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How to Deal With People Who Frustrate You

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Deep down I knew better, but I couldn’t stop myself.

An opinionated Twitter acquaintance of mine had tweeted a snarky comment that dismissed all forms of self-improvement as new age feel-good fluff. It was such a sweeping, cynical remark that I felt I had to set him straight.

So I hammered out a sharp rebuttal, and felt a little better, but there was still uneasiness. He would surely come up with a counter-attack on what I said, and it would go back and forth until one of us let the other have the last word.

After a few minutes, I got the lesson he was trying to teach me: to let go of my need to be right all the time. I deleted the tweet and he never saw it.

A few years ago I learned an ingenious method for dealing with other people when they’re doing things you wish they wouldn’t do. It’s adapted from a technique by the late author Richard Carlson. It’s easy and works exceedingly well.

You go about your day as normal, but you imagine one difference:

Everyone is enlightened but you.

That includes:

  • The impatient, tailgating driver behind you
  • The intern at work who drinks all the coffee and never puts on a new pot
  • The friend who knows he owes you ten bucks but is waiting until you ask him for it
  • The guy who keeps clicking his pen during the meeting
  • The “greeter” at Wal-Mart who tapes your bag shut every time even though you’re a loyal customer who’s never stolen anything in your life
  • Whoever tagged your garage door last night
  • Your kind old Aunt Sally, who keeps on talking after you’ve said you really need to get going

Imagine all the people in your world are completely enlightened and aware of what they’re doing to you, and they’re doing it only to teach you something valuable. Your task is to figure out what.

A true master won’t simply tell you what he thinks you should know. He’s too wise to say, “Always be patient,” and expect that it will make you a patient person. Instead, he’ll create a lesson that challenges you. He will push a button of yours, and see if you know what to do.

If you knew you were being tested on purpose, what would you do?

When your friend was supposed to be here fifteen minutes ago and is nowhere to be seen, what is he trying to teach you? To be patient? To avoid assumptions? Unconditional love, maybe.

This is a very empowering way to field whatever  life tosses at you. It works so well because your mentality changes from that of the know-it-all, the teacher of proper behavior, to that of the student.

If you insist that you already know the sole cause of your frustration to be that other person and their bad driving or selfish attitude, then a) you’ll continue to be frustrated at the whim of others, and b) it won’t turn out any better for you next time. To habitually regard yourself, like many do, as the knower — the wiser one — in each of these run-ins is to cling to an unenforceable rule that states, “Other people must always behave in ways that make sense to me and are sympathetic to my needs.”

By responding to the behavior of others with the mindset of a student instead of a teacher, you develop a habit of self-inquiry that gradually replaces the habit of condemning others for being less considerate or less refined or less aware than you. You’ll learn to look for the smart move instead of the first one comes to you, and you’ll be building a mental toolkit that can handle just about anything.

The Most Powerful Skills of All

When my enlightened Twitter-mate made his apparently cynical comment, he was presenting me with a precious lesson. I immediately felt a powerful urge to set him straight — a really strong need to make him understand me. At first I took the bait, but after a few minutes I did grasp what he was trying to teach me: Let others be “right.” Cease to cherish opinions.

If you’re somewhat familiar with any spiritual teachings — from the Bible to the Tao Te Ching to The Four Agreements — your new lesson may trigger your memory of a quote or passage that illustrates it, and that passage will then take on a deeper meaning for you. Cease to cherish opinions. Let the baby have his bottle. Love your enemies. You might already “know” them all, but perhaps you’ve never consciously experienced each of them as a lesson in action. Well now you can, and you have brilliant teachers everywhere you look.

The skills your enlightened masters teach are the most powerful and widely-applicable skills you can learn: patience, self-questioning, open-mindedness, forgiveness, gratitude, humility, letting go, and love. If you make a habit of seeing everyone else as enlightened, you will be strengthening each of these potent skills every single day.

