How to deal with a toxic person (according to Buddhism)

A Buddhist Monk’s Strategy For Dealing With Toxic People And Toxicity In The Work Place

How to deal with a toxic person (according to Buddhism)

As the pressures and the demands of work have increased, so has toxicity in the workplace increased.

We have all worked in environments where we have felt our wellbeing has suffered either through the actions of a colleague, a boss or the general culture of the workplace. Toxic people create toxic work environments where drama, passive-aggressive behaviour, bullying, gossiping, hostility and negativity abounds.

Working in a toxic environment is difficult and stressful and nobody is immune to its effects from the Chief Executive Officer to the receptionist.

Work-related stress accounts for over half of all workplace absences in a year according to data from the Health and Safety Executive. 59% of respondents say they are experiencing some kind of work-related stress.  Higher earners (i.e. those earning more than £40,000) are the most ly to experience work-related stress with a staggering 72% reporting that they are suffering from it.

So although we cannot always avoid toxicity in the workplace, there is always relief in sight if we are able to identify the signs of toxicity and have strategies on hand for dealing with it.

A few years ago I had the privilege of hearing Haemin Sumin, the Buddist Monk and author of “The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down” speak at the BBC Freethinking festival in Gateshead. A lady in the audience asked him about dealing with toxic people and stress at work. His response has helped me cope with many toxic situations.

Haemin Sumin told us to imagine walking in the park and coming across a lovely white adorable puppy. The puppy is so cute that you feel drawn to touching it and even cuddling it.

  You reach out to do just that when the cuddly puppy turns aggressive and starts to bark. The cute puppy is no longer cute. It looks dangerous and frightened you decide it is best not to touch or show it any affection.

You do not want to risk getting bitten.

Just as you walk away, you notice that the puppy was not barking at you.

I was in pain. It had been caught in a trap and had worn itself out when you first saw it lying cutely in the park! It was bleeding and hurt and needed help and rescue.

Would you walk away or would you rescue the puppy?

This was Haemin Sumin analogy for the behaviour of toxic people. He encouraged as to see toxic people as people in pain. Their behaviour and toxicity might not necessarily be directed at you. They may be dealing with challenges and pressures that trigger their toxicity.

Reframing your thinking to see toxicity as pain and learning to respond to toxic people with compassion is a great way of managing toxicity at work.

Reframing toxicity this way helps us to handle toxicity without making it personal. You’ll start to appreciate that toxicity says more about the person being toxic than it says about you.

So if you find your work environment intolerable due to toxic people whether they be colleagues, clients or the general environment, just bear in mind that they may be wounded souls. Empathy and compassion may be the way forward.

Let’s hear from you. How do you manage toxic people and what strategies have you used to cope? Tweet me at @gktogo

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7 Smart Ways to Deal with Toxic People

How to deal with a toxic person (according to Buddhism)

1.  Move on without them.
If you know someone who insists on destructively dictating the emotional atmosphere, then be clear: they are toxic.  If you are suffering because of their attitude, and your compassion, patience, advice, and general attentiveness doesn’t seem to help them, and they don’t seem to care one bit, then ask yourself, “Do I need this person in my life?”

When you delete toxic people from your environment it becomes a lot easier to breathe.  If the circumstances warrant it, leave these people behind and move on when you must.  Seriously, be strong and know when enough is enough!  Letting go of toxic people doesn’t mean you hate them, or that you wish them harm; it simply means you care about your own well-being.

A healthy relationship is reciprocal; it should be give and take, but not in the sense that you’re always giving and they’re always taking.  If you must keep a truly toxic person in your life for whatever reason, then consider the remaining points…

2.  Stop pretending their toxic behavior is OK.
If you’re not careful, toxic people can use their moody behavior to get preferential treatment, because… well… it just seems easier to quiet them down than to listen to their grouchy rhetoric.  Don’t be fooled.

  Short-term ease equals long-term pain for you in a situation this.  Toxic people don’t change if they are being rewarded for not changing.  Decide this minute not to be influenced by their behavior.

