Home » Excerpts » The Power Of Empathy Over Vengeance

Have empathy
instead of vengeance for the vengeful,
as vengeance can karmically rebound.

Stonepeace

Several months ago, a student of mine broke her pelvis after falling off a horse. While she was recovering, her boyfriend ended their relationship, Through phone calls and e-mails, he criticized her for ‘playing the victim’ and trying to gain sympathy. He told her that the accident was a result of ‘bad karma’ because she had disturbing relationships with her family. Throughout the process, she refused to talk about his response, making her ex-boyfriend into a ‘bad guy’ in the eyes of friends and family, and reinforcing that judgment in her own mind.

In an odd coincidence, three months after ending the relationship, he ex-boyfriend fell from a tree and broke several bones in his back. My student could have responded negatively when he called to ask her to return some devices he’d sent to relieve her physical pain. Instead, she made a care package, including the requested devices along with homeopathic remedies that had helped her endure her pain. Having recognized the emotional pain of being attacked while suffering severe physical pain, she chose to take what some people call the ‘high road.’ Instead of asking him if he was playing the victim or if the accident was the result of bad karma, she recognized the emotional pain she’d felt and chose to extend herself by sending a care package.

Rather than fighting with her ex-boyfriend, she responded empathetically, experiencing a peace of mind while extending to him not only the opportunity of peace but also the chance to appreciate the possibility of recognizing what he’d done in judging her. Had she responded angrily, throwing his accusations back at him, it’s likely he would have closed his mind and become bitter or more harshly judgmental. By choosing to extend herself by preparing a care package instead of retaliating, she not only experienced an opening of her heart, she also offered him the opportunity to open his – that is, to recognize that attacking someone in pain is probably not the best approach to establishing and promoting healthy relationships.

Joyful Wisdom: Embracing Change And Finding Freedom
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche with Eric Swanson

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2 Responses to “The Power Of Empathy Over Vengeance”

  1. I am shameful because I have been taking the ‘low road’. This article inspire me and I will be more mindful when time happen to me again.

    Thank you for sharing…

  2. Thanks for sharing. I am curious on the outcome of the girl’s response. Was her ex-boyfriend moved by her kindness?

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