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Using your difficult relationships as yoga

I became a yoga teacher because I sometimes used to feel... barking mad. I earned a PHD in numbing myself, especially when I was ruminating or dealing with "difficult" people. We feel our mind and body contract when this occurs.

So the yoga journey began, I worked hard on fostering a better relationship with myself and others and got rid of what no longer served me.

In with the good, out with the bad.

But the trap to identify here is when our inner work and recycling of our social circles can become somewhat narcisstic.

When personal development becomes an endeavour of creating a strong individual self, only fulfilling our own needs. (example: only leaning into circles where we feel good or "comfortable" with ourselves.)

A challenging exercise to begin with is assessing the state of our DIFFICULT relationships and how we deal with them. (And boy do I struggle here)

Have a long think about relationships where you may be struggling with feelings of false expectation resulting in resentment or worse yet, indifference & avoidance.

(think family, the workplace, difficult friendships, people with opposite political views?)

Here's a scenario to help illustrate

I start to show up for myself finally I drink green juices I meditate I go to yoga classes & yoga retreats and I "feel centred & grounded ". These people "get" me. But as I re-enter the "real world" with other people , I am triggered. I contract. I.E: When my colleagues motor mouth or kids demand attention 24/7, when I am dealing with Belgian customer service, when my family treat me like I have 5 brain cells , when my boss does not hear me, when people challenge my views or worse yet....when people do not treat me how I feel I should be treated!

I take WELLBEING self-empowered ACTION

  • I take "self care" ruthlessly

  • I have clear, hard boundaries

  • Get rid of toxic people/situations

I created a distance between "those people" and "ME", an imagined identity.

The problem

However, have we confused "self care" with passive-aggressive avoidance or self entitlement? There is ZERO compassion here.

Ghosting, not saying what we really think or pushing people/situations away that make us uncomfortable are in fact common child wound behaviours in the digital and real world today that create a sense of SEPERATENESS or DEFENSIVENESS from eachother.

I am not saying we need to sing KUMBAYA around the Christmas tree with everyone but how do we deal/relate with others we have difficulty with?

The depth of some relationships flourish from coming together after disagreement or better yet, leaning in when it becomes DIFFICULT. (for the relationships that matter ofcourse)

When we create a feeling of SEPERATENESS from others, this in turn makes" those people" or usfeel judged, depressed and anxious. There is nothing peaceful about this.

Where do I try to go from here? (trust me I am struggling with this every day)


Treat others how you would want to be treated yourself.

Remain accountable to self no matter what. Even it means saying the "uncomfortable" with kindness. U don't have to be friends with everyone but u can interact with respect.


Listening has been the most powerful tool when I am in uncomfortable conversations. Some people just need to be heard. It also gives us the space to look at it from THEIR perspective. This creates connection. Not easy when triggered but what a great exercise : -)

People become aware when they are arguing alone. I am not saying to agree with everyone but choose your battles and listen when triggered. If boundaries are still crossed, you have done your best.

3) Loving Kindness Meditation

A profound buddhist meditation which can be found on countless apps is a great practise for wishing loving kindness feelings to those we have a somewhat difficult relationship with. This method teaches us to recognise that every being on earth has a desire and deserves to be free from suffering such as yourself. (hello compassion!) This has been one of the most powerful meditation tools in helping me navigate difficult relationships and to expand my mind. (Still hard for me)


Our time here is limited.Some day, we all face the same fate, but there is a silver lining here.

If we knew that we had exactly ONE DAY left to live. Would you even worry about these difficult relationships? I realised that it's all a PROJECTION of your own mind and EGO; So let it go, forgive however best you can. Loving Kindness Meditation anyone?

Thanks for reading. I am immensely grateful for your time.

Keep moving, Keep shaking,

Mike :-)


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