I love people watching.
I have observed that our tendency is to wear multiple masks, and the mask we pick depends on the person we’re interacting with. We put on a positive face with some people, and a negative one with others.
It doesn’t depend on the situation; rather, it depends on the person.
There are people toward whom we are kind, while we’re cruel toward others. There are people to whom we respond calmly and there are the ones to whom we respond in a frenzied rage.
After observing my own behavior with others, I’ve learned that the people we interact with are our subconscious mirrors. How we treat someone indirectly reflects their internal energy. For instance, the people to whom we respond calmly, are calm by nature. People who make us lose our temper our habitually drawn into negativity as an instinctual reaction to the world around them.
I’m a firm believer that energy constantly circulates between us and others. And Buddhism—which shares commonalities with modern science—offers an explanation for why this is.
Buddhists believe that there is vast cosmic energy in the universe that is also present in everything living, including us humans. This energy is also called vibration or aura. This aura is the result of our thoughts, emotions and karma. Some of us have a good energy (aura), while others have a bad one. This is why—without even realizing—when we respond to people in a particular manner, we unconsciously base our response on the frequency of their aura.
Some people bring out the best in us, while others bring out the worst. It has a lot to do with the person’s energy. But it has a lot to do with ourselves as well.
These people show up in our lives to accomplish a deeper purpose.
We are usually thankful to the people who bring out the best in us, and we hold a strong aversion toward those who bring out the worst in us, because they’re “energy vampires.”
The truth is, we should never loathe the people who bring out the worst in us. In fact, we should be grateful for meeting them. These people show up out of nowhere as unexpected teachers.
Instead of agonizing over why we met this certain person, or thinking about how we can stop them from bringing out the worst in us, perhaps we use this as a lesson of the inner-work we need to do. And so, instead of opting to change the person who’s shuddering our energy, we can change ourselves and our reaction to them.
Our interactions with them might bring up the awareness in us of what “they” lack. When we’ve been deeply bruised by the people who bring out the worst in us, we use this awareness as a shield to protect ourselves. Instead of reacting in the same way we have historically, we learn to react in a more mindful way that represents personal growth.
When we do transform darkness into light—when we work on our own shortcomings—then we can stop feeding energy to the people who bring out the worst in us.
I know from my own experience that the hardest part of this process is refraining from reacting.
How we can stop ourselves from reacting to people who bring out the worst in us?
1. Awareness. In order to understand our own reactions and others’, we have to become aware of the energy that circulates between and among us. Acknowledge that the energy you feel in the presence of another person reflects the energy they’re made of. When we’re aware of this, we choose to either stop the shudder of another’s emotions or surrender to it.
2. Understanding. Understand that any negative reaction we express is only satisfying the people who induce this in us. When we comprehend this process we will stop providing them with this satisfaction.
3. Choice. Always choose your own peace of mind. People who bring out the worst in us tend to drain our energy. Before reacting, think what’s more important: our misery or our happiness?
4. Focusing. Focus on our basic goodness. Nourish it and use it as an example before the people who are only trying to put you down.
5. Be thankful.
6. Bring out the best in the people who bring out the worst in ourselves.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Editor: Caitlin Oriel