Don’t be annoyed that people are so bad, be amazed that they aren’t worse
People can annoy us in innumerable ways – they can be incompetent, insensitive, forgetful, lazy, dumb. If we let ourselves get annoyed by them, we will stay irritated for the rest of our lives.
How can we avoid such irritation? By letting Gita wisdom educate our vision of people.
Everyone has troubles: The world is a tough place (Bhagavad-gita 08.15). Just as people don’t know the issues we are facing, we don’t know the issues they are facing. Just as our issues sometimes get to our nerves, so too can others’ issues get to their nerves.
Everyone has a troublesome mind: Our mind can be our inner enemy (06.06) Just as our mind can subject us to a private inner hell, so can others’ mind torment them. Just as others can’t see our inner torment, we can’t see others’ inner torment.
Everyone’s mind can react to trouble with malevolence: The world’s reversals externally and the mind’s reactions internally can conspire to bring the worst out of people: “If I can’t have a good life, what right does anyone have to a good life?”
Pointing to all this turmoil going on inside people, the Bhagavad-gita (14.05) states that everyone is bound by the modes of material nature, which can drag them like puppets. When we are thus educated by Gita wisdom, we can increase our empathy toward others and lower our expectations from them. Then, if they are kind, thoughtful, responsible, we will be appreciative, even amazed. If they aren’t so good, we will be better prepared.
If we become more empathic to others’ predicaments, we can set an example that others will pick up, even if not immediately. Thus, we all can help each other make the difficult journey through this difficult world easier, not tougher.
Think it over:
- How can Gita wisdom educate our vision of others?
- How can an educated vision reshape our relationships?
- In your life, how can you be more empathic toward someone annoying?
14.05 Material nature consists of three modes – goodness, passion and ignorance. When the eternal living entity comes in contact with nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, he becomes conditioned by these modes.
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