Dealing with Challenging People



I am generally patient and respectful with people around me, and am considered to be calm and polite. However, at times we come across people who are excessively rude and harsh, and behave like a dangerous explosive as soon as we come into contact with them, for no reason. Such people are very, very difficult to handle. It can be anyone; the local grocer, a bus conductor, an auto driver, or some acquaintance. How do we handle such people? I often lose my temper with them and have a big time clash.

—Sangita, India


Dear Sangita,

Here is something that can be very helpful when you are dealing with tensions involving other people:

Step back mentally from the situation or the person that is causing you stress; curb your instinct to react immediately.

Breathe Use abdominal (belly) breathing; deep breathing naturally relaxes the body. For deep breathing — be sure to inhale and exhale only through the nose. Let the abdomen expand outward with your inhalation and release back in with your exhalation.

Reflect on what’s trying to happen in the situation. Try to perceive the situation as if you were the director of this movie; how would you like it to end?

Choose your response. Let your response be thoughtful and conscious; avoid reacting which tends to be automatic and unconscious.

If you train yourself to follow these steps, you’ll find that you can handle the stress that comes from dealing with challenging people.

Blessings on your spiritual journey,

Nayaswami Pranaba