Being Compassionate Toward Others {Not To Be Confused with a Doormat}

Yogi tea reminder for the day: Meet my own needs for honor.

I have been dealing with a family that I assumed was normal and was trying to be compassionate with. It turns out they are sociopaths with no conscience. ;) How can we be compassionate without being taken advantage of? – A Facebook Sistah

Ah, boundaries come to mind first.

Compassionate doesn’t mean sacrificial. Compassion includes yourself. It means seeing beneath another person’s behaviors to the pain or fear or (tragic) attempts to meet their needs. It means choosing to see them with empathy, to understand what brought them to this place. And sometimes it means compassionately saying “no” or “I love you and I’m not okay with this” or stepping away, removing yourself from something that is hurting you or others.

Even “sociopaths” are human beings with a long history of hurt or fear and no other tools, still doing the best they can, even if that’s not very wonderful at this point. Whether it’s your job to help them or simple love them is the question. if it’s not your place to help them, it is still compassionate to walk away…without judgment or labeling, or anger, or throwing more pain into the mix. But just simply, with love, saying “no more”.

There is probably a lot more to the work we get to do in situations like this. Things to DIG IN to. Empathy to practice. Hurt and expectations to examine. Judgment and reactions to release. But I think, for most of us, establishing boundaries that allow us to do that work comes first.

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