Honing these skills will boost your quality of life more quickly than anything else you can possibly do. They’ll create better outcomes at every juncture. Each improvement compounds all the others, for the rest of your life. If you can learn to deal painlessly with critical colleagues after just a few pointed lessons, you are saving yourself untold frustration over the next five, ten or fifty years. The return on investment is astronomical.

Once you figure out what the current lesson is, it’s hard to stay annoyed at its teacher, because you’ll know that only you can drop the ball, by rejecting the lesson. Only you can make you frustrated. And how could you stay angry at one of your enlightened masters for administering such a brilliant lesson?

Only when you convince yourself that you know more than your teacher can you fail to learn.

You’re Headed There Anyway

After a while, you’ll notice that the lessons you encounter will cater to your weak areas with such uncanny perfection, you may begin to suspect that your pathetic co-worker and the perfume-soaked lady on the train really are enlightened. Each lesson will offer you exactly what you need to overcome the trouble it causes you, but only if you are looking for it.

This hints at a powerful idea, which has been suggested by Eckhart Tolle, don Miguel Ruiz, and other spiritual teachers: no matter who you are, the universe is conspiring to enlighten you.

Just as the stones in every fast moving stream will eventually become smooth, rounded discs from years of friction and tiny collisions, it seems we human beings are destined to outgrow our suffering simply because we are constantly running afoul of it. Over time, we can’t help but learn to get better at dealing with what ails us. So each time we butt heads with life — whether it’s in the form of a belligerent customer or a dishonest mechanic — we get a chance to learn something of immeasurable importance.

For many people, this learning takes place only by accident. Over many years, life’s inevitable bumps and bruises gradually clue them in on what works and what doesn’t. It can take most of a lifetime to make a noticeable difference in quality of life, because they don’t see themselves as students. They just want to school everyone else. And that’s an order much too tall for any lifetime.

If you graciously accept the role of student and open yourself up to the wisdom of the enlightened individuals all around you, you’ll be miles ahead of the curve, and your wisdom will be no accident.


Photo by BarelyFitz

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Ken July 19, 2010 at 4:56 am

This reminded me of this quote (don’t know who it’s exactly by): “How does one know one is enlightened? Its very easy. When one feels one is a first class fool, one is enlightened. When one feels one is first class enlightened, that is otherwise.” Once we think we’re right, we stop learning.

Jay Schryer July 19, 2010 at 6:19 am

Somebody once told me:

“Never ask God for strength, because He’ll give you plenty of opportunities to grow stronger. Never ask God for patience, because He’ll give you plenty of chances to wait. Never ask god for courage, because He’ll put you in situations that require you to be brave.”

Anything that we might learn in our personal development – strength, courage, wisdom, patience – can be exercised like a physical muscle. The more times we use it, the stronger it becomes.

So, if we tell the Universe “I’d like to be more loving”, then we are given plenty of opportunities to love people. It might not sound all that bad until you realize that it’s damn difficult to love people sometimes.

It’s easy to love people who are nice, kind, and friendly towards us, but that’s light-weight. You don’t grow stronger in love by loving the easy people. You grow stronger in love by loving people who are hard to love. Bullies, arrogant jerks, people who cut you off in traffic, the heartless bitch/unimaginable asshole in high school who completely shattered your heart…loving *those* people helps you become more loving. Then you expand upon that, and you grow to love murderers, rapists, child molesters, Hitler, etc. You don’t love the behavior, but you love and feel compassion for the person.

Everything we might learn in life is learned best by practice. So whenever someone annoys you, just remember that it’s the Universe giving you a chance to practice and exercise whatever “muscle” you need to work on.

Lisis July 19, 2010 at 6:55 am

Jay, I’ve been praying for an opportunity to learn how to manage an excess of cash… but that hasn’t been answered yet. ;)

David… what can I say? Spot on. Wonderful way to start my day.

