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Last week was quite an eventful one for most of us. There would be few who wouldn’t have been affected by what was happening in the country or around the world. The uncertainty of things to come, and the inability to deal with changes that have been thrust upon us leaving us disappointed and disillusioned, depending on which side of the fence we find ourselves in. But my belief is, no matter what other people say or do or even how they try to make us feel, we have the power to choose the way we look at situations and, importantly, how we react to them.

Let us not carry forward our inner struggles and baggage from the past but try and pave the way for positivity and inner peace. Today, I want to share an issue a lot of us face when we are trying to make our lives more positive – the toxic people in our lives who fill our space with negativity. It may not always be possible to cut these people totally out of our lives, because we may be living in close proximity to them every day. Their harsh words prick us and disturb our equilibrium. We feel unsettled. Recently, I came across a beautiful story from the Buddha’s life which explains what we should do when faced with such a situation.

Once, when Buddha was speaking to a group of his followers, a man came and spoke to him very rudely, challenging his wisdom and charging him with a barrage of false accusations. While the followers were clearly upset, the Buddha remained calm and unruffled. The man got even further irritated when he found that his words had no effect on the Buddha. So, he came up to him and asked him- “It seems that my words don’t have any affect on you. Why are you so quiet?”. This time, the Buddha spoke. He said, “When a rich man offers money to a roadside beggar and the beggar refuses to accept it, who does the money stay with?”. “Why, the rich man, of course”. The Buddha then explained. “So, is it with your words. I refuse to accept your words, so they mean nothing to me. I do not get upset by what does not belong to me. Simple.”

What an invaluable life lesson for us all! As I grow older I realize that I should have practiced this thought a long time ago. It would have saved me from many a heartbreak. Today, I know, why it is important to remind ourselves that we alone can control how we feel. The more we value ourselves, our thoughts, and emotions, the less someone else can control and manipulate us to feel a certain way. This thought makes me feel empowered today and I pray you do too. Let focus and positivity walk alongside us and continue to guide us.

So, tell me how do you cope when you find another person dragging you down into the pool of negativity? How do you overcome the impact of rude, unkind words from people close to you who you may not be able to avoid in your everyday life?

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(Linking this with #microblogmondays and #mondaymusings.)

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