Strictness vs. Compassion

Having been practicing daily mindfulness meditation for about two months and trying to be an observer of my mind, I'm gradually realizing how strict I have been with both myself and others, whether I know them personally or not. Though I'm still very strict with myself about punctuality (i.e., never to be late for any appointment) and suppression of egocentrism in public (especially about noise and dirt, I've become less strict and even more compassionate for others especially because these two positive values are exceptions rather than rules in Israeli society.

But I still can't be compassionate at all for and remain even very strict with self-pampering behaviors, especially of those I'm supposed to be responsible for. By self-pampering behaviors I mean those behaviors that reveal total lack of strictness with oneself and childish expectations from others. I've constantly been surprised to encounter far more self-pampering people in Israel than in Japan.

At least in one specific context I have to teach them that such self-pampering behaviors are totally unacceptable. Fierce resistance is the typical reaction I get from self-pampering people when I try to make them become aware of their problem (and I can't help countering their fierce resistance with even more fierce resistance to give in to them).

This week I had a pleasant surprise. Someone whose self-pampering behavior I tried to make become aware of apologized to me sincerely. Then suddenly I felt such deep compassion for him and found some compromise that was also beneficial for him. His (positive) response was totally beyond my imagination. Then I understood that compassion could be more effective than strictness in order to have my message received.

But unfortunately, I still can't help being strict with those who resist such attempts of mine fiercely even without the slightest hint of gratitude and apologies. This must sound very judgmental, but at the present stage of my spiritual development I still can't be compassionate for those who don't seem to have developed the minimal degree of interpersonal manners. In the meanwhile I continue to colide with these people, hoping that one day they will realize that self-pampering is not self-compassion (and I myself will also be able to have compasson for them unconditionally).