Q: Dear Gurudev, how to manage a woman who is irritated at me for everything! Please help, I love her very much.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I am so inexperienced in this matter! You are asking a wrong person!
What do you do with a person who is irritated at you, and you love them so much? I guess you have to just accept it, and simply move on.
There is a story of a gentleman who was so bothered by his wife. Everything she did, was the opposite of what he wanted. If he said, 'I do not want to eat pasta today', she ensured he had only pasta that day.
If he said, 'I don’t like blue jeans’, she made sure that she wore blue jeans that day.
Anything he asked of her, she did just the opposite. If he said, 'I don’t want to go out', she would say, 'No, I want to go out'. When he would want to go out, she would say, 'I don't want to step out of the house!'
He was so bothered, so worried, and had a very long face.
One morning, as he went for a walk, he bumped into a Guru. The Guru asked him, 'My dear, are you happy? You don’t look happy. What do you want?'
The man said, 'I have a big problem. Anything I say, my wife does just the opposite.’
So the wise man whispered something in his ears.
Three months later, as the man was walking happily one morning, he bumped into the Guru again. The Guru said, 'Hey, you look happier!'
He said, 'Yes, your trick worked.’
Now what was the trick?
The Guru advised him, 'Don’t speak your heart to your wife. Whatever you want, say the opposite of it! If you want to go out, tell her that you don’t want to step out of the house. If you want apple pie, tell her not to make apple pie. If you don’t want her to wear blue jeans, tell her to wear blue jeans that day.’
The man said to the Guru, 'I did what you said, and it worked. I say the opposite of everything I want, and we are happy now'.
Similarly, you find out what would make her happy, and keep her from getting irritated.
Sometimes, it becomes people’s nature to be irritated. They keep complaining, come what may. No matter what you do, they will find something to complain about. Especially after they cross the age of 70 or 80, it is even more. Since all their life they have programmed their mind and brain in such a manner - complain, complain, complain, and complain. Then it becomes the prominent behavioral pattern in their life.
You simply have to swallow it. Accept it. And don’t try to please them.
Your biggest difficulty is that you try to please people, when they are actually happy in their complaining mode. You try to change them, make them happy, and it doesn’t work! You should simply let them do what they want, but don’t let their complaints enter into your head. You don’t complain that they are complaining. Got it? At any cost, save your mind.
If others are complaining, let it be! If you cannot correct them, you simply accept them, and move on.
See there isn’t much time! Everything is moving towards the final end; we are all moving towards death. How long can you go on trying to placate somebody? That does not mean you be rude to anybody. You be nice to people, however, don't get stuck, ‘Oh, they are irritated, what do I do?’ You can’t do much! Keep walking!
I find this problem everywhere, in every part of the world. Almost in every home, there is somebody who irritates everybody, and everybody gets irritated by somebody. Then there is a war of words. That is why I said the world is such! That is why it is called maya, it appears to be something, and it is really not that.