  Stop tiptoeing around them or making special pardons for their continued belligerence.

Constant drama and negativity is never worth putting up with.  If someone over the age 21 can’t be a reasonable, reliable adult on a regular basis, it’s time to…

3.  Speak up!
Stand up for yourself.

  Some people will do anything for their own personal gain at the expense of others – cut in line, take money and property, bully and belittle, pass guilt, etc.  Do not accept this behavior.  Most of these people know they’re doing the wrong thing and will back down surprisingly quickly when confronted.

  In most social settings people tend to keep quiet until one person speaks up, so SPEAK UP.

Some toxic people may use anger as a way of influencing you, or they may not respond to you when you’re trying to communicate, or interrupt you and suddenly start speaking negatively about something dear to you.  If ever you dare to speak up and respond adversely to their moody behavior, they may be surprised, or even outraged, that you’ve trespassed onto their behavioral territory.  But you must speak up anyway.

Not mentioning someone’s toxic behavior can become the principal reason for being sucked into their mind games.  Challenging this kind of behavior upfront, on the other hand, will sometimes get them to realize the negative impact of their behavior.  For instance, you might say:

  • “I’ve noticed you seem angry.  Is something upsetting you?”
  • “I think you look bored.  Do you think what I’m saying is unimportant?”
  • “Your attitude is upsetting me right now.  Is this what you want?”

Direct statements these can be disarming if someone truly does use their moody attitude as a means of social manipulation, and these statements can also open a door of opportunity for you to try to help them if they are genuinely facing a serious problem.

Even if they say: “What do you mean?” and deny it, at least you’ve made them aware that their attitude has become a known issue to someone else, rather than just a personal tool they can use to manipulate others whenever they want.  (Read Toxic People.)

And if they persist in denial, it might be time to…

4.  Put your foot down.
Your dignity may be attacked, ravaged and disgracefully mocked, but it can never be taken away unless you willingly surrender it.  It’s all about finding the strength to defend your boundaries.

Demonstrate that you won’t be insulted or belittled.  To be honest, I’ve never had much luck trying to call truly toxic people (the worst of the worst) out when they’ve continuously insulted me.

  The best response I’ve received is a snarky, “I’m sorry you took what I said so personally.”  Much more effective has been ending conversations with sickening sweetness or just plain abruptness.

  The message is clear:  There is no reward for subtle digs and no games will be played at your end.

Truly toxic people will pollute everyone around them, including you if you allow them.  If you’ve tried reasoning with them and they aren’t budging, don’t hesitate to vacate their space and ignore them until they do.

5.  Don’t take their toxic behavior personally.
It’s them, not you.  KNOW this.

Toxic people will ly try to imply that somehow you’ve done something wrong.  And because the “feeling guilty” button is quite large on many of us, even the implication that we might have done something wrong can hurt our confidence and unsettle our resolve.  Don’t let this happen to you.

Remember, there is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.  Most toxic people behave negatively not just to you, but to everyone they interact with.

  Even when the situation seems personal – even if you feel directly insulted – it usually has nothing to do with you.  What they say and do, and the opinions they have, are based entirely on their own self-reflection.

  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

6.  Practice practical compassion.
Sometimes it makes sense to be sympathetic with toxic people whom you know are going through a difficult time, or those who are suffering from an illness.

  There’s no question about it, some toxic people are genuinely distressed, depressed, or even mentally and physically ill, but you still need to separate their legitimate issues from how they behave toward you.

  If you let people get away with anything because they are distressed, facing a medical condition, or depressed, even, then you are making it too tempting for them to start unconsciously using their unfortunate circumstance as a means to an end.

7.  Take time for yourself.
If you are forced to live or work with a toxic person, then make sure you get enough alone time to relax, rest, and recuperate.

  Having to play the role of a “focused, rational adult” in the face of toxic moodiness can be exhausting, and if you’re not careful, the toxicity can infect you.

