We all come across toxic people at some point in our life. At times, it is very hard to deal with them. You aren’t certain how to manage them.
Understandably, you can’t fight fire with fire. So, what do you do? You practice what Buddhism calls “loving-kindness.”
It might not seem feasible, given how these people only cause you distress and exhaust you. But it is the most effective way of dealing with such energy-draining people.
Before we get to how you can practice loving-kindness, let’s look at why should we opt for a lesser violent and more peaceful approach. It’s important to understand why we need to take the love-road and abandon the hate-road, even though it is our instinctual inclination to go for the hate-road.
1. It really isn’t any good to hold a grudge against someone, even if they deserve it.
What harm would it do to the other person if you carry enmity for them? It will only cause you trouble. The entire concept is well summarized in this quote from Bhante Henepola Gunaratana.
“May my enemies be well, happy, and peaceful. May no harm come to them. May no difficulties come to them. May no problems come to them. May they always meet with success. May they also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures in life.”
2. When your enemies provide you with an opportunity to practice patience and loving-kindness, welcome it!
You become a better person if you embrace this opportunity and deepen your ability to be patient and show loving-kindness. It is easy to love the ones we care for. It is something else if you show care and love to the ones you resent – it’s how you grow as a person.
3. Question yourself: why do I hate them?
We are often too caught up in hating people and we don’t know why we hate them. So, ask yourself why is it that you don’t like them and look for the cause. When you discover the reason, wish them well. This way you will remove the condition which made them your enemy in the first place. Gunaratana says:
“Practically speaking, if all of your enemies were well, happy, and peaceful, they would not be your enemies. If they were free from problems, pain, suffering, affliction, neurosis, psychosis, paranoia, fear, tension, anxiety, etc., they would not be your enemies. The practical approach toward your enemies is to help them overcome their problems, so you can live in peace and happiness.”
4. Remind yourself that who and what you see as hostile is from your own perspective and you do not know the whole story.
So, you hate this person only because you have considered your side of the story. Ask yourself if there could have been some misunderstanding. Ask yourself if it isn’t about you and something else is bothering the other person. Try to look for other explanations. Be empathetic and understanding before being resentful.
Let it sink in: “Although you may spend your life killing, you will not exhaust all your foes.” – Nagarjuna
You should also read: 10 Types Of Toxic People You Should Delete Out Of Your Life Immediately
It is how you practice loving-kindness meditation
In order to develop a healthier outlook of others and the world, incorporate loving-kindness in your meditation. Start by feeling love and kindness for yourself and channel it to the external world, including our enemies.
– Settle into your meditation posture.
– Concentrate on your breathing. Count the inhales and the exhales. Notice the nature of your breath.
– Imagine kindness oozing from your heart or your body glowing from a light within. Imagine it embracing your whole body. It is the bright warmth of loving kindness.
– Repeat simple, happy thoughts for focus. Wish good things for yourself, such as “May I be happy. May I be free from the hatred.”
– Now, imagine this light of warmth extending to others around you: your partner, your children, and your family.
– Repeat the happy thoughts for them. Wish good things for them now. If you feel you are ready, forgive the ones who hurt you and let the hatred go.
– Direct this sensation of loving kindness wherever you wish. Extend it to the whole world, if you may. Extend it to the animals on the brink of extinction. Enlighten the world with your light.
– Finish your meditation by returning to your breath.The meditation itself is simply about noticing yourself and others, accepting them as they are, loving them, and wishing good things for them.
After you are done meditating, practice application of loving kindness in your actions. Foster love and acceptance in your mind and heart and you will see a change in your behavior.
Featured Image Source: Przemyslaw Koch © 123RF.com