1. Remember it’s not personal
This one is probably one of the hardest concepts to practice. Usually everybody is looking for one thing: happiness. They want and deserve happiness just like you. When someone seems to be attacking your character, it’s truly not personal. They are dealing with their own issues about something and due to their unhappiness they are taking it out on you. Just remind yourself it is not personal.
2. Don’t argue
Would you try to rationalize with someone under the influence? People who are set in their ways aren’t going to change their minds about you or a situation. This does not mean you are giving up the right to have an opinion but rather than wasting your time trying to rationalize just be as calm and compassionate as possible. I find that less is more. The less you engage, the more you are likely to not become reactive when you feel attacked.
3. Be compassionate
This relates to number one. A key concept in Buddhism is to practice compassion towards others. This might be mistaken for allowing people to walk all over you. You might also think that you need to outwardly show the person. You can show compassion inwardly and think about this person as you meditate. The person does not always need to know. So how do we do this? When you sit to meditate you can think about bringing a bright light to that person. You can imagine being out in a beautiful field with them giving them loving-kindness. If you know about their past you can remind yourself about their hardships. Most importantly, always remembering they deserve happiness like you is at the core of this concept.
Meditation has been around for so long but only recently we are beginning to understand the neurological benefits of it. Meditation increases the grey matter in our brain which is associated with learning and memory. Meditation has also been proven to decrease stress and anxiety and improve self-awareness and the ability to be compassionate. There are many different forms of meditation. You can choose a simple approach and start with a short 5 minute meditation. You can also learn a mantra (a repeated sound or word) and reflect on the meaning of the mantra. Any form will have extraordinary benefits to your health.
You do not need to be religious to practice the concepts of Buddhism. These methods have transformed my life and way of thinking. I have also learned to not be so hard on myself. We are human and will react at times in ways we will later regret and that is okay. You cannot obtain wisdom if you never make mistakes. What positive methods do you practice when faced with difficult people?
Written by Stephanie Briggs