Learning to live with others

QUESTION: Masters, downstairs is an Arab who oftentimes hammers and drills during nights. This is literally driving me insane, because I´m bipolar and need my sleep to remain balanced. He and his family consistently ignore my requests for consideration. On the other hand they won’t tolerate anybody annoying them in any way, and intimidate everybody around into submission. How to deal with tyrants like that? How do I find a way to coexist with others in a way that feels meaningful? In general I don´t enjoy the company of others, and avoid people. How to get a life that feels worth living? ~Maria, Denmark

ANSWER: Living on the planet is a constant compromise of your wishes competing with those of the people around you. When you need to experience a life lesson, it will be drawn to you. Your current living condition is all about your life, what you learn from it, and what you don’t learn from it.

When you share walls, floors, and ceilings with others you do not have control over your environment. You can never get others to do anything they do not choose to do. Complaining to the parties or the landlord will be useless unless they are sympathetic to your condition and agree they have an obligation to comply with your wishes.

The more you fixate on the noise, the louder it will become. The more upset you get over their inconsideration, the more troubled you will feel. You are letting the intensity elevate because of your socialization difficulties. To help modify this situation, try to desensitize yourself to people.

There are people who experience life as you do. Look for them. Share coping skills. Learn to self-hypnotize to block out noises. Try going to an exercise class to help you get rid of the stress that makes all noises impact your body. Find the self-love you are running away from by working on the problem rather than complaining. Your life will improve dramatically.