Jay Schryer July 19, 2010 at 11:06 am

So how come David gets comments by you, but *I* don’t? Why do you love David more than me?!? :D

Dusty July 19, 2010 at 11:22 am

Just wait – it’ll be someone else’s cash you have to manage. ;)

Lisis July 19, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Dusty, that would suck even MORE! ;)

Jay, my comment was actually to YOU, didn’t you notice? Even on someone else’s post, I’m replying to YOU! What more do you want??!?!

David July 19, 2010 at 4:48 pm

You and I think alike Jay. Loving isn’t always easy, but our work is cut out for us. :)

satya October 30, 2012 at 1:20 am

super boss

Islanders August 28, 2013 at 1:04 am

Jay, thank you for your words of encouragement. I got into an argument with our janitor and has been thinking most of the day what should I do . . . whether to get even with her or do good unto her. The bible teaches us to do good to those who do evil to us . . . oh how hard and help me Lord. Maybe I just need to find out from her if she has any problems with me.

Sasa July 19, 2010 at 7:57 am

This is really a great practice for me; being a teacher (and generally an impatient git probably ;P) I tend to like to teach people who annoy me a lesson, even if it’s just in my head but it’s not doing anything good for me. I’m going to try this right away, thanks for explaining the practice and the probable outcome so succinctly.

David July 19, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Yeah I have to fight the impulse to be the “knower” too. But I know that whenever someone says something like, “I oughtta teach him a lesson,” nobody learns a thing. :)

Anthony Morris July 19, 2010 at 9:28 am

David, thank you so much for sharing this! I feel as with each new post I read from you, I grow in the right direction. This is something I’m going to beging to apply as soon as my next lesson arises. I’m excited to be a student of the Universe as I’m constantly looking for knowledge.

I’m glad there are enlightened ones all around me just waiting to throw a lesson my way!

Izzen July 19, 2010 at 11:02 am

But what about the people who are consciously out to hurt you, or take advantage of you? I don’t find enemies in strangers as often as I find them in my own living room… I can’t seem to escape them.

Or maybe it is just me.

This was a good post; it kind of blows my way of dealing with frustrating people out of the water, though. I usually just remind myself not to let their behavior affect who I am, and how I want to act and to see myself… As you can see, that’s not working so well.


David July 19, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I suspect nobody is consciously out to hurt you. People hurt others when they are acting unconsciously, trying to acquire the security or power they feel like they need to be okay.

Keep looking for something that works. Maybe it’s this technique, maybe it isn’t.

Abby January 27, 2011 at 2:40 pm

David, there are a LOT of people who are consciously out to hurt others. Some people derive pleasure from inflicting harm upon others.

There are massive amounts of child abuse, rape, and other pre-meditated violent crimes. In every case, people are deciding that their desire to hurt the other person outweighs the other person’s right not to be hurt.

Even if you just look at a subsample of people with impulse control problems, when they fly off the handle and hurt someone else again and again and again, they are consciously choosing to continue putting themselves in a position where their lack of control will lead to them hurting the other person, with absolute certainty.

It must be wonderful to have experienced a life so privileged that you are completely naive about the very real and staggering amounts of abuse that purposefully and consciously occur the world over on a daily basis.

David January 27, 2011 at 4:23 pm

I wouldn’t call that conscious behavior. Do you really think I’m oblivious to the amount of suffering that exists in the world?

In every case, people are deciding that their desire to hurt the other person outweighs the other person’s right not to be hurt.

That’s a tempting assumption to make, but human behavior doesn’t work this way. Not everything we do comes from conscious deliberation. In fact very little does, even for those of us who don’t act out violently.

There is no empathy or comprehension of the other person’s rights when someone does something abusive. They are thinking only in very primal terms of what they want to feel, and they engage in most immediate way to achieve that without deliberation. If I get mad and punch a wall, it’s not because I sat down and decided the wall deserves to be punched and I care more about my desire to punch it than about the wall’s right to be an intact wall. I do it because for the moment I’ve lost my fucking mind, and with it any real sense of the consequences of my actions for myself or other people. This is where abuse and violence comes from: unconsciousness, not evil, and we would do a better job of preventing it if we understood that.

