A woman on a meditation retreat I attended was talking about her need to develop greater equanimity to help her deal with the “difficult people” in her life. So I wrote this prayer for her. It’s been reprinted in a number of publications and much requested since; I share it again here. It’s called…
A Prayer for Difficult People
O God, Creator of difficult people, bless me with the strength, fortitude, wisdom and equanimity of spirit to deal with the difficult people You have placed in my life. Grant me the ability to see the next disaster well enough in advance to dodge, divert, or otherwise disable it before it happens, or at least to minimize its ill effects. May my buttons be hidden from view so that Your difficult people may not so easily press them next time as they have done so very well of late. May You grant sufficient insight to Your difficult people in order that they may come to understand – speedily and in our day – how truly difficult they are, knowing they would surely turn from their difficult ways were they possessed of even the slightest bit of self-awareness. Open the hearts of these Your difficult people to feel compassion for the pain and stress which, sometimes by their actions and oftentimes by their mere demeanor, they have caused in my life, are causing in my life now, and without Your divine intervention seem inevitably ready to cause again. Open their eyes, O God, so that they may see the truth of the situation as You and I, O God, see it: that I am not fundamentally an unhappy person, and that my unhappiness therefore rests with them and with their oh so difficult ways.
O God, Creator of difficult people, it has no doubt come to Your attention (through the prayers of others) in spite of all You know about my good heart, my good intentions, my good work, and my just overall basic goodness that I am myself at the moment considered a difficult person in the life of another one of Your creatures (maybe more; I didn’t get the whole story). Putting aside for the moment the irony of that one, causing pain and suffering is, of course as You know, the last thing I would ever want to do. Help me therefore, O God, to no longer be the difficult person in someone else’s life. Whether through my need to express myself, or my difficulty expressing myself; whether because of my tendency to criticize, or my need to say that everything is OK when it’s not; whether because I am perceived as expecting too much, or expecting too little; whether through my tendency toward compulsiveness, or toward inattentiveness; due to the way I express my anger, or to the way I express my love; whether because I never seem to be there, or because I always seem to be there; whether because of my need for orderliness, or my need for spontaneity; because I feel the need to be alone more these days, or because I feel a greater need to be with people; because I always want to talk, or because I never want to talk; because of the way I express my fear, or because of the way I express my desire. O God, Creator of difficult people, help me – knowing so very well how it feels – help me to not be the difficult person in someone else’s life. Rabbi Mark Sameth
You can download a copy of this prayer—suitable for framing—from our synagogue website.
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Save The Date: Rabbi Mark is teaching “An Introduction to Jewish Meditation” at the 2nd Annual WBR/WJC “Night of Jewish Learning” in New Rochelle, Saturday, Nov. 12. For information check the WJC website.
Rabbi Mark Sameth is the spiritual leader of Pleasantville Community Synagogue (Joyful Judaism!) an inclusive progressive synagogue–with members from twenty towns, villages and cities all across Westchester. Read The New York Times article. Weekly meditation at the synagogue every Saturday morning at 9 am is open to the public. Everyone is welcome and warmly invited.