Editor’s Note: This post responds to a request from a reader who asked me to write about how to feel compassion towards someone you dislike, especially when the person is very present in your life.
Sometimes, you can avoid people you dislike. But, many times they move into your life, your home, your circle, or your work and refuse to depart. It might be a difficult housemate, a trying ex, an impossible boss, or just about anyone.
What do you do then?
You could cave into the constant internal torment that comes from frustration, impatience, jealousy, anger, or righteousness – to name just a few possible emotional whirlwinds. You could allow these emotions to build up and then spontaneously pour out as heated words and unkind behaviors, confounding the situation even more. You could immerse yourself in feeling victimized or out-of-control for hours or days at a time.
If you’ve been there and done this – and most of us have – you know it’s excruciatingly unpleasant. There’s no winning ever.
The Better Option When It Comes To Dislike
The better option – for you and or the other person too – is to use the situation as an opportunity to cultivate compassion.