I’m not looking to excuse destructive behavior, only explain it. But given the angry tone you’ve taken here I don’t think you’d really listen to anything else I have to say about it anyway.

Anthony Morris July 19, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Sorry for posting again, I wanted to share a poem that David inspired me to write with this article.

Fill me up enlightened one
for many lessons you do teach
Developing the soul within my body
destroying negativities within my mind
Quench the thirst for thy knowledge
of humanity and happiness
Student I am, always
to each person I do meet
Each lesson presented anew
tested by our beautiful Universe
Never could I find a better teacher
than I’ve already found in you
My strength comes from the trials
both failed and passed
I will continue to build upon my foundations
as long as the tests of life continue too.

David July 19, 2010 at 4:58 pm

The tests will definitely continue!

Trish Scott July 19, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Brilliant! I always say we are here to save each other but that is so nebulous… You have here an actual formula that can’t help but put us all on the right track :). Bravo!

Brenda (betaphi) July 19, 2010 at 5:22 pm

“Only you can make you frustrated.”

This is frustrating. I’ve been contending with this notion for years and still don’t fully get it, not because you haven’t explained it well here but because it just doesn’t feel axiomatic. I mean, aren’t there occasions where one should stand up to an aggressor/oppressor and say or do something back? I get the idea in theory but in practice it seems to fall short of ideal. I think suffering can be avoided but I’m not sure pain can.

I generally use the delete button to deal with frustrators. It may shrink my friends count in more ways than one but that may be okay too. How many friends do you really need?

Pretending that the monster who raped my child or killed my spouse is an enlightened master. . .who can do that?

Always being the student and never the teacher doesn’t sound right either. We need great teachers and judges and parents.

Sorry to sound frustrated, but I have trouble with pretty little idealized pictures of how to deal with life’s complexities. I’ll keep your ideas in mind though. There is benefit in being studious.

I worked with a woman once who was in and out of the building a lot. Each time she returned her perfume smelled stronger than before. She used it to hide the smell of cigarette smoke. Her perfume made my head hurt. The lesson I learned from her was that I was in the wrong place. It’s hard to think of a “true master” as someone whose perfume makes your head hurt, but you could be right.

David July 19, 2010 at 8:10 pm

These are good points Brenda.

I get the idea in theory but in practice it seems to fall short of ideal. I think suffering can be avoided but I’m not sure pain can.

“Only you can make you frustrated” is another way of saying “frustration is a reaction of yours, it isn’t something people do to you.” This doesn’t mean you can necessarily turn it off — we’re all subject to really powerful compulsions and we may never get over some of them. Saying something back to an aggressor might be useful sometimes, but it doesn’t need to come from frustration. Frustration is unconscious behavior. By the time it is happening, you are no longer in control; your conditioning is just acting itself out. Adopting the mindset of a student does not mean you can always avoid this reaction, but it does mean you understand that it is a reaction on your side, and that you can take responsibility for it. Most people place responsibility for their frustrated reactions on other people (who will certainly never accept it) and so they can never get better at taming them.

I’m really talking about day to day frustrations here, not so much coming to terms with heinous criminals and predators. I think “frustrating” is much too mild a word for losing family members or grieving from violent crimes. Most of our friction with other human beings is on the “who left the ice cube tray empty” level.

That’s not to say a lesson or a test is a bad way to regard something of that magnitude, but I understand how unpalatable it might be to look at the most hated people in your life as enlightened. The purpose is not to exalt them but to take responsibility for your response and its effect on your quality of life.

I am a big fan of the delete-button approach in many cases, but it isn’t always a practical thing to do. One of the things I’ve learned from this method is that “deleting” troublesome relationships is sometimes a smart way to deal with them.

