Unreasonable people pose a great challenge to our practice of forbearance. It is well to remember that we are children of God and so are such difficult people. They are conditioned by their mental impressions even as we are by ours. Says Swami Vivekananda, “Never say any man is hopeless, because he only represents a character, a bundle of habits, which can be checked by new and better ones.” Instead of judging such people as impossible, we need to cultivate a good working relationship with them.
A disciple of Sri Ramakrishna felt disturbed due to a disagreement with someone. When told of it, the Master said, “Try at the outset to talk to him and establish a friendly relationship with him. If you fail in spite of your efforts, then don’t give it another thought. Take refuge in God. Meditate on Him. There is no use in giving up God and feeling depressed from thinking about others.”
Yet successfully dealing with difficult people is not an unrealizable ideal. Holy Mother’s life amply demonstrates the ideal in practice. There was no dearth of unreasonable, insane, and greedy people around her under her care. With her pure mind that was always united with God, she was able to patiently put up with all of them.