How to deal with people who bother you

It is in times like this, that we should focus on patience. Being present at the moment and letting go of what should be.

Let me whip a little story on ya’!

A father saw his boy stomping around the yard. “What is wrong?” asked the father.

“The kids at school are just so annoying,” grumbled the son.

“Really?” the father replied. “How so?”

“Well, there are some boys who take too long to order their lunch and hold up the line, and I never have enough time to eat. Some of the girls giggle in the back of class, and I sometimes miss what the teacher is saying. The teacher yells at me when I don’t understand the class assignments then. A few kids tell me I am goofy and others won’t let me play four square …” the boy went on for a long time.

The father smiled and said, “would you like to know how to stop them making you so angry?”

“Oh yes!”

The father went into the shed and pulled out a iron cauldron. “This is a magic cauldron. It can stop you from being angry all the time. But you must do as I say.”

The son excitedly agreed. The father told the son to gather potatoes and write the names and offenses of each person that angered them and put them into the cauldron.

“What now, father?”

“Carry the cauldron with you until the magic works,” the father answered.

The boy picked up the cauldron of potatoes, and being strong he didn’t feel that it was a problem at all. But in a few minutes, the weight of the cauldron increased as gradual fatigue came. In addition, as the boy went about his day, the cauldron (always in one hand) became a burden to everyday tasks. By the next morning, the boy saw the cauldron with dread.

“How much long father?” the boy asked. “It is very uncomfortable to carry this cauldron.”

“If it is too heavy,” the father replied, “then find some of the offenses that you think probably aren’t all that important and get rid of them.”

The boy found a few potatoes that had names of people that — a day later– did not bother him so much. BUT the other names still made his blood boil. With a slightly lighter cauldron of potatoes he continued his day.

In addition to the weight and cumbersome nature of the cauldron, the potatoes now started to rot and smell. In the heat it was very unpleasant. Remembering his father’s words, he once again wanted to reduce his displeasure by re-evaluating if all of these people written on potatoes were worth the trouble.

Lightening his load a little more, he went about his day. By the next morning, the pot was full of maggots and other insects. The boy had enough and refused to spend a day with the bugs infesting his life.

“How much longer?” he asked his father.

The father looked at his son, “You choose to carry those potatoes. You carry them as long as you like. You hold onto your anger until it becomes unpleasant, exhausting, rotting, and brings decay to your life. And what of those who have ‘offended you?’ They do not even know you have a cauldron, let alone carry their name on rotting potatoes.”

The boy understood and tossed the potatoes away. He also put down the cauldron because he had no more need to carry marked potatoes.

We must recognize that when we harbor negative feelings about someone, that it is not a gift or curse from others, but a choice we have to develop those negative thoughts and hold onto them until they become very unpleasant– and only to us.

Instead, let these feelings go. Remind yourself that you should focus on liberating yourself from negativity and replace the arising of those negative thoughts with something positive.

And if you focusing only on the present situation without developing judgments about it you will find that you will not give power to the negative energy we all so easily hold onto in our lives. This is the poison of aversion and clinging. To avoid and push negative energy away, itself takes energy and develops a sense of validity to negative thoughts, just as clinging to them feeds those negative thoughts as well. We end up carrying rotting potatoes.

Feel the lightness of being when we can put down the burden and move forward in our lives without dealing with such things.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Buddha, Dharma, Divorce, Ethics, Four Noble Truths, Kharma, Lifestyle, Mahayana, Marriage, Meditation, New Age, Noble Eightfold Path, Philosophy, Relationships, Theravada, Tibet, Uncategorized, Virajana, Work


Joshua Hudson is a license clinical social worker with post graduate certificates in mental health. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, he has worked as an healthcare advocate for the Department of Veteran Affairs, Director of Psychological Health for the Air Force, in-patient counselor for inpatient adolescents, child and family therapist; and currently is a Prevention Interventionist for the Air Force creating programs to reduce interpersonal and self-directed violence (e.g. Sexual assault, suicide, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, etc.) in the military


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One Comment on “How to deal with people who bother you”

  1. December 24, 2009 at 7:34 pm #

    So much wisdom. Sounds so easy to let it go. Will keep trying. Can’t stand the smell of negativity,


    michael j

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