I am sure you have already addressed this question in some form or another, but I was wondering if you could give me some insight into a problem I am having with tolerance and acceptance. I have a coworker who I must work with closely every day, and with whom I have had a long term disagreement. I have tried talking with this person several times about the situation and have decided things are not going to change. So I have decided to try to change my attitude about the situation instead.
As I have learned through your website, compassion for others is important. I do my best, but I can’t help but often feel angry and disappointed at times with this person. Feeling these feelings disappoints me as well. Do you have any advice for me? Thanks.
It’s hard to give specifics on this since you don’t tell what the specific disagreement is about, but I’ll give some general thoughts. Maybe others will add their suggestions too.
Your desire to change your own attitude is the right way to go about this. It’s actually the only way to deal with it, since this other person isn’t going to change to suit you. You cannot change others. You can talk to them and try to educate them, but if they don’t want to change or see things your way, there’s not really much you can do about it. Anything more is just an attachment to your idea of what they should be like. Worse, your desire to control them and bend them to your way of thinking (even if that’s not the case, it might look like it to the other party) could damage your relationship even further.
Buddhists are realists. We see the world at it could be, and work toward that end, but we accept things as they are. We see through the illusion of attachment and grasping; this includes expectations towards others. It’s OK to share your thoughts and beliefs with others, but if they won’t accept your way, then you need to accept that.