As for the perfume lady, I wouldn’t worry so much about trying to picture these same people meditating on mountaintops as I would discerning what you can learn from them.

Sw January 21, 2014 at 9:32 pm

This is a very helpful site…thanks everybody!!!

Sometimes I find I don’t know exactly what it is about my frustrations that I need to see or understand in order to deal with a situation. I often feel myself growing more frustrated, but do what I can to hide it.

There is a woman who is by no means the most badly behaved person I have run into, but annoys the hell out of me! I try to see the good in her, but I always seem to grow frustrated with her, but bottle it up so it isn’t obvious to anyone but myself…probably not too healthy!!

This is my own opinion, I know, but I feel she talks nonstop, is materialistic and impulsive, and basically only seems to talk about her own problems constantly. I guess you could call it self centered and at times pushy…

I find I become quiet around her because I don’t want to fight to be heard, and even when I do attempt to speak, I never get the impression she even registered because she goes on talking about something else…She’s so different and I really don’t know how to respond most of time…She is probably a great person in a lot of ways…I guess she must be my guru! But what kind of guru is she?

If I think about my expectations in this situations, I am often wishing she was more aware of other people, and not so self interested…and I also find it would be nice to have a conversation that doesn’t involve her and her problems!!! I guess I’m supposed to learn not to expect this from all people???

Its hard to see the message sometimes…especially if your frustrated!!! Arrrrrrgggh! Thanks for letting me vent, cyberspace is so wonderful! :-)

David Cain January 22, 2014 at 8:39 am

It is possible she will never change. In my experience you can’t really change people. But some people make me grateful that I am me and not them.

If you do want to say something to her about this behavior, you should read the book Non-Violent Communication, by Marshall Rosenberg. It is by far the best way to talk to someone without making them feel defensive

zehra August 29, 2012 at 5:11 am

Hi Brenda… I believe we limit our reaction by accepting, receving, staying passive. Actually nobody says what the lesson is to be. Maybe, sometimes, we should learn to stand against and finally say “No!” in most useful way. When you understand that you are being encouraged to explore more of you, then you may raise your voice and have a fight without even feeling angry. One direction behaviour is not what is really supported here, I believe.

gustavo July 19, 2010 at 7:43 pm

It makes sense.
It sounds a little bit difficult to apply, though.
It needs a lot of minute-by-minute awareness.

Dave July 20, 2010 at 4:00 am

Thanks for a such a well-made point
Reminds me of this quote from Carl Jung:

Everything that irritates us about others
can lead us to an understanding of ourselves

ps. my four year old son is particularly ‘enlightened’ at the moment, he loves banging away on the electronic piano at full volume.. ;)

David July 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Ah I love that one. Thanks Dave. I need to read some Jung.

Good luck with your buddha-son ;)

Daniel July 20, 2010 at 10:40 am

David, thanks for another great post. This was spot on. I’ve been feeling really self-righteous lately, like I’m the only one of my friends trying to get better. And I’ve been frustrated and I’m sure they all hate it. This was exactly what I needed. Thank you.

tanushri July 20, 2010 at 12:39 pm

thanks, i really needed to read this, especially today :)

kelly July 20, 2010 at 1:12 pm

This was amazing, thank you so much. Very well written!

Eric | Eden Journal July 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm

“Everyone is enlightened but you” is a concept I had not heard before. I really like it. I’ve been taking the approach lately that everyone is doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing, but it never occured that some of what they are supposed to be doing is providing an educational moment for me. I like the extension to my current philosophy, it’s one I’ll try out right away.

