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Compassion Doesn't Always Mean Being "Nice"

“I really try to be compassionate and understand where people are coming from” said another friend as we walked down the street on a bright, sunny Aspen afternoon. “But I lost it the other day. There are throngs of pandemic refugees in town. Some are behaving quite badly. There was a guy speeding recklessly through my neighborhood. I blocked him with my vehicle, put down the window and yelled that there are pedestrians, children, and pets on my street, and he cannot do that anymore! His teenaged son was sitting in the front seat. When I finished, my neighbors gave me a standing ovation! He needed to hear that what he was doing was not o.k.!” “Yes” I agreed, “and you needed to say it.” Compassion supports the well-being of ourselves and others. This chaotic time is certainly delivering extra opportunities to exercise our compassion muscles, isn’t it? However, being compassionate isn't the same as being nice. Compassion doesn't mean condoning incongruency. It does, however, mean coming from the heart. Sometimes it’s necessary to call out certain behaviors. When doing so, it’s also important to honor the divine being-ness that remains present within the person, regardless of their behavior. Honoring others’ being-ness helps us remain connected to our own being, the source of peace and balance. Don’t demonize your strong feelings. Honor and embrace the fact that darkness, as well as light, is part of being human. Compassion for ourselves and others moves us back into the light.