  Again, understand that even people with legitimate problems and clinical illnesses can still comprehend that you have needs as well, which means you can politely excuse yourself when you need to.

You deserve this time away.  You deserve to think peacefully, free from external pressure and toxic behavior.  No problems to solve, boundaries to uphold, or personalities to please.  Sometimes you need to make time for yourself, away from the busy world you live in that doesn’t make time for you.

Surviving the ups, downs, and lightning storms of other people’s moodiness can be quite a challenge.  It’s important, though, to remember that some moody, negative people may be going through a difficult stage in their lives.

  They may be ill, chronically worried, or lacking what they need in terms of love and emotional support.

  Such people need to be listened to, supported, and cared for (although whatever the cause of their moodiness and negativity, you may still need to protect yourself from their behavior at times).

But there’s another type of moody, negative behavior: that of the toxic bully, who will use his or her mood swings to intimidate and manipulate.  It’s this aspect of moodiness that inflicts enduring abuse and misery.

  If you observe these people closely, you will notice that their attitude is overly self-referential.  Their relationships are prioritized according to how each one can be used to meet their selfish needs.

  This is the kind of toxic behavior I want to look at in this post.

I’m a firm believer that toxic mood swings ( chain letter emails) should not be inflicted on one person by another, under any circumstances.  So how can you best manage the fallout from other people’s relentless toxicity?

By Marc and Angel


To Protect or to Accept: A Buddhist response to Negativity

How to deal with a toxic person (according to Buddhism)

Before I begin, I want to say that I am thinking out loud here, using writing to help me think through a complicated issue. I have been practicing Buddhism, independently, for about 12 months; however, Buddhism is infinitely complex and I am by no means an authority on Buddhist philosophy and practice. Any comment I make here about Buddhism is my own personal understanding.

It would be helpful to give more information about the negativity I have been experiencing, but to do so would be difficult without breaking the confidentiality of those concerned.

Suffice to say, the situation has involved consistently antagonistic, intimidating and aggressive behaviour and communication that is accusatory, blaming, belittling and defensive.

Those concerned refuse to accept responsibility for the behaviour and have been unresponsive to feedback and attempts by others to address the behaviour.

The conflict between protection and acceptance came a conversation I had with a spiritual friend for whom I have a lot of respect and who has also been involved in this negative situation.

She advised me, in relation to some issues we are going through in relation to dealing with very negative people, that I should protect myself from their negativity, perhaps using the popular “White Light” protective meditation, mentally creating a shield of white, protective light around yourself which prevents negative energy touching you.

This led me to reflect on whether seeking to protect myself from this negativity was in fact the wisest response. It is a popular practice in new-age spirituality and one I have used myself in the past.

many in the West, my path to Buddhism came via new-age spirituality which introduced me to meditation and Eastern thought.

However, as my practice and understanding of Buddhism deepens, I have developed some doubts about whether protection is the right way forward.

Buddhism teaches that one of the main paths to spiritual growth and, ultimately awakening or enlightenment, is the acceptance of all things, as they are in this moment.

This means bowing to all that is, cultivating equanimity and the wisdom of acknowledging that, “it is the way it is”. This is opposed to pushing reality away, rejecting reality and wanting things to be different than they are.

The latter is, in our society at least, our normal view, yet it is at the root of so much of our suffering.

This acceptance must apply equally to all phenomena, whether we perceive it as “negative” or “positive.” In fact, negativity can be our greatest teacher. This prayer or affirmation, derived from Buddhism, and part of my daily practice, comes to mind:

“May all circumstances serve to awaken heart and mind, especially those circumstances I deem to be challenging, and may my life be of benefit to all beings.”

We have such a low tolerance for negativity, whether internal or external. Much of our culture is this running away, hiding and avoiding of pain and suffering.

Yet if we were to stay with our experience, in the present moment, whether that experience be what we deem “positive” or “negative”, internal or external, we find a place of deep healing and peace.