Joy July 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Hi David,
I like this post…
I have a bit of a different approach..I choose where I invest energy..no one is out to “frustrate me” or purposely do anything to *me*..and yes, I’ve had people who are manipulators in my inner circle, but it is their way..it is not *me* personally..so I choose not to invest energy in it..
My solution is that simple.. I treat everyone as I wish to be treated, kindly, and I immediately withdraw energy from those who are less than peace filled..while I focus on peace filled..I cannot “control” external, but I can control my response to it..I am not going to allow others to give me an ulcer or stress related whatever..If someone cuts me off, they are in a hurry, so I send Light they get to their destination..if someone tells me off in a parking lot (because it’s happened) I explain I choose not to invest energy in it and walk away and I send Light for their healing..
Sounds pollyanna, but it’s how I roll:) And yes, my young daughter is spirited and these “guidelines” apply to our interactions as well..you want to have a tantrum, go ahead, when you are calm (I give her resources to calm herself), come see me and we’ll play…LOL works for adults as well..I find everyone wants to play:)

Yu July 22, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Thats such an interesting way to look at it! As if everybody is enlightened. I never thought about it that way, but it seems to make so much sense. Its easy to just let these things annoy you and this seems like a good way to go about letting that go.

Annemieke July 24, 2010 at 6:35 am

I really loved the post. Especially this:

“After a while, you’ll notice that the lessons you encounter will cater to your weak areas with such uncanny perfection, you may begin to suspect that your pathetic co-worker and the perfume-soaked lady on the train really are enlightened. Each lesson will offer you exactly what you need to overcome the trouble it causes you, but only if you are looking for it.”

Thinking to know the cause of frustration and still getting annoyed is often a sign of not knowing it yet at a deep enough level.

Suzanne July 24, 2010 at 11:07 pm

I really enjoyed reading this and am willing to take this in to heart. I deal well when it comes to strangers but those close to me like immediate family members or coworkers in my very small office are a different story.

Tony July 30, 2010 at 10:32 am

Great post. Sometimes, working out what the lesson is can be a bit of a challenge, but maybe that’s a lesson in itself?

Diana McAdams September 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Would like to post this as a FB note…for myself and I know a lot of friends who would actually appreciate it ( not resent or think I mean it applies to THEM ).
May I have permission to do so ?

David September 1, 2010 at 5:40 pm

No prob

Janos Abel November 15, 2010 at 8:08 am

“…all forms of self-improvement as new age feel-good fluff.”

Not all, but most. Escape into spirituality, and spiritual ambition is rife. Hence our species has less than 50/50 chance of making it into the 22nd Century

Sidney April 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm

I’m a recovering know-it-all. Although I talk the talk when OTHER know-it-alls blow their stack over something minor, I don’t walk the walk. I shall gladly wrestle with the sentiments above. Thanks for this post, David.

paul campbell April 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm

someone told me “that which is in front of you is always your teacher”

Life Student July 10, 2011 at 12:14 am

Thank you for your post. I had been searching online for hours seeking answers as to how to deal with somone in my life who enjoys aggravating, frustrating, provoking and antagonizing me. The most recent event was that he refuses to call me by my name, but uses a derivitive of my name instead. One I especially don’t like. My name is MaryAnn, not Mary. He relishes how upset I become. To me, it was a matter of him not respecting me enough and a name is such a personal thing and such a small thing to ask that someone respect. If you tell me your name is Joe, I call you Joe, not Joey or Joseph. I was frustrated beyond belief with the situation and felt very violated and disrespected.

Now, I am looking at all the ways I am violating and disrespecting myself on a daily basis. I am NOT taking good care of me. I am not nourishing my body well. I am not creating a home astmosphere that is loving and nuturing to me. I was so angry and yet all the universe was saying to me is: you need to love and respect yourself more.

I don’t know if that makes sense, but it really hit home for me and I thank you and my antagonizer for bringing it to light for me.

mujtaba August 20, 2011 at 10:56 pm

good luck for all

sara September 2, 2011 at 2:20 am

sorry, i don’t get any of this??? people are TRYING to teach me something??? WTF? what if they just hated me???

David September 2, 2011 at 6:42 am

No, the point is not to convince yourself that they really do have your best interests at heart. Clearly most of the time they are not even aware of you. The point is to use frustration as a trigger to treat the situation as if it is a direct lesson from someone who does know what you need to work on. This will redirect your focus from the shortcomings of someone else to the way you handle these situations.

