Let me dig into the concept of practicing compassion: at least, how it works for me. Oh, I’ve read many different articles and books on the practice of compassion, and yes, they explain how. But the reality? It’s much more than a simple sentence of “try to find the good in everyone”. It’s more like a gut-wrenching, dig-down-deep, fuck-I-hate-what-this-person-is-saying/doing, dig-down-deeper to get a feel of where they might be coming from. And by gosh-golly, guess what – if I look just a little harder, I can see where I do/have done that same annoying thing, too. I can see the pain/fear where these annoying things stem from. This practice, it can feel as physically taxing as picking up a shovel and digging a 3-foot deep hole in the ground. It’s WORK, people! It’s not the “think nice thoughts” kind of thing, no. That’s only surface, and perhaps if you’re new to the practice, it’s as good a place as any to start. But soon you’ll find that the “think nice thoughts” is being done behind clenched teeth, that you’re not really feeling any compassion, just giving yourself some self-righteous mind-fuckery. That’s when the Practice, the Work begins.
And compassion? It doesn’t mean finding the means to let people walk all over you. At this point in my practice, it’s about finding the common humanity so I can react from a place of recognition and ease instead of knee-jerk reaction: “I know what you’re doing. We all do it. I do it too. But that does not mean I’m willing to be abused for that recognition. ‘Here’ is the boundary. ‘That’ is the expected behavior to work through this with me. Be at peace.” No clenched teeth. No seething. I am at peace, too.
Compassion: it’s a practice, and a fucking pain in the ego/ass. And it’s part of the Work.