By allowing room or space for both joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, we transcend these emotions and connect with our inner peace.

Pema Chodron puts it well, saying “To stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge – that is the path of true awakening.”

These negative circumstances and negative people provide us with a test. Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. It is easy to accept pleasant people and circumstance, but practicing acceptance with regards to people and circumstance that we find difficult or challenging is a true path to spiritual growth and transcending the ego.

Following on from acceptance, another great path to enlightenment and spiritual growth in Buddhism is compassion. Compassion is a path to enlightenment because it helps us come home to the truth that we are not separate from each other, from the absolute or universal consciousness.

We each just want to be happy and free from suffering, in whatever level we understand that. We were each born vulnerable and helpless, we each grow old, experience ill health, experience suffering, loss, separation from those we love and ultimately death. Experiencing directly the pain and suffering of others, as well as the suffering they cause, is a way to deepening our compassion.

We know also that unconscious, “negative” or unskilful behaviour invariably comes a place of hurt, pain and suffering. If someone is making life difficult for people around them, you can be sure they’re doing worse for themselves. Allowing our hearts to be softened and touched by other people’s “negativity” is training in deepening our compassion, as well as our acceptance and equanimity.

Many of us have come, through personal development and spiritual practice, to understand that we must accept our own inner negativity in order to transcend it.

Rather than run from our pain and anger, we must bow to it, sit with it, accept it and observe it as it arises and fall away, all things, subject to the law of impermanence.

Yet many of us, myself so often included, fail to recognise this same wisdom when that negativity comes from “outside”, from “other” people. I so often fall for this fallacy in my dealings with the negativity of others.

However, this dualistic understanding of the world is ignorance, the mistaken identification with an illusory sense of “self” that is somehow separate from everybody and everything else. “We are One” is not just symbolic or metaphorical, it is metaphysical – ultimate truth.

Therefore to differentiate between the pain and anger “inside” and the pain and anger “outside” is a mistaken view. Not to mention the fact that, “with our thoughts, we create our reality.

” It is not the person’s behaviour, per se, that causes our anger or irritation, but our view of their behaviour, our thoughts and perceptions around it.

Given that our own thoughts and beliefs play such a fundamental role in how we interpret and respond to the behaviour in question, the line between where the anger or irritation comes from starts to blur. Is it really “external” at all?

Acceptance doesn’t mean being a door mat – accepting the realities of your life as they are does not mean complete passivity.

You can take whatever action feels authentic and appropriate in order to resolve the situation, but you try to do this from a place of acceptance, with a peaceful mind and with positive, wholesome intentions for the greater good of all concerned.

If anger arises, if the thought “how dare they”, or “they have no right!” arises, it arises ego, that small sense of self. However, if you can see that another’s behaviour is harming themselves, you and everyone involved, providing them with feedback is often the best approach.

Otherwise, they will continue to act unskilfully and harmfully, creating negative Karma, the conditions for future unhappiness and suffering, for themselves and others. The difference between this response and one driven by the ego is often invisible to the outside world, the difference is internal, one of attitude and intention. Then, the hard part – let go, forgive and move on.

 “Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest.” (Sri Chinmoy)

If the negative behaviour continues, we possess the power to respond in a variety of ways. Taking a grievance out against your boss, ending your relationship with your partner – all are feasible options, providing they come from a peaceful, accepting mind.

Ultimately, you have to love yourself enough to, if necessary, walk away from a negative situation or limit the involvement of a negative person in your life, though in some way, by walking away, I’d feel that I’d missed an opportunity to learn something really important about myself and others.

I suppose what I’m supposing, is that using a white-light protection meditation to protect us from other people’s negative energy and only allowing in positivity or “love and light”, is denying the Buddha’s first noble truth — that life, in its current form, living from the ego rather than our true nature, is suffering.

Attempting to protect ourselves from sadness, pain and anger, whether our own or that of others, is what Jack Kornfield calls a form of “neutered” spirituality in which we close ourselves to a large part of our experience.

