleague’s aloofness, everything about them makes you angry, and you want to crib about that person with anyone who is willing to listen. Somehow that person’s negative energy makes you take responsibility for feelings that are not yours. You may even get yourself stuck in harbouring negativity for that person, and sabotaging your own positive energetic system. But you cannot do anything because you need to maintain relationships. It happens to all, and it happens for real.
I am a firm believer that if I am not able to like someone, it is very much possible that the other person does not like me either due to my behavior. After all, I am exerting that unpleasant and negative energy when that person is around. I cannot be likeable. Thus, after going through lots of spiritual quotes, I have come up with three mantras to end such negativity.
- Dalai Lama says, “Look at children. They quarrel, but do not harbor ill feelings. Most adults have the advantage of education over children, but what is the use of an education if they show a big smile while hiding negative feelings deep inside?” Invariably, we fake pleasantries when we meet these people, and spend hours regrettably blathering about that person afterwards. Is it worth pretending so much in life? For example, if your friend’s spouse’s behavior is disturbing you so much that you are avoiding your friend, is not it worth simply picking up the phone and talking about it with your dear friend, instead of ranting about the spouse with someone else? Most likely, if your friend understands you as a person or values your friendship, he/she will appreciate your honesty. At least he/she will know why you have suddenly turned aloof. Many years ago, I had to tell my friend that I could no longer take her husband’s snide remarks anymore, and she stopped talking with me after that. I personally think that was still better than wasting hours harboring that ill-feeling for another human being and pretending love. (She did call me later because a true friend cannot remain angry forever.)
- “Don’t get my personality and my attitude twisted, because my personality is me, and my attitude depends on you.” This holds true all the time. Many times, we think we are fine and the other person is the issue. But over the years, I have learnt that I too come across as an arrogant person when I am with people from whom I get an uneasy vibe. It could be possible that my cheerful, child-like, and extroverted nature comes across as boastful, immature, and arrogant for others. For example, possibly because I assume that the ‘previously-mentioned colleague’ is not going to greet me, I too, unknowingly, do not make an eye-contact with him, or give cold shoulders. Perhaps, that influences his behaviour towards me as well. Many times, we cannot change our personality for people we do not like, but there is no harm in discovering our alternative personality, and make peace with ourselves.
- “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain. Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” Remember the relative who cannot start the conversation without commenting about your hair, dress or face? How difficult is it to start a conversation with a simple compliment? Instead of, “What is wrong with your face, you have got so many pimples?”, how about a simple,”You look great in this dress?”. At least our simple compliment can make the other person feel special. However, I am practicing to ignore such negative comments by thinking that my personality somehow makes that person jealous and uncomfortable, and thus she has to pinpoint any negative aspect of my appearance to satisfy her own ego. At least, someone is insecure about my personality, and I take a sadistic pleasure in it. That is my way of dealing with such negativity.
Lastly, though a bit on the harsher side, I find this statement that the actress Meryl Streep lives by, the most sensible to “move on from a situation” that is not favourable to our well-being due to the presence of negative people around us. She states ….. “I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me….. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me….. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement.”
And I end my blog with revered Dalai Lama’s very positive quote
“If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers because their presence provides you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience and understanding.”