Question: Yangki, I’ve read your articles and absolutely love everything you have to say about love. My question is, how do I stay loving when someone is mean to me? I’m trying to be a more loving person in my romantic relationship and in life in general but it’s a real struggle. I used to be hard on myself because I didn’t love me but with a lot of work, I love myself more. I also try to be more loving towards others but sometimes I think human beings in general are by nature bad and “loving all” is an impossible task. I’ll give an example. One of my co-workers is always asking me to do stuff for her but she never does anything for me even when I ask for her help. And when I refuse to do what she asks, she gets very forceful and even says mean things about me behind my back. I’ve tried to be more loving towards her but everyday is a struggle. Sometimes I think I should just be mean back, but what does that get me? I’m sure there is someway to be more loving all the time. How do you do it? Any advice that might help me stay more in “love”?
Yangki’s Answer: I love the question you’ve asked. Although this is a little beyond the scope of what I consider myself competent to answer, I’ll try to do the best I can.
I believe the most important place to begin is examining your core belief about people in general – and how you define “good” and “bad”. Our core beliefs are very important because they influence how we think, act and/or react. And all of us have beliefs that serve us, as well as beliefs that limit us.
In my experience dealing with all kinds of people, I’ve found that if you believe that people are intrinsically good, you’ll tend to see the people you encounter as either mirrors of yourself or teachers to teach you how to be a better, move loving person.
If you believe that people are intrinsically bad, you’ll tend to see them as faulty beings (or even “enemies”) who annoy, irritate and always get in your skin or your way.
I personally believe each of us has the potential to be both good and bad — and that’s just being human. I define the “good” in us as that part that wants, seeks and tries to foster peace, harmony and love within ourselves and with our fellow creatures — and environment.
I define the “bad” in us as that part of us that separates us from the people and the world around us. That part of us that cares and finds satisfaction in only what we want and need (without consideration for others). The part of us that’s in a constant state of demand, aggression, agitation, resistance, chaos, and suffering etc. both within and with our fellow creatures — and environment
I also believe we have the full control and power to choose whether we want to use our intrinsic “goodness” or “badness” at any one given time or situation. It’s probably one of the few things we have full control and power over.
But since we are human (with the potential to be both good and bad) and since we have to co-exist with others who will not always use their intrinsic “goodness”, the challenge for us is to always find that place within us where our “goodness” overshadows our “badness”.
Staying in that place within us where our “goodness” overshadows our “badness” is a daily struggle, even for me. I struggled with saying “NO” to others for many, many years because deep inside I believed “refusing to help” made me a “bad” person. The irony is that although I was always the “friend” everyone turned to, my own needs and wants went unmet. My business wasn’t taking off because I was always “helping” and afraid to ask for payment for my help. That’s until I realized that I needed to take care of me to be able to take better care of others. I still “struggle” with the instant reaction to “jump to help” instead of encouraging others to do it themselves and showing them how (which is a much better and more loving way of “helping” someone).
So yes, it’s a daily struggle. Don’t be hard on yourself if you are not “loving” all the time. You’re only human. The most important thing is to always try to come back to that place within where your “goodness” overshadows your “badness”. It’s what I believe Jesus Christ meant by “carrying our cross daily” and Gandhi referred to as “The only devils in this world are those running around in our own hearts, and that is where all our battles should be fought.”
This is just what I believe and how I do it. I’m sure there are others who believe differently and have found other ways to stay in “love”. That tells you just how resourceful we human beings are!