What is ruthless compassion?

Ruthless compassion is a philosophy consisting of two seeming contradictions. It combines a loving compassion with a fierce warrior, and that's exactly why it works.

Many of us today misunderstand mercy as an "excellence" attitude, where we feel obliged to take care of others at their own expense, endure disrespect, and even accept their other behaviors. We believe that we cannot be "hurt" or "rude" to others, even if this means leaving our own needs and feelings. We forgive invincible and believe that all this is a good person.

In fact, true compassion has nothing to do with being good and everything that needs to be done by doing right for ourselves and others. It is about being loving but powerful, as opposed to tolerance and forgiveness, and this is where the mercy comes.

Philosophy I propose allows us to care for ourselves at the same time as caring for others. It is about not being able to get away with their painful or degrading behavior, but allow them to experience the consequences of their choices and thus have the opportunity to learn. This is a far child but allowing them to constantly repeat their mistakes.

These philosophers encourage us to do so rather than believe it means "consciously" because the best way to learn about the people in our lives is to monitor their response to our needs and feelings.

Ruthless compassion supports us in developing self-love and self-confidence and not protecting others from the natural consequences of their choice. For example, if we clean up our alcoholic spouses and plug them into beds every time they binge, they will never learn that their drink has consequences or has been encouraged to change.

Our misunderstanding of compassion benefits no one, but ruthless compassion is much more loving, even if others are unhappy with the consequences they face. In reality, neglect of cruelty is the neglect, but the philosophy of affectionate affairs lowers it.

We wrongly believe that forgiveness is essential in life, but I think this is not always possible or necessary. What is necessary can be omitted. When someone has hurt or betrayed us, it cannot be our forgiveness, but we can release our anger and pain after we have recognized the value of our experience. Forcing us to forgive when we cannot (and should not) cause us any further pain.

If one wishes, wishes and promises to do better, we may choose to forgive, but it is not necessary. It may be that we forgive them not only for what they need to encourage them to really change. As long as we do not have to bear bitterness, resentment, or vengefulness in our hearts, we do not have to forgive them for their sake or for our own.

Ruthless compassion is about taking the position of strength in our lives. It says, "No more!" exploitation, disrespect, and cruelty. To practice it means being safer in the world and with this sense of security it is much easier to be happy and peaceful by knowing that we will cope with whatever is left.

(C) Marcia Sirota MD 2010


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