Having Self-Compassion, When You Are In The Wrong

Good Vs. Bad

Even the best self-compassion practitioners wonder if they are deserving of self-compassion, when they are in the wrong.  I cannot tell you how many times I have heard somebody say, but you don’t understand, I am one of the bad guys.  I understand the reticence here.  To live in a predictably good world, then there must be good people and bad people, and they must be treated accordingly. 

There is just one problem.  Good people do bad things, and bad people do good things.  The truth is that we believe in treating certain people in certain ways to make life feel predictable, and thus safe.  But, life is not predictable, and our harsh position towards other people only finds its way back to us, when we inevitably make a mistake.  This is why our fears of being judged or humiliated are not off base.  We live in a pretty judgmental place, and we continue the cycle of judging, when we characterize people as good or bad.

Of course, I am not advocating that people should look the other way, when harmful behavior occurs.  That would not be compassionate at all.  I am simply saying that we should start from a place of compassion, so that we can get a sense of a response that discontinues rather than highlights the problem for all of us.  You never figure out the right way to go by focusing on where you have gone wrong.  You just become more knowledgeable about the wrong way.

A Quick Guide To Self-Compassion, When You Find Yourself In The Wrong

When you find yourself beginning to translate the world through this good and bad lens, notice this response.  Acknowledge that you come by it naturally, and give yourself compassion for wanting to understand the world in a way that makes your safety more predictable.  Then, be really kind to yourself, and see what action or perspective might ameliorate the situation if that is what is required or simply to understand it, if that is enough.  

Growth And The Good Life

Soon, you will find that you are a little bit more evolved and compassionate in your thinking, and when you are the person responsible for making a mistake, you will have the capacity to respond with compassion.  That is, after all, how we both grow, and live a good life.  Much like the dog that chews our shoes, while we are at work, we understand that he is lonely, and that we need to teach him about shoes.  We need his love, and he needs ours.  Lecturing a dog on how he is bad is like lecturing macaroni for being too hard.  The situation does not improve, and neither does your mood.  Choose compassion instead, for others, and for you.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 202.  In The Books.