Conflict, friction and human disagreement is, unfortunately, a major part of daily life. Whether it’s the erratic driver who cuts in front of you on the high street, crafty and cunning work colleagues pulling a fast one, or ungrateful and insensitive friends, unsavoury interactions can spoil our day really quickly. Fortunately for us, the great saint Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur offers invaluable wisdom to help handle these daily challenges:
“When faults in others misguide and delude you – have patience, introspect, find faults in yourself. Know that others cannot harm you unless you harm yourself.”
Patience – the first moments of a conflict situation are crucial. Be tolerant and patient. The art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but sometimes to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. When negative emotions hijack our mental state, chances are we’ll act and speak irrationally. One who is patient in a moment of anger, saves themselves days of sorrow.
Introspect – take some time to consider the situation. Beyond the perceived idiocy of actions and words, try to understand what is driving someone to do what they do. What is the hidden background? If we can identify that, we hold the key to progress. In human dealings the golden rule is this: seek first to understand, then to be understood. We could also consider how important the conflict really is – most Issues can easily be dropped or ignored, but often our emotional engrossment keeps us doggedly fighting till the last breath.
Find faults in yourself – every experience we encounter is ultimately an opportunity for self-growth. Provoking situations act as a mirror to better understand our weaknesses and faults. When we can identify and accept our own imperfections, we’re better placed to considerately deal with others. Else, we may fall into the trap of being very good judges for other people’s mistakes, and expert lawyers for our own.
Jan 22, 2023
Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies