Can Compassion be Aggressive? #1000Speak

by - September 26, 2016

As a teenager, I used to give a lot of cards.
Birthday cards, friendship cards, 'simply for no reason' cards... you name it. I actually had a whole bag of them with me, ready to whip out and use at a moment's notice. For friends, I was the go-to guy to get a card at the last moment. For me, giving cards was a genuine expression of respect, friendship and love. I liked the set of people around me and I was not scared to let them know how I felt, ably aided by Hallmark.
A single act by someone who used my cards against me destroyed this quirk in me. But we will talk about that at the end of this post.

Before that, I want to go out of the light and into the darkness with you for a moment.
The theme for this month's #1000Speak is 'Inherent Compassion'.
Is compassion something that exists within all of us? Passed on perhaps from generation to generation? The generous and pious father implying that the daughter too is definitely going to grow up to be kind?
Yes or no? Choose one of the two in your mind before you continue.
Done? Now let us flip that question around a bit.


Are violent tendencies inherent?
Rapes, murders - are these qualities that exist within each of us too? Do they lie inside, dormant and waiting? We see the rich & poor do it, the privileged family and the down trodden too. Caste, religion and colour don't seem to give a clear demarcation either. Does that mean that the capability to rape is inherent within us too?

Suddenly you are unsure of your answer. You want to believe you are capable of the best yet say no to the possibility of the alternative. It is nothing more than a 'if God exists, so must the Devil' analogy and yet you hesitate to accept the possibility that you or the one you love the most may be capable of the most inhuman of acts.

Inherent? I believe we are all bits and pieces of every possibility... we are a hundred hues of ever-changing grays more than just white or black. An inherently good person is capable of a monstrous act when circumstances push them to it. An inherently horrible fiend is capable of a moment of compassion when something lights a candle within his dark soul.

And that is why I think we need more than a village to raise a child in today's world.
It is not enough anymore to passively partake of an act of kindness when you come across the opportunity on the street. It is time to go out and actively build a wall of compassion, drowning out the haters and bigots.

The worst acts - rape, murder with forethought - are about power. The worst acts involve the aggressive dehumanization of a fellow being using leverage without remorse.
It is time for the best too to be aggressive in re-humanizing our fellow beings using compassion and being remorseless about it.



A single manipulation ended my decade-long habit of giving personalized cards to others. In the ten years since, I have bought just two cards from a gift shop. Looking back, I realize that it was a case of fear. I was afraid to let people know they mean something to me. Someone chose to take advantage of my nature and I responded by shutting down that part of me. A gesture that made more than three dozen friends smile during their teens was stopped because one person made me feel ashamed about letting people I cared about know it.

But How Can Compassion Be Aggressive?

The compassionate are often seen as gentle flowers, with petals of empathy and sympathy being both their point of beauty as well as their Achilles heel. And they are the easiest to crush, their 'heart over head' mentality making them vulnerable to disillusionment.
Dear 'heart over heads', it is time to evolve. It is time to add resilience to your stem now and once more rise and turn towards the sunlight.

Know your compassionate deed will not be liked by all.
Know that it will be twisted and mocked.
Know your past deeds will be held up to showcase your inconsistent nature.
Know that the allegations will be unfair and out of context.
And then flip the finger to the weeds around you and choose compassion anyway.

I don't give cards anymore. That part of me - along with a lot of other parts of what once made me me - is probably broken forever. But I do give friends my time when I know they are down and need a shoulder to lean on. I do let them know they matter. I do let them know I care.

Allow Your compassion to be flawed


I know it leaves me open to being manipulated again. But I also know that I don't care for the whispers and taunts anymore. I can handle betrayals and heartbreaks better than I could before. And I also know one more thing - that I would rather someone feel better because of my presence in their lives than allow them to keep thinking that they are hated, discriminated or unloved by the world.

