It's easy to judge...
It's easy to judge. It's more difficult to understand. Understanding requires compassion, patience, and a willingness to believe that good hearts sometimes choose poor methods. Through judging, we separate. Through understanding, we grow. -Doe Zantamata
A lot of people think compassion comes only towards people we know, or to people suffering poverty or a great misfortune. But the truth is, compassion could be everywhere, to everyone, all the time. This wouldn't make for all of us sobbing or allowing people to be irresponsible because we know their sad stories. On the contrary, it would dissolve so much of the anger and misunderstanding that we encounter.
What we focus on grows. Do we want to grow anger, or do we want to grow compassion?
Without having compassion, we can tend to take things personally that have nothing to do with us. We can then become defensive or offended and return the exact energy towards the person that was directed to us. That is usually anger in some form.
Think about physical wounds, or even sunburn. If you lightly tap someone on the back not knowing they have a sunburn, it hurts them. Not so much the tap itself, or even the intention of the tap, but the pain of the burn. Their anger would then not go towards the sun, but to you.
Emotional and mental wounds are no different. If you tap one, you're going to be the target of anger. But if you don't know they are reacting to actual pain they are feeling, you will likely become defensive and tell them they are overreacting. While it is true, they are overreacting, they are reacting to the exact degree of the pain that has been tapped.
Now here's the important thing. When you're the target of anger that wasn't actually your fault, having compassion doesn't mean you instantly melt and coddle them when they blow up and absorb that anger and walk on eggshells in the future to avoid ever tapping any sort of anger in them again. What that would do is give them someone to blame for their pain -- you -- and it would cause you to lose your ability to be comfortable in speaking in any sort of capacity out of fear of angering them. It would eventually destroy your peace of mind.
Having compassion means to understand. To understand it isn't you, and to understand it is them in pain, not them as a person. It means not to absorb their anger, but not to lash back, either.
You may be able to communicate with them a boundary; that you are not going to be the target of their anger. They may not be aware enough or ready to hear that. They may not want to address and heal their own wounds and may instead seek another person who they can target and blame and vent their anger out on. That's not up to you. You can't start or speed up that process in any other person besides yourself.
The problem is, pain feels real and it feels present moment when it happens. To be able to discern when it's actually an appropriate reaction versus when it's an overreaction to present day circumstances and is tied to pain from the past takes real skill. For other people and also for you. Intuition and awareness, especially of past patterns can help. If something seems to be happening "again" but with a new person, it likely has something to do with your old wound being recreated or projected or a bit of both. Dismantling an old reality and creating a new one is work and requires honesty, patience and persistence, as well as time.
If it's happening in a close relationship, it's going to affect you more. If it's a stranger who made a snide remark or a person you barely know, you can likely assume it's got nothing to do with you and not feed it any energy in return nor let it ruin your day. Just understanding that this is a person you've come across who is wounded can be enough to dissolve any anger you may feel within as a reaction and prevent it from coming out and making things worse for everyone.
Always keep in mind that everyone has a story. Everyone has pain. Have compassion for yourself and seek to understand your own pain and patterns and heal them. That is your work and will make your life better. You'll react less and be able to have closer relationships and more pleasant exchanges with strangers. You won't be as reactive to situations or people in the news who mirror your own buried pain. You'll be able to recognize better when your pain is being tapped and less sucked into old battles with ghosts who you're accidentally projecting onto the faces of present day people who have no idea what's going on. Nobody likes to do work for no reason but there is a big reason here. It will make your life and the lives of everyone around you better.
- Doe Zantamata
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