Making Peace with “Dislike”
Typically, when I don’t particularly like someone I just avoid them, which sounds so simple but we all know the world isn’t filled with enough hiding places. Avoidance isn’t always possible when the unlikeable are family, co-workers, spouses (at times), or other relationships and groups that require our interaction. These types of situations can create a lot of stress as we may feel ‘forced’ to deal with things and people outside our comfort zone, perhaps even outside our boundaries of sanity.
There is a non-violent way of dealing with people we don’t like and don’t want to be around but simply can’t get away from. With a certain amount of commitment and perseverance, each of us can build an attitude of ‘acceptance’ that can help us navigate the occasional ‘vomit soup’ interaction with undesirable people and situations that won’t wreak havoc on one’s emotional well being.
In my study of metaphysics, the phrase ‘acceptance is power’ is often referred to as the most efficient path to neutrality. Here, neutrality is seen as a more desirable state of mind than say, ‘I super hate you and I want you to die right now’ attitude. This concept is based on the idea that it’s not possible to be positive and happy, happy with people or things all the time – which is all too often the goal of many spiritual students seeking to improve themselves.
This neutrality – much like Switzerland – offers us a space of freedom within the mind. Thus, giving ourselves breathing room to experience a sense of calm, even in a moment of conflict.
The teachings suggest that ‘pretending’ to be nice or tolerant does not change the vibration or electrical charge created by the original ‘super hate you’ thought. Most people may not understand why it’s important to change the electrical charge of their thoughts, but if one considers this idea, they would realize that all negative electrical charges have a destructive effect on the physical body via higher blood pressure, repressed anger, and feelings of agitation (to name a few).
In my own experience I found that I had two major hurdles to overcome in this area.
The first hurdle was that I found it hard to allow myself to be okay with my dislike of another person – especially if I had to be around that person a lot. For some reason I attached ‘anger’ to dislike, ergo if I disliked someone I had to be angry with them – all the time. Not only was this exhausting, it also created a mild form of PTSD whenever I was around that person. Once I accepted the fact that it’s okay to dislike someone – meaning I don’t have to do anything about it – I found I can be around that person and even talk to them without being upset.
The second hurdle was actually having to listen to that person speak. The reason most of us don’t like someone is likely because of the things they’re saying to us. I was challenged with ‘not reacting’ to the things being said. Not an easy fix.
For me, it feels a bit agonizing to accept other person’s ‘crazy’ – a loosely used term I use to describe anyone whose ideas, beliefs, conclusions or rationale on something is completely baffling to me and sounds utterly insane to my mind. We all know these people – they’re everywhere, am I right?
Again, I went to my ‘acceptance is power’ theme, but in this instance finding my Switzerland was far more difficult.
A technique I used was to embrace the idea that it’s okay if I don’t agree with others and vice versa – it’s just not that important. When I feel my head about to explode, I say a mantra: Nobody’s wrong, there’s nothing to prove, it’s all okay, we all have opinions, they don’t really matter.
This mantra helps me curtail the deep burning desire to explain the ‘wrongness’ of the other person’s opinions. This form of acceptance allows me to be less reactive, enabling me to inch my way closer to neutrality.
Another technique that may help one to neutralize an intense dislike of another is to find some small positives about them. Perhaps they’re a sharp dresser, maybe they love animals or support a noble cause. Find those small scraps and use them to get to your Switzerland.
While making room in your psyche for everyone to have their own reality, be mindful not to give up your truth in the process. If you throw yourself under the bus to be the ‘bigger’ person or to ‘get along’, you will end up feeling crappy and depowered. Don’t do it.
The benefit of a having a neutrally charged mindset or attitude is that we often lose our feelings of agitation and stress – at least most of the time. The fastest way to neutral is through ‘acceptance’ of your own feelings and being okay with the reality of the situation. This is a process that takes a little time and creativity but is definitely worth the effort.