Truth, Compassion, and Love

Man praying in nature.

Spiritual teacher A.H. Almas once said, “Only when compassion is present will people allow themselves to see the truth.” In my experience, resentment, disdain, contempt, and the like typically require some measure of dishonesty or delusion. And truth be told, any time I’ve been resentful, it’s usually because someone did something that I myself have done before.

I’ve lied, cheated, stolen, acted out of fear. I’ve been codependent, selfish, ignorant, and inconsiderate. If I’m gonna hate other people for those things, I gotta hate myself too. And that’s not very helpful, now is it?

Other times, I’m resentful because I’m expecting a sick person to be well, an immature person to be mature, or someone to do something they’re literally incapable of doing.

How crazy is that?

Or someone violated a boundary I never expressed. Or maybe they failed to read my mind or reciprocate something I assumed they would do simply because I did it for them. Surely, I’d have to deny any shred of personal responsibility in order to maintain my stance of abject victimhood.

But when I cultivate compassion — a deep understanding of the suffering of others — I can stop lying to myself about why I’m upset. When other people act like assholes, they are definitely suffering. It may not seem like it, but they are. And perhaps I’m just too blinded by my own pain and defensiveness to realize it.

But hurt people hurt people. That’s a fact.

What Works For Me

When I have an issue with somebody I intensely dislike, I imagine waking up, gazing into my bathroom mirror, and seeing that person looking back at me. And I’m horrified. All the sad, pathetic, self-centered, shame-based behaviors they compulsively repeat.


I immediately wanna escape.

Then I realize, holy hell, that person can’t escape. That’s literally who they are! They wake up every morning like that — trapped inside a hurt person who doesn’t have the resources or ability to change; doomed to stumble along, stepping on the toes of others, groping in the dark, and hurting the people they love.

If that doesn’t inspire heartfelt sympathy, I don’t know what will.

Also, I really do believe people are doing their best, and if they could do better, they would. I can’t imagine anyone waking up in the morning and saying “I wanna be a deplorable shithead today.”

Seeing The Person Inside

Allegedly, someone asked Anne Sullivan what compelled her to teach Hellen Keller how to read, write, and even speak — a seemingly impossible task for someone both deaf and blind. She replied by asking, “If you saw a burning house and heard screams coming from within, would you do everything within your power to save the person trapped inside?”

Now, I’m not saying we all need to go out into the world and try to save insufferable dickheads from the flaming structures of their own terrible life. However, when you learn to see that there is a perfectly good person trapped inside that thing, YOUR life will improve immeasurably.

You will carry around far less fear, anger, resentment, and negative feelings toward others; less cynicism and pessimism; fewer mental stories and projections. You will find more peace, tolerance, kindness, and generosity. And paradoxically, you’ll develop stronger personal boundaries.

Because truth, compassion, and love are inextricably linked.

When you’re able to see the truth about others’ pain and have compassion for them, you won’t want them to suffer needlessly. You’ll recognize that allowing them to hurt you can only pile more onto the heap of shame and karmic debt they’re already buried beneath. And, as it turns out, the most loving thing is to protect yourself from their unconscious flailing, not to hate and punish them for knowing not what they do.

Maybe this is what people are reaching for when they say, “Love is the answer.” Certainly this includes truth and compassion, without which love is not really possible.


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Published by Adam

Mentor, coach, speaker and educator for over 12 years. I have recovered from and triumphed over many obstacles and afflictions. It brings me tremendous joy to help others overcome similar circumstances so they can live their best lives.

2 thoughts on “Truth, Compassion, and Love

  1. This is the Truth that set me free from hating my daddy—and since I’ve never met anyone more full of pain and hate, what also eventually set me free from hating any and everyone else, including myself. Thank you for always having the courage to speak the Truth, Adam.

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