And by rejecting reality in this way, we close ourselves to the many gateways to awakening that we encounter every day.

Though I fail at compassion and acceptance every day, in many ways, I do find that my daily spiritual practice and meditation makes it easier for me to live and act from a centred, peaceful place.

Loving Kindness (Metta Bhavana) and Tonglen meditations are particularly helpful for cultivating love, compassion, empathy and equanimity towards those people and situations that ‘press our buttons.

’ I find, at this stage of my development, that I can often apply this approach to the small stuff; minor irritation, inconsiderate drivers, etc. But the bigger things can often circumvent my acceptance.

Perhaps one day, after many years (or perhaps lifetimes) of committed practice, I will have raised my consciousness to a level that I am beyond “positive” and “negative” and, by my presence and life, bring peace, love and light to those around me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this protection versus acceptance debate. It’s still something I’m very much thinking my way through!

Wishing you health, peace and happiness,



Dealing with difficult and toxic people

How to deal with a toxic person (according to Buddhism)

Question: Hello! I’m a person who is looking for help and I came over to you! I’m currently in my 8th year of language (I go once every Friday). In this class, I’m face with not the best group of people.

Some talk about me behind my back and some people are merely friend with me because they are competitive with me. These people, I feel , are toxic to each other. I feel heavy in my heart, but I can’t help it.

How do I solve this problem?

I wish I could go to a language class. I have a desire to learn 7 languages, but my mind isn’t the sharpest, so it will have to wait until a future life! Anyway.

Our everyday life, regardless of who we are or where we are at, we will be surrounded by toxic and negative people. Sometimes we have a choice and can control whether or not we can remove ourselves from those situations, other times we have no choice.

In the instances where we don’t have a choice, we at least have options. One option is to worry about the people around us, what they’re saying, who they are, and drown ourselves in the river of worry they cause us.

Another option is simply to accept it and continue with your day, which in my opinion is the easier choice. Why? Because the energy put into worrying about what others think, say or do to us is far more consuming than simply having a “who cares” attitude.

Because the best thing you can do for yourself and for those people is smile and treat them with kindness and compassion. The more you are obviously consumed with their actions and they know it, the more they will continue doing what they are doing, because it’s probably entertaining for them.

But if they see and know that you know what they’re saying and doing, and still treating them with kindness, then the irritation that you had no longer entertains them and they will eventually get bored and move on.

We can’t fight anger with anger (or any negativity with negativity) because it will just attract more anger and negativity. Only love and compassion can win, because those are stronger and more natural feelings. Someone calling you names do not make you those things.

Their words are not magical spells they can cast on you and turn you into what they say. The only people that can control what you hear, say or do is yourself. If you hear someone talking about you behind your back, the only way that it can affect you is if YOU allow it to.

If you believe what they say, is it their fault because they said it, or your fault because you believed it? The famous quote “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” is very true.

People can call you names and throw the dirtiest and biggest words at you, but if you love yourself and know they can’t control you, then you are the strongest shield against their weapons.

You were born a fortunate human being, the most precious of worldly gifts. Do not tarnish your beauty with people’s negativity. Show them and teach them their worth too.

Smile and be well!


The Four Elements of True Love According to Buddha

How to deal with a toxic person (according to Buddhism)

In the Buddhist faith, there are four elements of love that make it ‘true’ love. These elements must combine to make love true and long-lasting.

They are not magical or even spiritual concepts, they are simply behaviors and virtues that we must hold in order to make love strong.

These four elements of love are easy to grasp, but they make a relationship much more joyful and fulfilling.

1. Maitri

Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth. – Buddha

Maitri is translated into kindness or benevolence. This is not only the desire to make someone happy but the ability to do so. You may have every intention to love someone, but the way that you love may make them unhappy.

You can harness the ability of Maitri by truly looking at the one you love and developing a deeper understanding of who they are as a person. By understanding the person you love, you will, in turn, learn how to love them. This understanding is the ambitions, the desires and the troubles of your love.

