Keeping Our Inner Peace

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?


(Linking this with #microblogmondays and #mondaymusings.)



34 thoughts

  1. It’s such an empowering less that unleashes power in all its forms. True, negativity bog our mind to death and I’ve witnessed such people whom I have decided to stay away from. Such people are so toxic. Gradually, cutting off from such relatives and there are many like that in the family. They are not worth!

    1. Yes, Vishal. Best to cut off such people from our lives who sap into our negativity. I have done it too and can say that was the best decision I ever took in dealing with those folks. They’re not worth our time anyway.

  2. That is a beautiful story with a great message, Esha. But I find it difficulty to practice in my life, I must admit. I wonder if the problem is with me or something else. Maybe I need to grow up a bit more to achieve that sense of wisdom. But of course, I stay away from the source of negativity to save me from future hurts. Your post is inspiring, Esha. 🙂

    1. Vinitha, I do understand. Someone I am very close to is struggling in an abusive relationship for years and unable to move herself away due to various factors beyond her control. I read out this story to her to tell her how she can help herself. I know perfectly well how difficult this might seem for you right now, but do keep it in mind that hurtful words only belong elsewhere. I’ve been there so I know how you feel. Hugs dear…You will be able to get over this one day, am sure!

  3. This is a beautifully written post. I’m a reactive personality so I don’t tend to deal with my aura being flooded with negativity. What I’ve been practicing lately is mindfulness and asking myself to just listen to the pain instead of the hurtful words. Sometimes it works and other times I have to just walk away and let that negativity stay with the source.

    1. Thanks jsackmom. Yes, sometime we have to try different things to get away from the negativity around us. Mindfulness really helps me and there are times when the only way out is to physically get away from the source as you say. Whatever works. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      1. You’re welcome I look forward to the day when I can think and act with detachment and let nothing like negativity written or verbal will affect me. In the meantime like you I’ll practice my mindfulness. 😊

    1. Yes, wise words from one who faced a lot of criticism in his lifetime. No wonder he was referred to as the Enlightened One! Thanks for visiting, Shinjini 🙂

  4. Glad to read this thoughtful post after a long weekend. Lovely story.
    I need to keep negative thoughts at bay and this will help me. Thanks for sharing it Esha. Here from the #Monday Musings

    1. Glad to see you here, Upasna. If my post has given you some light, I will be grateful that I was able to do what I set out to when I wrote this post. 🙂 Will hop onto your post rightaway

  5. Such a meaningful answer by Buddha. Thanks for sharing this message Esha. I have gone through such words in my daily life. Previously, I used to feel bad, on some I used to react. Even now, I react on such negative words, but the frequency is very less. I am trying to avoid all these so that it did not affect me as a person and my confidence is one day I can completely overcome my weakness.

    1. Thanks Dipannita. Yes, I think we can all learn a great lesson from Buddha’s wise words. There are so many of these stories that I really wanted to share one with everyone as I felt it spoke to me. I hope you can gain inner strength and stay confident, something that too aspire to ahieve someday. Thanks for stopping by @SoulTalk 🙂

  6. Great post! I feel I have been very good at “switching” myself off …. Know that I cant control some people, incidents, things that happen…. So have to let it go, and concentrate on what I CAN do…

    1. Thanks, Eli. We’re all in it you see, still trying, still struggling to make peace over things that are beyond our control and the life lessons continue meanwhile!

    1. Thanks Dr Amrita. I agree it is a beautiful story. True, it is our choices that make things good or bad. Sometimes though, we are faced with situations beyond our control and these weigh us down more than we can bear. Btw, thanks for stopping by 🙂

  7. The Buddha’s story is inspiring. It is very difficult to focus on positivity when one has to face negativity, day in and day out, when a close person of authority concentrates their entire energy in putting the other down. If that other person had never faced this kind of negativity ever before and also does not know how to deal with the same, one can imagine what impact all this can have. Moving away helps in such a scenario, first physically followed by mentally.

    1. Thanks Anamika. Glad you liked the story. I know what you say about tackling negativity, as I’ve been there myself. A very close family member is going through very difficult times because of similar issues and I can do nothing to help that person. I agree with your suggestions but that person is unable to move away either. Such is life. Just hoping that things get better soon.

  8. I’ve been dealing with my fair share of negativity over the past few years, Esha. Sadly, it’s come from sources so close to me. I fought it and them aggressively until I was so worn out. Now I just disconnect from these sources and move ahead as positively as I can – plugging into writing, reading, music, good conversation as a means to overcome the negative effects.

    1. I understand about that, Corinne. I think we discussed this once before. Yes, agree if one can disconnect it greatly helps to move away from the situation. A person who I know very closely is dealing with a tough situation and I feel bad that apart from being there to listen to her, I’m not able to help in any other way. Just hoping that things get better for her soon. Thanks for suggesting ways in which you tried helping yourself. Always helps to know.

  9. Negativity is something you need to conquer, I always do that by adding lots of positivity around me. The positive vibes drives away negativity. This past week for one was something like a roller-coaster for everyone in around the world, for some it was acceptable, for many not so acceptable, yet we are here living with it.

    1. Great to know that dollops of positivity works wonders for you. It does for me too. I think the idea is to increase the number of positive vibes to make them overpower the negative ones, until they dissipate.

  10. its a motivational post Esha! I believe if we start focusing on ourselves rather than the negativity, things will start looking better instantly. We need to accept limitations – of people, situations, skills, time…. The shift from negative to positive will transform our lives!

    1. Thanks much, Arv! Yes, wanted to write a motivational post for some time. You’re right about keeping the focus on ourselves. The idea is to not let ourselves be cowed down by negativity.

  11. It is a hard thing to ignore all that is happening around us. People are suffering on account of a decision that wasn’t thought over before execution and despite “good intentions” the implementation of the new law has made us all jittery. My heart bleeds for those are in the thick of it without having hoarded anything. I don’t really know how to counter that sadness creeping into my heart.
    The anecdote from Buddha is one of my favorite. I try to use it often. My husband also says that when you get a thought that disturbs your peace, try not to feed it for it will grow and trouble you more. Instead busy yourself with whatever positive thing you can come up with. This really helps me.

    1. Oh absolutely, Anamika. I know how difficult it is to ignore all that is happening around us. Whether in India or around the world, the changes are overwhelming and so much of anxiety around! You are right about the sufferings of the common man who have not hoarded any black money but are suffering because they have no way of salvaging their situation. The Buddha anecdote is so calming and inspiring. I strongly believe that we must nip all negative thoughts in the bud before it raises its nasty head. This can make way for the positive vibes to lead us forward and show us the way!

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