Is Begrudging Compassion Still Compassion?

It seems that The Universe is giving me a strong message lately. I am being given opportunities in which I’m being asked to extend compassion to someone in my life. Someone who, in the not so distant past, wasn’t exactly willing or eager to extend the same kindnesses to me. Someone who, in recent years, has caused me a great deal of hurt and heartache.

And yet, here is The Universe, asking me – not so subtly, I might add – to show this individual kindness, understanding and compassion. And yes, I am honoring this request as much as humanly possible. I would like to be able to say that I’m doing it with dignity and grace. While I outwardly appear to be doing exactly that, the truth is that a small bit of bitterness remains. There is a part of me that says, “Why should you do anything for this person? X years ago, did this person do the same for you? Of course they didn’t. Now it’s time to get your revenge!” Not that I’m going to do that, but the temptation lingers.

I was taught to believe (from somewhere, though I’m not entirely sure where) that showing compassion would be this wonderful freeing feeling.  That I would be emotionally buoyed up by my own good works. That maybe I could then sit back with even a little bit of smugness, knowing that I was “doing the right thing”. And this is the perfect opportunity for that, now isn’t it? I get to do the right thing, even if the person I’m doing it for turned away from similar opportunities in the past.

I’ll admit it. I’m being kind of an asshole. I’m doing what’s right….taking even a small risk for myself in doing it, and instead of feeling a quiet sense of peace I’m saying (if even only on the inside) “Hey!! Look at me!! I’m so much better than you!! You’d better appreciate this!!” So yes I’m being compassionate, but it is grudgingly, while somewhat carefully counting my opportunities to do the opposite. Is it really compassion when you’re keeping score?

I’m not sure that this is what The Universe had in mind when it was doling out life lessons.

4 Responses

  1. Well…it’s a start!

  2. Ugh. I hear you on this. I have been doing that lately too…doing ‘good things; but then half-expecting some sort of praise in return, as if it is my only motivation to do it. When it shouldn’t be that way. I guess it happens to the best of us sometimes?

  3. I think, in the end you’re still ahead of the game. You’re not only being compassionate, which in itself other’s in your position might not do, but you’re aware of how you’re feeling about it all and you’re being honest with yourself.

    I say keep on doing what you’re doing, and well done!

  4. That’s tough. I think we all do that to some degree Um… fake it til you make it? Maybe?

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