Why are some people impossible to tolerate? Today, I’ll be exploring the karmic role of an annoying relationship in our life, both spiritually and psychologically.
If it’s someone at work or school, sure, you can still deal with their less-than-healthy behaviour and manage the situation to an extent. But sometimes those people can have an unavoidable role in our life, like our children, partner, or parents. Then what do you do?
And you can’t just go around blocking everyone – you would have nobody left.
If you’ve had multiple encounters with unhealthy relationship dynamics, t’s natural to feel defensive and say “I don’t need anybody”. While that’s how the ego-mind talks to self-preserve, relationships are both a biological and a spiritually invaluable part of our existence.
If you’d like to learn about the biological need for relationships, you can study the attachment theory and childhood development. From my end, I’d now like to share the spiritual lessons we learn from difficult karmic relationships, and hopefully help you develop a new lens.
#1 – The more someone pushes your buttons, the more tightly-knit your spiritual bond is.
Every single person in our life is there for a very specific reason, and even the irritating ones are NOT by chance.
The people we resist the most can also teach us the most about our own shortcomings. They bring many deeply-affecting lessons. For instance, a stubborn sibling might help us learn to not always be rigid about our way, and to build more acceptance and tolerance for things to not go our way.
Who knows what we can heal, if we stop resisting and started searching for the wisdom hidden in these karmic roles?
You see, even the most annoying people have “soul contracts“ to treat us in a certain way. Which means, even though we don’t remember this, we’ve signed up to be around them and learn certain spiritual lessons from them.
#2 – You can escape the relationship, not the lesson.
Yes, you can end one relationship, but if you don’t deal with the lessons it brought, that behaviour will keep resurfacing for you. For instance, if you haven’t yet worked on your abandonment issues from childhood, you may notice that you get triggered for the very same thing – abandonment but by a friend or partner.
This one of the spiritual reasons why people now have even 2 or 3 divorces, as another example. There’s something within their story that they are unwilling to heal, because of which it keeps coming back with a new face.
So how do we truly complete the karmic cycle with someone and let the challenges be in the past?
Start by asking yourself this question: if this person was my biggest teacher, what would their lesson for me be right now?
Here’s a powerful, 3-minute guided version that explores this idea of teacher versus enemy that I shared during one of our monthly MSS Community calls:
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#3 – Sometimes, different relationships at the same time of your life will have similar patterns and themes.
That means, you might be facing the same issues over and over again, with different people at the same time. While the reason may be different on the surface, if you look closer, the core lesson could be the same.
For example, you might have a boss that makes you work on weekends and a partner that seems to never get enough of your time. Both people can seem invasive in different ways, but maybe the karmic lesson is for you to learn how to respect your time and create healthier relationship boundaries.
If you don’t get that lesson, you might want to constantly jump from job to job or relationship to relationship.
Other examples of lessons we’re being taught when people fulfill their karmic role towards us:
- One pattern I’ve personally faced in multiple of my challenging soul contracts is learning how to not be a people-pleaser. Me and my clients have worked on this so much, I actually put together a whole article on the topic of overcoming people-pleasing tendencies here!
- If we struggle to accept people without judging them, we might constantly find people around who us you with their weird behaviour! Such as seeming to attract weird encounters with strangers while taking public transit. Maybe all they need is for us to be more open-minded and less judgemental?
- Learning how to not give unsolicited advice when someone refuses to listen to us and their life works out anyway. By the way, giving unsolicited advice is a sign that we are projecting our own fears and beliefs onto someone, versus allowing them to use their own wisdom. So the lesson here could also be: trust people to use their own, innate wisdom.
#4 – In an annoying relationship, YOU may have a karmic debt to this person.
It can seem that some souls have a tougher time living the human experience than others. They may be physically unwell all the time, or have a lot of emotional and mental disturbance. And so, they need help to get by.
Sometimes, we sign up for caretaker roles in others’ lives.
Our contribution is larger than what we are getting in return, it seems. But what does this teach us?