Frustration is a reaction, it is the way we respond to these situations, it is not created by the other person. But we usually think of it as being entirely the other person’s fault, which gets us nowhere, even though it is ultimately up to us whether we become frustrated or not… but only if if you can see yourself as the one who has something to learn in those situations.

And if they did do it just because they hate you, what’s the smartest thing to do? Hate them back, or learn something about how to not let it bother you next time?

Peter Nuding September 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm


Peter Nuding September 6, 2011 at 5:03 pm

How can i get “frustrated situations with others” out of my head?

There is inner peace and i can take a step back from the situation. there is a moment..just 30 seconds of a frustrating situation….but i can’t get out of mind…

i see myself thinking and analyzing…learning?……but there is this very small peace of “stll hate” i cant delete…i can see it clearly….but cant delete it…

it alays comes up an u an up again in my mind…..

Peter Nuding September 6, 2011 at 5:06 pm

eg…someone call you a .. whatever bad …..

but then i need DAYS to handle it….a short moment of frustration….5 seconds….and it stays in mind for days….

Meghashyam April 26, 2012 at 2:20 am

I loved, loved the post. So much, I know I am going to keep visiting this place (this is the first time I came :) )

Cease to cherish opinions. Let the baby have his bottle.

Must confess my day is better because of the post. The next time something happens, I guess I’ll look inward first.

louella September 13, 2012 at 11:05 am

“A lesson will be repeated until it is learned.” I read this from a book on the Rules of Life. So, i try my best to show the universe that i already know the lesson of forgiveness, humility, tolerance, gratitude. Don’t ask for a reviewer on life’s difficult lessons. This reading is a good reminder of that.

Chetan October 9, 2012 at 12:03 am

Wow! A totally different way to see things. I never thought we can take people this way also. I get irritated very easily by the actions of others and have very strong urge to make them understand ME. But now considering the fact that they are “Enlightened” and I can learn from them (the late friend teaches you to be patient, for instance), this approach is I think going to help me a lot. :)

OtakuAmy December 30, 2012 at 5:34 pm

So all this time…they know what they are doing to us? I though they were oblivious to the stress they inflict upon us. :o Guess I was wrong, cause I tend to have a go out a lot of people when I feel something wrong has been said. I actually think this helped very much! :) Thank you, I mean that!

vikram January 3, 2013 at 4:48 am

I am 28years but still I dont no how save money,talking to others, behaveing, ect please give me some good answer. if there is any wrong please forgive….

Brittney January 8, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Hi, I just happened to stumble across this article and wanted to thank you for writing it. Yours is a perspective that is somewhat new to me, and definitely one that I needed to be told. I feel like taking this approach to the people in my life who I don’t get along with could really improve my quality of life. Thanks again!

V January 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

Thank you for the article. Great perspective.

kunsl February 22, 2013 at 3:09 am

i like ur article and thank you for it.
but i think reading such stuff is execellent but putting it into practise is a much more difficult task..

you dont know how to implement these things in real life

kunsl February 22, 2013 at 3:10 am

i loved your article and thank you for it.
but i think reading such stuff is excellent but putting it into practise is a much more difficult task.
But how to implement these things in real life

J Moore April 24, 2013 at 3:53 am

This article I found to be veary helpful. I personally appreciate and am greatful to have the opportunity to see another way. Putting it into practice will be a continual life journey. Personally the challenge seems never ending. At least looking at life positivley instead of looking or seeing the negative is definately a more learning, hopeful and peaceful option.
I hope we all could be more like this.

Lisa April 24, 2013 at 8:34 pm

I was frustrated, searched up “what to do when you’re frustrated” on Google, and voila! This article falls from the sky and into my hands. Thank you, whoever wrote this article, and thanks to Google as well :) I didn’t expect anything as useful to show up, but this was absolutely marvelous!