By understanding the person you love, you will, in turn, learn how to love them.

Develop this element:

Take time to be attentive and observe your love. Listen to their words and ask them about their hopes and ambitions. Learning more about your love helps to open the door to understanding them, and how to love them in a meaningful and fulfilling way.

2. Karuna

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change. – Buddha

The second element of true love is Karuna, meaning compassion. This is the ability to ease the pain of others, as well as the desire to. This is also understanding, but the understanding of the suffering of your love. Only when you truly understand their suffering will you be able to help in alleviating and easing their burdens.

Practice meditation to help you in your understanding of your loved one, what distresses them and how you may be able to help and support them.

Develop this element:

Communicate with your loved one about what troubles them and ask if there is anything that you can do that will help in a direct way. Opening this communication, developing an understanding and the desire to help will strengthen your relationship.

3. Mudita

There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path. – Buddha

Only when you understand your love’s suffering will you be able to alleviate it.

The third element is Mudita, translated as joy or happiness. This element of true love is one of the most important, and in some ways, it ties all four elements together.

If there is no joy or happiness in love, then the love is not true. If your love upsets you or distresses you, then it is, in fact, not love to begin with, or the love has been lost.

Love must be fulfilling and bring joy and happiness to those who feel it.

When we are in love and we experience joy from it, our love grows stronger, and this is a sign that the love is true. Once there is no joy or happiness in love, then there is no longer any love.

Develop this element:

Take time to do the things that bring you joy, both together and as individuals. It is this development of joy in yourself that allows you to share your joy with your love. You should be able to find joy within yourselves, as well as with each other, to have love in its truest form.

4. Upeksha

The price of freedom is simply choosing to be. – Buddha

The final one of the four elements of love is Upeksha, meaning freedom. When love is true, both people within the couple should have freedom, and feel free within the relationship. Each person should feel free to be an individual to allow them to grow and develop in their own way.

This allows you to be yourself and have time alone, safe in the knowledge that your love is doing the same. There should also be freedom within the relationship, being able to feel comfortable to share ideas and thoughts without fear of judgment.

Having freedom whilst also being able to be a part of a couple is a sign of the truest love.

If there is no joy or happiness in love, then the love is not true.

Develop this element:

Spend time apart from your partner without feeling the need to check up on one another. Do the things that you enjoy as an individual and are proud of. Once you come back together, discuss these things and why they make you happy.

Spend some time talking about different thoughts and ideas you have had. Act on these ideas and plan activities that one person wants to do. Developing a sense of freedom within your relationship allows both people to grow.

The Buddha spoke of many things, but love and life were of huge focus. His teachings on love show us that true love should be something positive and enlightening, bringing joy and freedom to our lives. Keeping these four elements of love in mind may just make it a little easier to find true love for ourselves.

Love is a gift of one’s inner most soul to another so both can be whole. – Buddha

The post The four elements of true love according to the Buddha was written by Francesca F and originally published on


Removing Negative Energy in Your Life

How to deal with a toxic person (according to Buddhism)

Life is energy and everywhere we go there is energy. Buddha himself tells us that we possess within us the same energy that created the stars in the sky as well as the soil of the earth.

But energy can either be good or bad; positive or negative. Negative energy normally stems from evil thoughts, bad acts and chaos.

Positive energy on the other hand flows from love, kindness, selflessness, compassion and peace.

But how do we attract more good energy over bad energy. How do we cleanse ourselves of negative energy?

Attracting Positive Energy

In Buddhism, the Buddha often talks about suffering and how it affects our life, our death and reincarnation. He says that everything around us, even the pleasure in life bring about suffering. Suffering is the key note of negative energy.

When we have positive energy, we wake up happy and refreshed in the morning. We face life’s challenges with not only a smile but also acceptance. This allows us to be kind and just towards others.

Positivity begins with you. Positivity begins with choosing it. It starts from choosing virtue over desire and pleasures.

