THE FIVE MYTHS OF COMPASSION
Myth 1. Being compassionate means rolling over and giving people what they want.
Compassion requires courage. Compassion is intelligent, unconventional, unpredictable. On occasions it’s even accused of being outrageous! By trusting our own compassion, we extend and engender trust in others to do the same. Compassion demands that we take action, whether popular or not.
Myth 2. Compassion is all to do with judgement, and being righteous.
Whenever we link compassion with ‘rightness’ we have to involve judgement. We then enter the domain of righteousness, and very easily this can then become self-righteousness. Only when judgement is absent can there be unconditional acceptance – which surely is what compassion is all about? At its core, compassion heals through joining; and in doing so, it assumes a mindset of wholeness and rejects fragmentation and comparison.
Myth 3. Compassion is logical.
The constancy of compassion defies worldly logic, and so to attempt applying common logic to compassion is futile, other than to say it is synonymous with truth. Compassion is our true nature, yet we often forget this. Truth is permanent in nature; if it was temporary and not lasting, it would not be true. And so compassion, being true, is permanent, resilient, and durable. It is always available from within us, regardless of what’s happening in our lives. Compassion never leaves us; its presence is constant. Although our fears, anxieties, frustrations, and anger cause us to question the reality and logic of this, compassion is always there.
Myth 4. Compassion makes promises.
Compassion reminds us that we’re enough just the way we are. It remains in the present, accepting us unconditionally, and therefore sees no need to make future promises. Its gift is therefore not a future promise, but a present reality. Because compassion is ‘extended through’ and not ‘given by’, it makes no demands. It also has no need of being liked or liking another. Compassion is impersonal; it has no ego.
Myth 5. Compassion is measured by suffering and loss.
There are no degrees or levels of compassion; it’s a mindset and an attitude which does not differentiate or aim to score points. Whilst we are always able to find compassion beneath personal suffering and loss, compassion can emerge in every situation. Importantly, compassion is a shared acknowledgement of the challenges of life and a caring intention and as such calls us to often courageous action.