Somebody recently asked this question on the My Yoga Online community forum:
How do I deal with the people I can't avoid who negatively affect my mood and energy?
The answer I gave was something I needed a reminder of myself. Funny how that works. Here it is for Joy for Life readers:
"This is a toughie and super common. I can share ways that I deal with that myself. For me it stems from my understanding that my responses can be altered because they often come from my mind and ego—not my deepest, truest self.
One simple, powerful tip I've learned over the years from yoga teachers and my friend Swami Maheshanada Saraswati is the idea of noticing, of bringing awareness to my thoughts, and understanding they are just thoughts, not reality. By doing that, I can often find some space between me and my thoughts.
Here's how it might work:
1. Someone I can't avoid, who always presses my buttons and affects my mood and energy in what I consider to be a negative way, says something that makes me hurt or mad.
2. Instead of getting defensive, I take a pause, take a few deep breaths, and notice my reaction.
3. I exhale out the negativity, which is coming from my reaction, not necessarily their actions.
4. I choose a different response: one stemming from a place of ease and peace.
Do I always manage this? Nope. But that's why they call yoga a practice.
Something Pema Chodron teaches also comes to mind: We are sent the people we need--people who will challenge us deeply in a certain way until we've grown through that challenge.
Good luck and namaste!"