Allow your compassion to be flawed.
Allow your compassion to be biased to the underdogs, the victims of disillusionment, heartbreak, loss and bias.
Allow your compassion to be inconsistent.
Allow it to be uncharacteristically aggressive and shockingly remorseless.
But allow your compassion to be.



Author's note:



On February 20th 2015, 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion held its first link up. The intention for that day was to get a thousand bloggers from across the world together and spread compassion and love. That plan would carry forward from a single day into a monthly event where bloggers united to dispel the negativity with their words.

In the past, I have written for #1000Speak on:
1. Compassion (The World is Not a Bad Place - my favourite)
2. Bullying (Do not Lose Sight of who you are Meant to be)
3. Nurturing (The Canine's Guide to Nurturing Humanity - my dog's favourite.)
4. Acceptance (I can see all that you tell her)
5. Love (The 'Letters of Love' Initiative)
6. Compassion once more (Is Being Good a Bad Thing in today's World?)
7. Listening ( Trust Others to Listen to You)
8. On Letting Go of Your Past (There is no Rhinoceros running behind you)

You can also find #1000Speak on Facebook,Twitter, the blog or just by typing down the hashtag #1000Speak on social media.

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30 comments

  1. It was so wonderful to read your post Roshan! I totally agree with the thought that we ought to "actively build a wall of compassion"...absolutely! Loved that expression - "hundred hues of ever changing greys..." -thats what we all are! Btw, card-making and giving is something I still do. I've taught my son to do that as well and till date that joy if giving has remained unparalleled! I'm sorry to hear about your unfortunate experience. I still think you should not have given up for that one person.

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    1. Thanks Esha... while mine is more of a mental block now, I definitely encourage you and everyone else to make personalized gifts and teach the next generation too. :)

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  2. I and my son also make cards for no reason and give it to persons.We love it. You shouldn't have stopped that lovely gesture because of that one person. Do consider to restart it soon ......

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    1. I think its lovely that the tradition of making & giving cards still exists.. good to hear that :)

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  3. I've been there. Ditto. And so I understand. I've stopped my habit of giving cards too.
    I'm glad that you wrote for #1000Speak again. As always, a brilliant post.

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    1. Thanks... needed to get a lot out of my mind one way or the other...

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  4. We are kindred spirits, doc!
    Ditto ditto about so many things, but I differ in one area - I am not strong enough to handle betrayals and heartbreaks.. :(
    Yeah, we all are a 100 shades of grey and least of all black and white. A fact each one of us needs to accept about ourselves. We are humans, no?

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    1. Nobody is willing to allow 'their opponents' to do well... instantly, they rake up the past and mock them. If someone is genuinely doing something good and no longer indulging in the crimes of their past, allow them that act atleast. There is noone who we can deem a perfect human role model.

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  5. Thanks:-) I enjoyed that read Roshan. You seems to me like a strong person- with integrity and still with a lot to give others... A little bit of your strength can maybe mean the world to another person- I thought of karma ....Keep writing - you inspire others:-)

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    1. I don't know... sometimes I think I am on the last fumes of this journey. I guess I just wanna share a few thoughts while I still can. Maybe not today, but hopefully someday it will inspire someone :)

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  6. Where is the tipping point between compassion and pity? You are right about encouraging people to practice compassion - undertstanding or trying to understand one's fellow beings is definitely more beneficial to society at large
    I'm afraid I didn't exactly get the connection between your card giving and compassion .
    Why did you let someone else's action stop your own noble intent?

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    1. The card giving was related to the concept of people being shamed for showcasing compassion, something I see a lot in almost every social media article shared today. We live in a world where things like 'liberal' and 'care' are considered bad, anti-national and even blasphemous and that scares me... so many are being forced to NOT DO or SPEAK GOOD thoughts because hate must win. Can such a world really survive?

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  7. Allow your compassion to be flawed - I think that's so important. We are imperfect beings who are, as you said, filled with every kind of possibility. What brings out the good or bad in anyone? Hard to say. I figure it's best to err on the side of trying, no matter how successful we may be, to live with compassion and understanding. If we mess up? Well, at least we were working for something positive. And who knows? Maybe we end up making someone feel good about themselves, etc. How could that ever be a fail? Accepting the flaws in ourselves simply allows us to keep trying, keep growing.

