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Working with Difficult Relationships

working with difficult relationships
Episode No. 174

Shambhavi lays out three styles of difficult relationships, including relationships in spiritual communities, and how to work with them. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

So the question’s been raised, what do we do with difficult people who don’t seem to have as much insight as we do? Or as open a heart, or as much understanding of how to be the best human being? I’m paraphrasing what someone asked me. Well, if you always think that about everybody, you should look up megalomania in the dictionary! If you’re constantly disappointed in everyone, then I think—look to thyself.

But, of course, we do meet an infinite variety of people, and everyone is in a different condition. Some of us are more openhearted, have more insight, or are able to be more generous, compassionate, or actually genuinely interested in other people. And so we encounter other people who don’t have the same degree of openness that we do. That happens too.

I think in general there are three different genres of this experience. I’m talking about when we’re having trouble with someone, or when we think something is difficult. When we ask the question—what should I do about this relationship? I’m not talking about just random encounters.

So one situation is where we have some attachment to someone that’s based on our own karma, our own limitation, our own fixation. And even though that friendship—or whatever it is—isn’t working, we refuse to walk away for some period of time. So then we refuse to walk away. And we’re not happy. And we’re not taking responsibility for the fact that we refuse to walk away from a relationship that isn’t really nourishing. Then we start blaming the other person or we start trying to fix the other person to make it convenient for us to stick around.