Banishing Negative Energy

Negative energy makes it difficult to be happy and positive. It sucks the energy you. It makes you feel angry or stressed or confused. But it can be banished. Negative energy can be removed.

To remove negative energy, one must first cleanse one’s life. A clean life helps you move through life more pleasantly.

1. Get rid of negative people

Negative people causes you to feel negative emotions. They can make you lose your temper or make you angry. Of course you must control your anger, but if this person does not help you to your path to enlightenment, free yourself from him or her.

If your relationship is too toxic, be it a friend, a wife, husband, relative or any person who turns your days sour, you have the option of leaving. You need not stay in a relationship that causes you to be hateful of others. If a person causes you to gossip, do ill things or feel always angry, then you must leave

2. Get rid of clutter

Have you ever heard about Zen+Minimalism. Many people are adapting a Zen approach in their houses and reducing the number of things they own.

Humans crave owning things. We feel happy when we have something new. But wanting new things never stops. The new becomes old and then we realize that our house is full of knickknacks that we don’t actually need.

By reducing the clutter in your house you allow more “chi” or life force to flow with in you space. The empty spaces give you a calming feeling. Ir allows you to feel relaxed and satisfied.

3. Eat clean

A lot of times our body feels sick and weak because of what we eat. We put junk into our bodies and hence we feel trash. If you start eating clean, you will notice how wonderful you will feel. You will be free from sicknesses, get into an ideal weight, have more energy and be able to fight stress more.

4. Do not obsess about money

Money is a number and number never end. Buddha himself forsake money because he knew that obsessing about money will take away his freedom. Work well but do not over do it. Spend money on your needs and you will never have too little. Learn how to save and balance your finances.

5. Try to live a simple life

Being able to live a simple life can help reduce negativity. If you live within your means then you can spend time doing other things as well.

6. Do not forget to meditate

Meditation helps improve your overall outlook in life. Try mantras and affirmations that call out positive vibes into your psyche. Remember that you can always meditte even for a few minutes to calm your senses and invite the positive energy with in.

7. Be compassionate

Compassion is the best way to invite positive energy. Kindness always is a pleasant energy that goes to both the recipient and the giver of kindness. Help others free themselves from afflictions and pain. Give food to the poor. Help an elderly. Feed stray animals. Give alms. You can always share what you have.

8. Avoid anger

Learning to master your emotions and thoughts can help you become more positive. Remove angry thoughts from your heart and live by kindness. Do not judge others. Avoid raising your voice. Speak with humility and positivity.

9. Follow the teachings of the Buddha

Keep the Four Noble Truths in your heart. Everyday follow the Eightfold path. Always seek Enlightenment.

Buddhism teaches many practical ways in order to live a life of virtue. A life of virtue helps us avoid conflict and anger. It teaches us that we can remove negativity and even spread positivity.

Read more on how to find the path to happiness by being compassionate.

The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path

Buddhist Sacred Texts


Dealing with Difficult People: 5 Effective, Compassionate Practices

How to deal with a toxic person (according to Buddhism)

“Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.” ~Eckhart Tolle

It’s morning; you’re in a great mood. You’re relaxed and have plenty of time to practice your morning routine. After a delicious breakfast, you head out to start your day. Then it happens: You encounter a difficult person, and your calm turns to calamity.

We all have encounters with people who prefer to stay miserable, making everything difficult. They exist, and perhaps there was a time in your past when you once where one of those negative people. Perhaps you still can be at times.

As a former miserable person, I know it was my inability to handle my mental and emotional states that kept me oozing all over others. I felt so disconnected from life, living obsessively in my mind, that I truly felt helpless.

Most often that helplessness manifested into continuous critiquing, judging, anger, and sometimes even pure rage. I was unwilling to take full responsibility for my relationship to life. I wanted peace, joy, and harmony, but I was unwilling to do the necessary work to experience them.

Difficult people are demanding. They demand something from the external world in hopes of filling the disconnection and restlessness they feel within. Whether they are demanding our attention, a certain action or reaction, or a particular outcome, the root of their behavior is a demand for something other than what is.

