# 33 Offer Compassion to Someone Who Acts Badly

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DSC_0417“People Behaving Badly” could describe much of human interaction.  Responding to people behaving badly with anger and resentment could easily become the story of your life.  Do you want it to be?  I have come to view people’s bad behavior as arising out of one or several of the great human weaknesses:  Ignorance, Fear, Emotional Pain, Cowardice, Thoughtlessness.

When viewed in this way, we make a perspective shift.  The person behaving badly becomes small, human, flawed, pitiable.  We, in turn, let go of anger and become enlightened.

For example, the person who races ahead of you on the expressway and cuts you off… most likely does so out of a fear that others will get ahead of him or a fear that something catastrophic will happen if he isn’t where he wants to be when he feels he must be there.

When your child says hurtful things to you in the heat of an argument, he does so not out of an intent to cause harm to you but out of emotional pain, or thoughtlessness.

The co-worker who makes disparaging remarks about other co-workers does so out of a fear of not being deemed the most successful or well liked, or ignorance of the contributions of others.

The customer who is demanding does so out of a fear that she is not getting enough in life, or that she will be exploited by others if she lets her guard down.

The person who betrays you by lying to you does so out of cowardice.

Take one individual with whom you are angry.  Try to frame the person’s behavior as due to one of the above sources.

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Now view the person as deserving of some small amount of sympathy.  Take some small measure of gladness in the fact (hopefully) that you are not that misinformed, afraid, cowardly, thoughtless, etc., at least not for toady.

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