This post was written by Leo Babauta, originally for Zen Habits. Republished here with permission.
There’s a way of being that I’m trying to cultivate in myself — to let go of wanting others to be a certain way. Here’s what to do when others frustrate you.
What to Do When Others Frustrate You
Here’s the problem: we all get frustrated with other people. We want our kids to do certain things, our spouses to be less something or other, our friends to change their lives, our relatives to be healthier, other people to be less rude, etc etc.
So what can we do about this? It can drive us crazy, but we can’t make it happen. It’s out of our control. Trying to change others, wanting them to be the way we want them to be, just doesn’t work. The alternative, though, is unthinkable to most of us: to just let others be however they want to be. Even when that annoys you.
Here’s the way of being that I’m trying to cultivate:
1. To remind myself that I don’t control others.
2. To remind myself that other people can live their lives however they want.
3. To see the good in them.
4. To let go of an ideal that I have that’s causing the frustration.
5. To see that when others are being difficult, they are having a hard time coping. And to empathize with this.
6. To remember when I’ve had a hard time, when I struggled with change, when I’ve been frustrated.
7. To do what I can to help them: to be of service, to listen, to make them feel heard, to make them feel accepted.
I’m not good at this yet, but when I find my way, it helps. It makes me less frustrated, it helps me to be more mindful, it improves my relationships, it helps others feel better. I wish this for all of you.