Must I Love an Unpleasant Relative?


Is it necessary to love that person in family whom I don’t like cause of her rudeness or respecting her and clear heart is enough for spiritual growth?

—Priyanka, India


Dear Priyanka,

Sooner or later in our spiritual lives, we will become able to love everyone. That is a place of great happiness and inner peace. It is where the saints live, and it is in part by striving to get to that place that they became saints.

But what can you do until you get to that place within you? If you are unable to love her, and cannot escape her, try at least not to allow her to disrupt your inner peace. Try not to allow her behavior to cause a negative emotional reaction within you. I’ve often observed that people who behave badly do so because they are in pain. Try to practice compassion for her, because she is in pain.

One thing that can help is to consciously send her positive thoughts, whether you are in her presence or not. Along these lines, many people are finding great help in the Peace and Harmony Prayer of Paramhansa Yogananda. I encourage you to practice it regularly and see what happens.

All the best to you.