We have all felt stressed at work. There are those awful days when everything seems to go wrong, when miscommunication is rampant, and we just cannot seem to get along with a boss, colleague, subordinate, or client. Because it is our second home, we tend to replicate the family dynamics and relationships we have with our parents and siblings, while in the workplace. Furthermore we unknowingly expect those we work with to reciprocate and to treat us the same way. Since the environment of work is different from that of our own homes, the result can be aggravating and upsetting.
How then do we deal with people in our workplaces that we do not get along with? In the Gospel of St. Matthew, our Lord teaches what we must do as Christians, which is to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Fr. James Martin, S.J., once wrote that when our Lord asked us to love our enemies, he did not mean that we have to love them in the same way as when we fall in love with someone, or in the way we love our families. What the Lord means is that “we must open our hearts to them no matter what they do to us, no matter how they treat us, and no matter how they insult us.” We must never allow bitterness against them to invade our hearts, and instead treat them with goodwill.
“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered; forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives, be kind anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may cheat you; be honest and sincere anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous; be happy anyway. The good you do today, may be forgotten tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough; give your best anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
-Attributed to St. Teresa of Calcutta