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    1. Thats the honest truth Lisa. We need to atleast try to be good. We may win, we may lose at it. We will stumble and remain flawed in some matters... but we must still try.

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  8. That makes so much of sense Roshan. Certain recent events in the distant family are the proof of everything you said above. It's all about the moment. A good person can turn into a devil without realizing that what they are doing is wrong, if circumstances force him to be. A daughter has filed a case in the court against her father, and the son-in-law is threatening the old man of sending him to jail and beating him hard and the daughter is nowhere interfering in between. So yes, nothing is certain for sure!

    A very powerful post indeed!

    Cheers

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    1. Sadly, I seem to know someone with a similar condition where the Daughter-in-law is wrecking havoc on the ailing FIL while his own son stays quiet... and it feels sad.
      I can't say whether the son is good or bad... I just wish some sense would prevail.

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  9. ON the card bit.. yes I dont buy cards ... but I defintely make them for those close to me... I gives a very personal touch to it and the feeling sure are expressed better. But yes, otherwise too I do let my friends know that my shoulder is always there when they need it the most

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    1. Good... I'm actually surprised to see so many who make personalized ones here... that's something positive to note.

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  10. What a lovely post! I agree that we are parts of gray. Not black or white. I have also seen that compassion can be judged. But we need to accept that. We need to be strong enough to not let it change our actions or behavior.
    Roshan - You are a kind soul and it's never too late to start again :)

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  11. Perhaps I am hypocritical that way... I do want others to win against the odds. But in my own case, I just haven't been able to convince myself that I can do it.
    But hey, that's why I am flawed too, right?

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  12. You nailed it, Doc. I still prefer to give cards because of the emotional warmth it carries. I can feel your pain. A post that strikes a chord with me. Agree, we need to be resilient while being kind at the same time.

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  13. I found it heartbreaking that your tradition of giving cards was so cruelly twisted against you and used for harm. I'm a big believer in sending cards/letters/gifts, usually glittery in some way, and I LOVE knowing that I've done something to embetter someone else's world, just a little, for a while.

    You're right though, as much as we're inherently compassionate, we're also inherently capable of horrific acts against our fellow humans, and I hope that the more we understand about our inclinations and motivations, as well as the impact of our actions, the better equipped we are to choose.

    Your 'permission' to be compassionate, even in a flawed way, is lovely though :)

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    1. I think that's it... evolving with time. As we mature, slowly allowing the bad acts to fade away from our system and allowing for more good to pass through us.

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  14. It's too sad that people who do good things feels bad when bad things happen to them, and people who do bad things don't reform when good things happen to them!
    I guess the compassionate nature in us makes us more vulnerable to betrayal, but as you said, we've got to have the strength to keep being nice, in a smart way.
    Loved this post, and your initiative too, doc! :)

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    1. Thanks Mithila... and yes, you raise a good point of some people who constantly do bad things refusing to learn even when they see good around them.

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  15. Docccccccccccccc.... how are you??? Trust you to take compassion and make a paradox out of it. But it's definitely food for thought. I think there have been many circumstances in my life where compassion did come out of negative emotions. It's just that we never thought of it that way. :)

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    1. I always felt that this was a part of what made me who I am today... the losses and things that got me down. I needed to make sure I could do something if possible so that others did not go through what I did.

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  16. This is such a brilliant post, Roshan! I have failed to find the answer so as to why anyone doing good is mocked!
    It is said that you had to stop doing something you loved but I am sure you may have started many more good habits to replace the one you stopped.
    I loved this line you used...we are a hundred hues of ever-changing grays more than just white or black. It is so true!

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    1. Thanks DA. I guess you have a point. Something I gave up probably was compensated for in a different way :)

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So what do you think ?