“True compassion is not just an emotional response, but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change, even if they behave negatively. Through universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others: the wish to actively help them overcome their problems.”
~ H. H. Dalai Lama
As with gratefulness, an attitude of compassion also requires daily conscious commitment to overcome the habitual tendency to react on emotions.
For myself, that type of compassion tends to radiate quite naturally at most times, towards most people; but it is still a challenge to remain in an attitude of compassion towards those who behave in a way that hurts me or others.
Many people might wonder why someone who behaves that way deserves any compassion at all, but it is at that moment that we must remember that each and every one of us is the same: a phenomenal manifestation of absolute consciousness, vulnerable to our senses and mental fluctuations, and bound to the delusion that arises from our senses and mental fluctuations. We all have a past, we are all going through some sort of challenge, and anyone but ourselves is generally quite unaware of the entire picture affecting us – and what is going on inside us affects the reality we perceive around us.
That isn’t to give excuse to the negative actions of others, but rather to remind that blame and punishment aren’t really solutions – compassion and love are.
We have all behaved negatively at some point, and we have all hurt others. How do we want to be treated when we make a mistake?
It also helps to keep in mind how we feel when we behave negatively: typically, we are feeling pretty bad about something and not like our usual selves. It is the same for others. Even people who are habitually negative and cruel are so because of the pain and suffering going on within them.
Cultivating the practice of seeing ourselves in others helps us to strengthen our natural attitude of compassion and to experience for ourselves universal inter-connectivity.