This is a big issue that has surfaced again and again. I am often told, "you are too nice" or "why would you do something nice for someone who isn't being nice to you?" The answer is simple....because it is the right thing to do. I'm often asked why I don't "fight back" when someone is treating me unfairly. ( and, for the record, sometimes I DO feel the need to....depending on the severity of the issue.) However, usually I remain constant and true to MY values and my beliefs. I can not change the actions of others. I am only responsible for my OWN actions/reactions. If I react with compassion, then I can face myself in the mirror each day knowing that I am doing what is right and just. I can choose how to react to someone who is being unkind. Choosing compassion releases me from the game of pettiness and fear. I now become an observer...releasing the outcome by knowing I held firm to my truth.
So does being compassionate make one a doormat? On the contrary. There is great strength in compassion. It doesn't take much personal strength or resolve to return hatred. Actually, it is often HARDER to look upon another person with love when he/she is least lovable. I don't, however, have to engage in pettiness or hatred....I can speak my truth and walk away. But I also need not stoop to a level lacking compassion.
I had a long discussion with a friend once about the idea of "too much compassion". What does that mean exactly? My friend contended that one can be "too nice" , "too forgiving" or "too compassionate". "How can you continue to give," she asked, "when you are getting NOTHING in return?" AH! The answer lies within the very question. So I answered with a question of my own...."why should I expect something in return?" My friend looked at me bemused and replied "well, because you are being so nice!!!" EXACTLY. I am not responsible for the actions of others....only for the actions I choose to make. I am responsible for my own acts of compassion, not for those of others. Therefore, I am doing what is morally correct for MY compass, for my own truth. Each individual has his or her own truth...mine is to be kind and compassionate. ( of course, being human, I often fall short...but that is another blog entry..LOL)
So how, then, can one be compassionate yet not feel resentful when that compassion is not returned? RELEASE EXPECTATIONS. If your compassion is tied to an outcome, then it is not true compassion. It is easier to give compassionately when we give simply for the act of giving/loving....rather than seeking reciprocation. It is nice when compassion is reciprocal....but again, I am not the keeper of another's choices. I am only responsible for my own. The next time you do something kind and compassionate for someone, ask yourself if you are expecting something in return. If you are, acknowledge this and release it. When you give compassionately for you OWN sake...then you are able to release expectations of others.
I do not believe that there is such a thing as "too much compassion" or being "too kind". I believe being kind is always the right choice.....regardless of the outcome.
"Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but manifestations of strength and resolution” ~Kahlil Gibran
“Kindness is never wasted. If it has no effect on the recipient, at least it benefits the bestower.” ~ S.H. Simmons