It’s a philosophy that brings together fierceness, both in the pursuit of the truth (ruthless) and in our interactions with others, and loving-kindness (compassion) toward ourselves and others.
Over the years, I’ve found that too many of us struggle to see the truth about ourselves and the people in our lives, because we can’t help criticizing ourselves over the things that we see.
When we recognize that we’ve been making bad choices, or that we’ve gotten involved with hurtful people, we feel bad about ourselves. We’d rather not feel this way, so we avoid seeing the truth.
If we aren’t able to see the truth about ourselves and the people in our lives, it’s impossible to make necessary changes in ourselves and in our relationships.
Because of our tendency toward harsh self-criticism, many of us never get the chance to make better choices, to grow and evolve and to be the best we could be. We miss out on the opportunity to improve our relationships and have a better life, in general.
What I appreciate about ruthless compassion is that it allows us to see ourselves clearly and to face the truth about the people in our lives without beating ourselves up. With ruthless compassion, we see things with clarity, but with kindness.
With this philosophy, we can face the mistakes we’re making and not be too hard on ourselves. After all, the point of seeing the truth isn’t to criticize ourselves but to have the opportunity to improve.
We can face the truth about the people in our lives, even if this truth is painful or embarrassing. We can acknowledge that we’re in an abusive relationship, for example, without feeling too much shame.
We can recognize, perhaps, that one or both parents were hurtful, without feeling guilty about this awareness, or we can see that some of our friends are more like frenemies, and not feel like a loser, because of it.
Ruthless compassion empowers us to face our problems and challenges and deal with them. It helps us to understand what we’re doing and why, without the negative self-talk that would prevent us from evolving.
This philosophy enables us to be assertive; to speak our truth, set clear limits with others and not tolerate disrespect. With an attitude of fierceness, we don’t allow anyone to mess with us and we don’t enable anyone’s destructive (or self-destructive) behaviour.
For example, if our spouse is an alcoholic, it means not cleaning them up and making everything okay for them after every binge. Otherwise, they never learn how bad it is for them (and us) that they’re abusing alcohol.
It means that if our sibling, let’s say, is being hurtful to us, we tell them that their behaviour is unacceptable. It also means walking away from this sibling if they respond in any other way than reasonably to our request for better treatment.
Being fierce but kind means that loving someone has nothing to do with tolerating hurtful or disrespectful behaviour from them. It shows us that we’re entitled to courtesy and consideration, and if the other person can’t give us these things, they don’t deserve to be in a relationship with us.
Practicing ruthless compassion means giving up being a people-pleaser. It teaches us that it’s more important to be kind (thoughtful, caring, considerate) than nice (trying too hard to get others to like and approve of us).
This philosophy helps us to see that kind people won’t judge us and that the unkind ones don’t matter. We care less about what other people think about us and we take more responsibility for our own identity and self-worth. We’re focused on being the best we can be, rather than on what we think other people want us to be.
With this philosophy, we can access our “inner warrior.” This isn’t the aggressive part of ourselves but rather, the truly empowered part. We can speak our minds, and say “no” when we need to. We can set strong limits and walk away from those who don’t treat us the way we deserve to be treated.
This philosophy helps us to be happier, because we’re taking good care of ourselves, tolerating less mistreatment from others, and always growing and improving.
It helps us to be more comfortable in our own skin and more easy-going with others, because we have nothing to prove and because we trust ourselves to take care of ourselves.
Ruthless compassion. I highly recommend it.
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