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How Not to be Compassionate
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--When someone is relating a problem or sorrow, waiting impatiently for a break in the story to be able to tell a worse horror story (making it all about you). Dismiss their grief or fear with a wave of the hand, and dive into a story about your own problems or past history.

--Say something meaningful and superior, mostly to be saying something soothing, the worst being, "It's going to be all right." Or, "in a few months (years), you'll see that it was all for the best."

--Force unwanted help or advice, thus making the person feel even more useless or depressed, and not solving the problem at all but the giver feels better, having done something (he thinks).

--Fix it, declare the problem solved, and never check back to see how it's going. The downside of returning to offer further assistance or more sympathy is that friendship can turn into counselling, dependency.

--Continue to meddle or fix or give, when clearly the problem is long term and something with a deep root that is not subject to any sort of quick fix. Don't do the tough part of knowing when to walk away (this is hardest for enablers).

I'm thinking that it's a lifetime's lesson, to know how to be compassionate, how to listen, and when to let go. And how to do all this without doing it for ego gratification.

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