My friend, my hardship, my teacher

I think that most of us feel that we learn so much from close friends who support us, Family members who comfort us, and possibly Monks and Nuns.
But I have come to see that it may actually be our most difficult person who is in fact our best teacher.

The person in our lives who gives us the most challenges, difficulties and heartaches, this is our greatest teacher!
Think about the qualities that one must develop when dealing with a difficult person.
Compassion, acceptance, patience, kindness, equanimity, and a tremendous amount of mindfulness.

When we are with someone who is easy-going and gentle in nature, I feel it is easy to forget all of these qualities. We can become very unskillful in our words and actions and lack a whole lot of mindfulness.
But our difficult person almost never allows us this sleepy state of being. They keep us on our toes, awake and alive.
And us much as this may seem exhausting at times, I think that if we view these individuals in the right way, we can become invigorated and energized my these lessons. We can be thankful for them, and see them as a genuine blessing in our lives and on our path.

I often equate the Buddhist path as similar to that of body building; no pain, no gain.
And since we know that the first truth of Buddhism is that there is suffering, we can perhaps see that by accepting that, our difficult persons are actually our own personal trainers. They push us to work harder, get stronger, increase our stamina and improve our health.
Only in our Buddhist practice, we are instead building the Four Immeasurables; Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity.

I hope that you will consider this today, and send your loving kindness and gratitude to your “difficult person”. See them as the gift that they truly are to you, and be humbled by this blessing.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.