It’s time we had an honest, heartfelt conversation about compassion. Yes, that warm and fuzzy, touchy-feely word we associate with goodness… NOT. Compassion is not those things. Compassion is mostly disabling and dysfunctional.
Not to throw the baby out with the bathwater here, compassion is a natural and probably useful feeling for the hopelessly and terminally ill, the hopelessly depressed aged and abused children too young to take charge of their lives. In all other cases it really doesn’t serve us or the recipients we feel compassionate toward.
Compassion, by definition (not mine), is a feeling wrought with pity and feeling sorry for. If you are a person who has, let’s say, just spanked your child and are now telling me about it and feeling remorse, how does it serve you for me to compassionately collude with you by saying “we all make mistakes sometimes,” or “don’t beat yourself up over that, he’ll forget about it soon enough,” or “everyone spanks their child sometimes.” Such responses, for sure, might make you feel better. Do they help you? No!
When I am feeling remorse or troubled over an action I’ve taken, as in this example, I want to change my thinking and future action so I don’t feel this way again. I want to never resort to spanking my child again. I want to figure out why I did this in the first place – identify the trigger(s) – and plan for a different course of future action that will have me feeling strong and empowered, not weak and remorseful. I am not nearly as spurred to challenge myself in this way when others are compassionately reinforcing me to maintain the status quo.
I want to replace compassion with responsibility. When you tell me you have spanked your child and are feeling badly about it, I want to say “why did you spank him? how do you feel about it? what might you do differently next time you are triggered?” I am willing to take personal responsibility for posing questions and listening to the responses and carefully assisting in dissecting the thought and action involved in the situation that has caused dissonance/discomfort. I am willing to take personal responsibility because I believe we really are all ONE contiguous human energetic: I am part of all the good and all the less than good thought and action that takes place everywhere, all the time. This feeling of ONENESS comes from what I believe to be true: LOVE, and only LOVE, is the center of everything good and useful and powerful and right in the world. I show my love by being responsible, not compassionate.
Well said! I feel exactly the same on this. Are we not here to support each other? Support is not collusion in misery or negative action. Support is encouraging one another to be our best, to feel good, strong, and empowered. This applies to anyone who has the ability to make choice- that’s just about everyone! Making excuses for people does not help them nor does it support our own journey. By giving in to the negative energetic, we are, in fact, dropping our own positive intention and caving to that feeling of powerlessness. We’ve relinquished our personal integrity to what is ‘easy’ or ‘standard’ in going to that place with that person but we have not done either of us a service. As people who are connected, we give the most by engaging in active listening and problem solving with those around us. Many times I have found that these exchanges are powerful learning experiences for the both parties.
Compassion is often a lazy response. It’s easier just to give someone an emotionally disabling pat on the back and move on with our busy lives. It’s easier to think of people who are making poor decisions or none at all and feel ‘sorry’ for them. What are you saying about your own ability to make choice if you are not of the mind that we all have that power? That you are superior? Or maybe that you don’t truly believe in the power of choice at all? Take time and replace compassion with true, responsible love. We all grow.
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