This karmic role helps us understand the importance of giving back, without always being able to receive anything in return. This is a lived experience of the law of Divine Compensation, which says that we get good for all the we put out into the world, but it may not return through the ways we sent it out.
#5 – At a soul-level, nobody is really a bad person.
As difficult as that is to believe when a relationship is potentially damaging to our mental, emotional or even physical health, here’s a thought.
We are the sum of everything that has ever happened to us. Nobody is the way they are without a reason.
We are the result of what we experienced from our parents, society, traumatic events, etc. When hitting our head against the wall about why someone treated us in a certain way, take a moment to think from THEIR perspective. Imagine how little you know about their traumatic experiences from this lifetime, let alone their past lives.
Of course, you may question the heinous acts of crime and how can anyone hold compassion for such people?
And even the most intense courts and jurisdictions like death-row offer a “meal of choice” to the prisoners before their death sentence. Why?
Because when professionals look at the history of such criminals (for instance ACE tests), it’s filled with multiple traumatic events of unimaginable abuse, abandonment, and what-not. Such people are being held accountable for their actions through the court, but they are also granted seen beyond their behaviour, which was a result of their trauma.
As spiritual seekers ourselves, it is our responsibility to not get consumed by the anger that comes with injustice. This is not to say that we are complacent or become a doormat for bad behaviour. But it’s important to learn to use the wisdom of anger to bring change for ourselves and others. If you’re struggling to forgive someone or need support in healing your anger, I’m here for you. You can set time on my calendar for a complimentary consult to explore if working with me would be right for you.
#6 – Someone’s behaviour isn’t about you, it’s about them.
What you are feeling as a consequence of their behaviour, is about you. In this way, they are acting like a mirror to you, to show you what’s inside of you (in a blown up way so you don’t miss the lesson).
For example, whenever you’re on social media, you might find certain people to be superfluous and this might bother you beyond necessary. Every time you look at their photos or activities, you get all charged up with emotion.
In this situation, it helps to understand why you’re triggered. Was this situation even about you? Or was it something you judge in yourself, that you’re judging the other person for? How can you use what you’re seeing as a mirror into your own wounds?
In the same capacity, understand that everything people do is about them, and we really don’t need to take things personally. The more you’re able to do that, the easier it becomes for you to be around even the most odd souls, because you finally get the karmic role they’re playing for you.
So start using the emotions that arise in you to heal your deeper-rooted wounds. Instead of focusing on the question why are they doing this to you, determine why it’s affecting you.
#7 – People’s inability to love you back doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you.
It doesn’t mean you deserve this perpetually.
It also doesn’t mean you love ‘too much’.
A relationship where you feel like you’re losing out, is an invitation for you to go within and ask yourself some of these prompts:
- why you’re seeking love from that person?
- what if you could create that love for yourself, from within?
- and what would your life look like if you could give yourself that love now without waiting for that “loveless person” to love you back?
My reflections: Sometimes, we accept breadcrumbs in the name of love because we might think we aren’t truly worthy of it. So this becomes our chance to work on our self-image, self-worth and self-esteem.
When we can use the different types of rejection from people as a redirection to loving ourselves more, they’ve taught us something we couldn’t have learned on our own.
Yes, none of the lessons from challenging relationships are pleasant, but this is called learning by contrast. A type of spiritual healing that emphasizes how important duality is: you can’t see the light without knowing what darkness is first. That said, I’m not a fan of learning through pain. I do truly wish life was filled with more grace. So I wish for you to have many loving relationships that bring you that healing through joy and kindness!
And whenever that doesn’t happen, remember this: as long as we remind ourselves that everything happens for our spiritual growth, we don’t have to feel stuck or helpless in these relationships.
Read next: why are soul contracts so painful?
Vasundhra is the Founder & Writer of My Spiritual Shenanigans. After seeing 11:11 on the clock one fateful night, her life turned around. Ever since, she has been blending modern psychology and ancient spirituality, to help herself and people around the world elevate the quality of their lives.
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