Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Daily Reflections: Compassion versus Justification

I think that I am becoming more aware as well as clearer about the fact that there is a difference between being compassionate for another person's position and what they do because of that position and taking the next step which is saying just because I have compassion I accept it.

Compassion is a good trait; it allows me to wish healing for others, even those who harm me.  However I do not have to use that feeling of compassion to justify hurtful actions. While I can feel compassion for the unresolved issues the person harming me may be experiencing, it remains unacceptable that they do the harm to me.  

Whereas compassion is a good way to feel towards those that have hurt me, justifying their action is not alright, because justification devalues me as the victim of their hurtful actions.  Compassion does not extend to excusing bad behaviour.

I can use all kinds of words to "justify" actions, to make excuses for wrong doing. I can take even take on responsibility for maybe not handling difficult situations better. However, if I can take full responsibility for my own actions I also have the right to expect the other person to take responsibility for their actions. 

I have to remember, however, that justification poses the risk of going down a slippery slope. It takes me to a place where I accept bad behaviour simply because I can find a reason to justify it. If I were to justify a choice of bad behaviour based on extenuating circumstances then there is the danger of going down the path that I deserved wrongful actions of others, simply because I can give justifying excuses.  There is no justifying bad behaviour. 

If I have core values, if I fundamentally believe in the basic concept that I am not to be treated with disrespect, that I am not to be taunted with name calling or with emotionally abusive actions or with manipulative controlling bullying behaviour, then by extension I have the right to personal boundaries.   I have the right to not accept or excuse bad behaviour.  I have the right to point out behaviours that are inappropriate.  Pointing out behaviours that case me harm is not judgmental, it is simply stating a fact that a certain behavious caused me hurt.  I am not asking the other person to change, I am simple acknowledging that the action towards me was inappropriate and that I do not have to accept such behaviour.  I can choose to walk away.

While I am prepared to be compassionate I am not willing to justify other people’s inexcusable actions.  

While I can feel compassionate for their circumstances I cannot use that compassion to exonerate their actions.  As much as being compassionate is a positive virtue, and one I wish to cultivate, I will not do so at the expense of self-compassion, which recognizes that I too have a fundamental right to being treated well.

Renate Dundys Marrello
 2016 – 08 – 15

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1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to say Thank You ! You have expressed so beautifully, all that I was sorting through. Most helpful to see that I am not unique in my feelings and course of action.