Difficult people haven’t yet learned to take responsibility for their whole selves—mind, body, and spirit. Feeling disconnected and restless gives rise to their need to argue, judge, critique, and tweak everyone around them.

Their inability to handle themselves adds fuel to the fire, which perpetuates their harshness.

Underneath their personality is a feeling of being separate and a desperate plea for help.

We can’t change another and we can’t make someone want to change. The only way we can help is by being true to our self, finding our power within, and being an example of wholeness.

Here are a few practices I’ve found useful, loving, and extremely effective.

1. Be still and ground yourself

Naturally, when we are confronted with a rude, irritable, or irate person, we tend to avoid them. We think that if we avoid them they will go away, or at least we hope they will. The truth is that, although this may happen, it is much more ly that they won’t until we learn an alternate way of dealing with them.

Negative energy has a force and it can knock us on our butt, usually in the form of us engaging in toxic behavior. If we are not grounded, we may find ourselves arguing, judging, or stomping the room.

Making sure we are firmly planted in our body enables us to look the person in the eye and be completely present. It gives us the opportunity to remain calm and pause rather than engage in behavior we may later regret.

2. Look them directly in the eyes

Darkness, negativity, can’t stand light, so it can’t remain in the light. Looking someone directly in his or her eyes dispels darkness. Your light pierces through the superficial persona to their being.

When I practice this tool one of two things always happens:

  • The person walks away or stops talking.
  • The conversation takes a more positive direction.

We all want to be seen, from the cashier at Target to our spouse. Taking the time to look at someone offers them the greatest gift we have to offer: connection.

Try it as an experiment and see what happens.

3. Listen to understand

I find that whenever a difficult person confronts me, I automatically tense up and mentally consider my defense. When I am calm and open-minded, I know that I never have to defend myself, ever.

The most effective way to diffuse a difficult person is to truly listen to what they are trying to say, which means keeping my mouth closed and hearing them all the way through.

Whether or not I agree with them is irrelevant, and I certainly don’t need to let them know what I think. I can listen and get back to them if necessary such as with a spouse, co-worker or friend.

I find the following responses to be most effective:

“Let me get back to you on that.”

“You could be right.”

When a person is being difficult, it is because they are responding to their perceived reality rather than what is going on in the moment. Often times their frustration has very little to do with us.

I find when someone’s reaction seems over the top for the situation that repeating the same response diffuses the situation.

4. Learn when to be silent

Some people are extremely closed-minded and impossible to talk to, but we need to speak to them. When I find myself in a situation with someone who just can’t hear me in the moment, I don’t force the issue. Trying to get my point across to someone that can’t hear me only escalates the situation. Sometimes the clearest form of communication is silence.

At a later time I can revisit the conversation with the person and communicate what needs to be said. Regardless of the person’s response, I can share my feelings and thoughts and let go of the outcome. Focusing on them responding a certain way only results in two difficult people unable to accept what is.

5. Be honest with yourself

If we are repeatedly in a situation with someone who is abusive verbally, physically, and/or emotionally, we must stop trying to change him or her. If we find we are practicing a spiritual way of life and someone close to us isn’t changing, it may be time to get honest with our self and find out what is really going on.

The question of whether or not to end a relationship with a difficult person, whether a friendship, work or romantic relationship, can only come from within you.

If you can honestly say you have done what you know to do, have asked for help from a friend or professionally and nothing is changing, then its time to go within for the answer and trust what you find.

On the other side of a difficult person is an opportunity to grow.

No matter what we are presented with in life, we have an opportunity to choose more or less responsibility. Remembering that true responsibility is our ability to respond in the moment.

Of course, this takes practice and is not easy. However, as we take more and more responsibility for our life, circumstances and people lose their power over us. We learn to choose our responses moment by moment, no longer being dragged around by emotions, thoughts, or circumstances created by another or our self.

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