In Buddhism, change comes from within. It seems to me when you start studying Buddhism, the focus is Intrapersonal. as the Four Noble Truths point out, you have your own dukkha/suffering. I don’t totally agree that you can’t help someone until you help yourself but the mantra seems to apply when it comes to someone learning about Buddhism. At some point you will not only look within but at external situations. You are going to ask how you handle a negative co-worker, an angry boss, a less than pleasant customer, it really is a tricky situation. How do you make that negative a positive? In some instances, you may realize your interpersonal skills need some improving.

You can improve your life by improving the lives of others that you interact with!

The first thing you need to realize is; People you are interacting with are dealing with their own suffering and delusions. In most instances, you have no clue what their suffering is. Maybe they have been abused, maybe going through a divorce, perhaps their bills are piling up or maybe they have medical issues. You need not know what they are suffering about, all you need to do is be there for them, be sincere.

Taking some notes from my previous blogs, I mentioned that I keep these five statements on my desk:

  • True Sincerity to Others
  • Purity of Mind
  • Impartiality
  • Proper Understanding
  • Compassion in Helping Others

An example I used in a previous blog was concerning a co-worker. She was pretty gruff and never smiled. Have you ever been taken aback by someones attitude when you interact with them? Like you did something wrong? I got this impression from this co-worker. This is when I had my first epiphany. I may be able to improve the environment at work if I could help this person out. So when we arrived at work around the same time and she was carrying her bag, boxes, coffee..etc, I would offer to carry items for her. I did this each time I saw her and… a few weeks later she smiled and said Thank You.

and we always have people we perceive as annoying at work, maybe even cringe when we have to interact with them. I had someone who always stopped by my desk, joking that he needed a laptop, mouse or computer related item over and over again. Instead of getting annoyed, I started stopping by his desk, asking him if everything was okay with his computer and how his day was going. I think he just needed conversation. Now he’s not as fast to joke around about a new laptop.

You can improve your life by improving the lives of others that you interact with! 

I find that sometimes we should take the opposite action than we are use to. Instead of running away from someone in need, we should run to them to assist. I have to admit, my interpersonal skills have eroded over the years, I am really at a loss to the reason why. What I am suggesting has been a great experience for me, I am learning about different personalities, making friends and ultimately improving my life by improving the lives of others around me. Things are definitely more positive!

Do it!