It’s true and I know you have met them, maybe you are one of them. It could be temperament, you’re just born inexcusably unable to be pleased. Or maybe you’re conditioned through the factors of sheer existence. Life has worn all your joy away. Some people just want to wear a frown and pee on everybody’s parade.
Writing people off as crazy or finding some other mental flaw can take some of the frustration off but I feel this is not the way. If we are to deal with these people with loving kindness how do we come to terms with the fact that you can’t ever win, by doing enough, bending enough, being enough? How do I not take it personal when I have done my personal best and the feedback is my best sucks?
Well, I like to do two things. And it takes practice. I am currently practicing really, really hard. First, notice and remember there is god in there. I have had my personal struggles with the term god. I am much more spiritual than religious and being so, subscribe to a belief in the Great Spirit that we all share. But to speak a language and word that many people can relate to I use god. Part of my practice then is to look for god in the dismal person. I often find the presence in their teeth. Weird, I know. But we all share teeth, at some point we have all had them. The hardest of cases when the teeth don’t cut it, I find god in something that I also have like frizzy hair. This practice is hard in the heat of the moment. Angry, hurt, underlying fear bubbles, sometimes much more than bubbles to the base of my neck. You know how it feels. Finding something that we share takes away the separatness of them and me.
The second part of my practice, remember they are suffering. Their suffering is deep and constant and what a terrible way to be. No one wants to suffer, ever. We are all trying our best to NOT suffer. Even when the person is getting exactly what they desire the most, they are suffering. Therein lies the negative feedback loop of getting your way but it is not enough. This is like the ray of sunshine on the fact that stuff won’t fix or fill this hole that the sufferer carries. This is also difficult to deal with in the moment.
Try this Metta Meditation. Start small with yourself, May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease. Then radiate it out to loved ones, strangers, strangers suffering and eventually get to this person that can never be pleased. And Ha! by this point it is not about winning or making people happy. You have put forth your good and that is your job. Put happiness and good into the world. Sounds easy, but I know you know it is not. May all beings be happy and free of suffering.