JP August 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Hi David,

I have really wrestled for the past 17 yrs, trying to understand why,did it come my way?, but usually my reactions had multiplied my frustrations. Unconsciously in the past 6 months,I started looking things from a student point of view,I must confess,I am now an Hurricane Marshall. “Only you can frustrate you”, is my adopted slogan.Indeed “How we react is what destroys us, not what happen to us.Great sharing David.

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tazz October 1, 2013 at 3:44 pm

One of my favorite sayings goes something like this: “Am I acting, or reacting?” In other words I can control my actions, but when I react to others’ behaviors I’m giving them control over me. Works most of the time. Well, okay, some of the time.

Amy October 3, 2013 at 11:20 pm

I came upon this page when I typed “how to handle when strangers take advantage of you” into google. Thank you for the very interesting post. It’s given me a lot to think about and I am going to try and look at things from that perspective. I seem, in the last few years, to have a shorter fuse and greater internal anger when I feel like I have been taken advantage of and this is the first article that I’ve found that I think might be helpful. Thank you! My google search was due to being very frustrated by some recent challenges topped off by two things that happened today, a conflict at work in which someone blamed me for a mistake that he had made and finding out that I had been taken advantage of in a small business transaction. In the first case, I totally see how the mindset you describe can be applied and I now understand better how events led up to his reaction, and how I might have interacted with him differently. But I have been trying to figure out what I am supposed to learn from the second situation — where I found out that someone sold me substandard goods from what we agreed on at a higher price (and there is no way to undo the transaction) — and I just cannot figure it out. To be more cautious in future transactions? (I always try to be careful, and in this case I tried to be as careful as I could given the circumstances.) To be able to accept that it was just loss of a couple hundred dollars and I should feel fortunate that does not put me in major financial problems? (That is a significant amount of money and to simply disregard that is extravagant. That doesn’t seem like a good lesson to learn — not to care about wasted money.) To be able to accept being taken advantage of? (How does that help? If I don’t mind being taken advantage of, won’t it just happen more often?) I guess if anyone has any insights, I would really like to hear them.

Leena Kloppers April 11, 2014 at 1:53 am

I have been feeling very frustrated with a lot of people lately. It almost felt like somewhere they all decided to meet and decide on strategies to frustrate me. I knew there was a lesson to be learned, I guess I did not want to face the truth which you have so eloquently put here which is that “we want to right”. Its a hard truth to learn and when you get caught in the frenzy in your mind (which is almost like a shark frenzy when they smell blood in the water), it is difficult to break free because of your past programming.

Thank you David. This has helped a lot.

David Cain April 12, 2014 at 10:40 am

I think you will like this coming Monday’s article.

Janmes May 5, 2014 at 11:32 pm

This really changes the way I see certain situations…. Thanks for a great article.

Lynn Howard May 15, 2014 at 4:31 am

So you guys are saying that we should all just act cool no matter what people do to us? Sorry but I’m a student with attitude. Sometimes the teacher needs to be told that what they are saying is complete mindless crap and I want my money back.

Emily May 23, 2014 at 5:19 am

Thanks for this post, exactly what I needed today. I consider myself very enlightened(!) & always look at myself (my own reactions) when dealing with the kind of situations you describe, but at the same time I usually feel very annoyed/shocked/angry at people who have triggered me, & always ask myself why people are sooo stupid, unaware, & insecure. Not the healthiest thing to be thinking I know, & not at all helpful. I sincerely don’t want to feel that way, & want to take this judgement out of the experience. Your take on things has opened a new door for me in the way I will consciously practice handling & thinking about similar situations when they arise, so thanks. Looking forward to exploring more of your site.

Jay Schryer July 19, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Well, since you put it that way, I suppose it’s all good. I just love how we used to hijack the comments on other people’s blogs. Some things never change, it seems. Ahhh good times. Good times…. :)

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