How do I deal with people who are rude to me?
I once read Amitabh Bachchan say in his blog quoting his poet father: “When you forgive someone, you set a prisoner free, and you’ll realize the prisoner was YOU”.
Arjuna asks Krishna, “how do you deal with people who are close to you but who are very rude. I love them, but they are giving me a lot of trouble. How do I deal with this?”
This is something that at a lot of people go through. I think it’s sort of a tax that we pay in this world. We must deal with the pain as well as pleasure. There are a lot of strategies we can use to deal with this. I recently read a quote that I want to share with you: “Smile back at the people who are rude to you. Know that their rude behaviour is because they have a problem. Their rude behaviour reflects their upbringing.”
Secondly, ignoring someone could perhaps be the proper and mature way to let them know (as I’m sure you are already aware) that you do not want to deal with them but that you are not going to let that negativity ruin your day. What’s rude is pretending to like the person and then bad-mouthing them.
This can work is some situations but not always. It may work with a stranger but what if the behaviour is coming from someone close to you and is repetitive? I have a better solution to share with you.
This solution comes from Krishna and all the other great beings. It starts with a story. When he was younger he went with his foster father Nand to river Jamuna, where people would bathe before going to the nearby temple to pray.
Just to recollect, in the Bhagavad Purana, “Vasudeva (वसुदेव) was the father of the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, the Krishna, and his siblings were Balarama and Subhadra. He was a Yadav Prince. Krishna who was born to Devaki. He was given to Yashoda and Nand, exchanging her daughter Aadhi Parashakthi by Krishna’s father Vasudeva on the night of his birth, for his protection from Devaki’s brother, Kansa, the king of Mathura. Since Krishna was the eighth child, he was smuggled out of the prison to be raised by his foster parents Nand and Yasoda in Gokul.
Krishna tells Arjuna, “In the Jamuna river there were small fishes that would bite. My father would tell me to go in the river, but I knew the fishes were there and I was afraid. I would put one hand in and take it out and then dip my toes in and take them out just as fast. You are supposed to drench yourself from head toe, but I was afraid”.
He adds, “I hated the feeling of the fish nibbling at my skin. It was a very strange sensation. My father explained to me that the fish are not really biting you they are taking away the tiny dead skin cells on your leg. He explained that they were actually cleaning my skin”.
Krishna continues, “When I understood that these fish were helping me, not hurting me I lost all that fear. I had to go in the river anyway. I had no choice but while I was there, those fish were actually benefiting me. They were cleansing me”.
The reason why I’m sharing this with you is that I want you to understand that you need to cleanse yourself. You need to destroy the ego. Let the fish bite. Let those people be rude.
You are in pain because you are expecting those who are close to you to change. You are saying that he or she should not be rude to you. This is fair, we don’t want people to be rude to us but you’re expecting their behaviour to change, and this is what’s causing your problems. This person is not ready to cooperate with you. You’re expecting change, but the problem is that it is not in your hands. It is natural to want someone to be kind to you but out of that expectation comes negativity and pain. If you drop the expectation the pain will disappear. You cannot force someone to change before they are ready. It is not under our control. Last but not the least, do have a dialogue with that person.
Remember Karmic effect
Not even a mosquito bites you without previous karmic record with you; not even a street dog comes to you without previous karmic record with you; no one could even hurt you slightly, even in a casual FB comment, without a karmic reason for that to happen.
It’s the Karma of the opposite person that is causing this rudeness. We take karma for granted but we must honour the laws. We cannot stop this from happening, but we can decide how it happens. The other person is basically pure and peaceful.
Solution for peace of mind
Krishna tells us to have a clear resolution (संकल्प). We know the context of the problem. Everything has a solution. So, friends, whenever someone is rude to you or curses you, just do one thing. Do not react. Do smile. Ignore the behaviour and just go and meditate and surrender to the God within. Take control of the situation and make sure you don’t have any hateful feelings towards others.
During meditation, ask your consciousness (चेतना) to help the person being rude to you to calm down. There is no need to open your mouth. Say it to your consciousness, in your mind. Ignore the rudeness and hatred. This will help you connect to the divinity within. This should then help the rudeness in the other person melt away.
The following was written at a Buddhist monastery in Lamayuru, a small hamlet on way to Leh (Laddakh).
Who’s a Happy Soul?
- A Happy Soul stops trying to change others, but instead focus on changing self.
- A Happy Soul is one who accepts people for who they are.
- A Happy Soul is one who understands that everyone is right in one’s own perspective.
I hope I answered your question. Remember to keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.