The habit of lashing out lies deep within us all. Our fuse tends to be very short, and it is almost impossible to stop ourselves once we start to explode. If we try to squelch the explosion, it will only implode. We have to train ourselves to prevent the explosion from taking place at all.

One approach is to realize that allowing ourselves to be insulted by someone's words is like being fooled by an echo. If someone tells us that the piece of gold we own is nothing but an ugly rock, that doesn't make the gold any less valuable. If a hundred people tell us that the rock on our table is a beautiful piece of gold, that doesn't make it any more valuable. People may insult us, but that doesn't mean their words are any truer than words of praise. Whether we're praised or blamed makes no difference; it doesn't change us one way or the other. Instead, we should tell ourselves that words are no more than the sound of wind over vocal chords.

We can remind ourselves that an irate person's words and actions are impermanent. Someone who is our friend today may have been our enemy in another lifetime. Our current enemy was formerly a friend or kind parent. In any case, his words are different now than they were yesterday and will be tomorrow.

Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche in Change of Heart by Lama Shenpen Drolma, ed.