How to deal with an unkind colleague at work

Apr 1, 2024

 

QUESTION

Dear Venerable Robina,

 

If you have time, I need some advice. 

 

I am having an incredibly difficult time at work and feeling extremely isolated and suffering from biases and staff being rude to me. I feel this may be a result of my karma and I am trying to offer kindness and understanding, especially to the one colleague who has taken offence to me (at this stage, I am unable to determine why and will endeavor to do so when I have to work with him next week) but it is incredibly uncomfortable. I was hoping for some advice, that I can do from the Buddhist perspective to not only ease his suffering, but also mine as I have had this issue for seven months and I am feeling very tired and anxious and depressed, both physically and mentally.

 

May you live a long, blessed and healthy life. Thank you, dear Robina for your time and kindness.

 

With much love,

Y

 

ANSWER

I am so so sorry, Y, that you’re having such a sad time at work.

 

Often it is mainly from past karma, as you say, not from anything we’re doing right now, that these things happen. It’s very painful.

 

So, what can you do from your side? There are two things: one is related to your mind, your attitude, right now; and the other is to purify the past karma, the main causes of the present suffering.

 

First: It’s clear to me you have a very good heart, you are very kind: you love to help people and you’ve probably been like this all your life. Which is fantastic! To have kindness is the most special thing.

 

But sometimes that can be mixed with attachment. We’ve all got attachment, and the obvious attachment is for the sense objects. But the deepest, the most primordial and therefore the hardest to recognize, is the attachment to approval, the need to be liked, to be seen as a good girl. And we’ve had it since we’re born.

 

This neediness pollutes our kindness and also makes us vulnerable to others and we end up getting misused. It also pushes people away.

 

See what you think. See if you can identify this. It’s common, Y! If we’re in samsara, we have it. But it manifests in different ways for us all.

 

The other one is to do the purification practice, the four opponent powers, at the end of the day, usually using the Vajrasattva mantra. I’m attaching a PDF that explains how karma works, and explains the way to purify karma.

 

The key thing here is that the first step regret purifies the particular way that karma ripens called “experiences similar to the cause”: that is, the way we’re seen and treated by others. 

 

So when you do the practice, strongly regret whatever it was that you’ve done in the past to these people — karma is personal! — that causes them now not to like you, to be mean to you. Then when you do the next step reliance, which includes compassion, have strong compassion for them, because of the negative karma they’re creating by being mean to you. Then you do the third step, remedy, and visualize purifying, plus reciting the mantra. And the fourth step, resolve to not harm again.

 

Anyway, read the PDF and it’ll explain how it all works.

 

So, let me know your thoughts about all this!

 

Love,

Robina

 

QUESTION

Dear Robina,

 

Again, thank you, for your wisdom and for the PDF of teachings. I watched your video on this very teaching yesterday at work.

 

I absolutely understand what you are saying and my karma has aligned with you as yesterday (also whilst at work) I was searching for a Buddhist psychologist and also some Buddhist psychology on YouTube and came across your wonderful Lawudo Trek 2019 teachings as well. Everything you say in the teachings makes so much sense! I honestly can understand the need to control body, mind and speech.

 

You said to me “Anyway, read the PDF and it’ll explain how it all works” and I would absolutely love to hear this. I will also search your YouTube channel to see if I can find a purification video to follow so that I can make that a regular practice. I already feel so much stronger in my mind just from your wonderful emails. I cannot thank you enough. You have given me clarity and understanding and acceptance.

 

With so much love and thanks,

Yxx

 

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