We all have met difficult people in our lives. They could be your neighbor, your classmate, or even your parents. No matter what you do you cannot seem to please them or to get them off your back. The worse is, they could be living under the same roof as you. While there may be ways to deal with difficult people in our lives, is it possible to forgive their lack of lovable qualities? How can we learn to forgive difficult people?
They are suffering
We all have at some point or another been difficult to manage. Most people who are hard to handle tend to be stubborn, unreasonable, and recalcitrant.When you were unbending, unreasonable, and harsh, were you feeling happy? We have at times pushed our opinions across in uncouth ways. Were we in a good mood when we did that?
Why would someone who is at ease and open-minded be considered wilful or uncooperative? They just don’t go together. Difficult people are mostly unable to see others’ points of view and most importantly, they are unhappy with themselves. Although it seems that they are unhappy because of others, the truth is, no matter who we meet, we can be happy if we treasure our inner well-being. They defend their opinions like they are defending their territory. In fact, they may be even willing to backstab another in order to get their way.
The most difficult person I have ever met is my father. I keep a distance from him because if not, we would argue. But one day, I realized how unhappy he is even if he were to get his way. He was unable to see the way to happiness – which is to allow other people to have their opinions. It made me realize how helpless it must be to be unhappy most of the time since it is a human being’s preoccupation to find ways to be happy. Seeing how my father was suffering helped me see how other uncooperative people are also unhappy. This helped pave the way to forgive difficult people.
Forgive difficult people because they are unaware
If you are aware of two roads – one that leads to happiness and another that leads to unhappiness, which one would you choose? Obviously, you would choose the road to happiness. The road to happiness requires deliberate intention and awareness.
If you are aware that happiness is liking one thing without having to hate its opposite, you are more aware than those who are unaware that they can never change others. People who are hard to manage tend to defend their way of doing things till the very end without flexibility. Being more aware does make you more responsible. Why? Because you will not add more animosity to your environment and you cannot depend on those who are unaware not to.
Wisdom only comes to those who have clarity of mind, and wise people seldom cause wars. Those who are suffering within tend to cause wars because they can’t relieve inner mental pain so they want to change what is outside to bring themselves happiness, even if it may bring suffering unto others.
You need not react
You may feel it unfair that you have to accept another person’s ill-behaved manners and even forgive them for causing you suffering. You may feel as if you are being punished just because you are more aware than the difficult person. Perhaps you don’t see their suffering and think the person is doing it on purpose.
But the truth is, no one can cause you mental pain if you do not give them permission. Whenever you react, you are giving the other person the power to affect you. Even when you are complaining about them, you are giving them that power to cause you unhappiness. Isn’t it strange that the more we dislike someone, the more we give them the power by reacting to their expectations?
Not to react is not to suppress your feelings. In fact, not giving another person the power over your well-being is being at ease even when they are trying to get your attention by being difficult. Of course, this is not an easy practice because an angry person is always spreading his or her bad vibes around. It can be hard not to be affected. To do this, you have to remember not to give your attention to others who are seeking it negatively. Stay cool even if you feel the heat rising in your face and chest, and just go about your routine without giving them attention.
Forgiveness leads to well-being
Forgiveness is the first step towards being friendly to ourselves and others. Until we see the importance of our own well-being, we may find it hard to forgive another.
You see, when you feel uptight and upset about another’s behavior, you are the one who is suffering from dis-ease. Not only are you allowing the difficult person to drag you to their zone of negativity, but you are also dwelling in mental dis-ease by wanting to get back at them or wanting them to change.
By forgiving the other, you have already let go of wanting the difficult person to change. You have also forgiven yourself for dwelling in negativity by wanting the difficult person to behave otherwise. Forgiveness brings ease and acceptance and leads to well-being.