When we are angry, sad, frustrated, or irritated we can also be unapproachable and unlovable. It’s a paradox then, that at these very times we need love.
Nor are we pleasant company when we are depressed or sad. But that’s just the time when we need TLC the most. If you get this, then remove the magnifying glass from your own troubles for a while and think of other people. Think how alone you feel when you are very upset.
When others are sad, angry, irritated or frustrated, that is precisely the time when they need to be loved. They feel so alone and confused. Like your kid, who tells you in the middle of an argument that he (or she) hates you. Great!
But then very likely that other person is hurt and confused and not nice to be around at that time. And it may be your own little person.
So with your magnifying glass at the ready, see the other person as one who, at this time, needs your mindful presence rather than you giving them a dose of whatever – which is bound to make the situation worse.
It’s the time to practice what the Tibetans call “loving-kindness”. Instead of rejecting them because they seem to be a pain in the butt, or running away from a difficult situation, see that they are in special need, and give them whatever kindness and understanding you can muster.
The Tibetans might say silently “Hi my dear friend, (or child)”. This immediately changes the whole emotional climate for you and hopefully for the other person who will get the love he or she needs at that moment instead of anger or irritation from you.
At the same time we need to care for ourselves and treat ourselves with loving-kindness. We are only human and not perfect and will only feel worse if we start putting ourselves down for however we treat others.
Try giving the other person a hug, or sitting quietly with them until they settle. This gives you a time to collect your own emotions, notice any unhelpful urges, and some space in which to be mindful.
© Kathleen Crawford 2017
Good books to read: General: Mindfulness in Plain English. By Bhante Henepola Gunaratana. Wisdom Publications
For Therapists: Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Depression.Segal Williams & Teasdale, Guilford Press
Mindful Therapy by Thomas Bien PhD. Wisdom Publications Above concepts from this book.