488 – Compassion

You didn’t have to be so blunt.

On the contrary. I had to be as blunt as possible.

But why? You hurt his feelings. Couldn’t you have told him the same things in a much kinder way?

Sugar-coat the truth? Make it more palatable and easy to digest for him? What good would that be?

Well, maybe he would be more open to change if you didn’t put things in such harsh and raw terms.

Do you remember the firs time you burned yourself as a kid?

Um… yes… I do. But what has that to do with…

Tell me about it.

I was in the kitchen watching mom cook and I kept trying to touch the flames because I thought they were so beautiful.

Didn’t your mother try to stop you?

Yes, she kept gently pushing me away and asking me to be careful.

And still, you burned yourself.

Yes, a neighbor distracted her and I burned my finger.

Did you ever burn yourself like that again?

Of course not! At least not on purpose. It hurt really bad.

So, if you saw a child hand about to touch an open flame, would you explain to him with kind words why he should rethink his actions?

No! I’d slap his hand and push him away from the fire.

Wouldn’t that hurt his feelings?

Maybe… but I’d much rather hurt his feelings than let him burn his hand.

Exactly.

So… you talked to him like that…

Because the most compassionate thing you can do for someone is give them what they really need, even if sometimes what they need is a good kick in the ass.

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