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The mistake of confusing weakness for virtue

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I recently realized that I have been neglecting some of my own needs and wants over the last couple of years and justifying it with 'compassion' and 'equaniminity'. For eg. not negotiating at work for a higher raise, despite working crazy hours and having good performance.

This came from some sort of vauge notion that, given my realization, I would remain relatvely free of suffering regardless, so why bother. That regardless of what happened my life was all just a series of experiences that can be deconstructed to very basic sensations, so why bother.

Engaging in this sort of self-denial became a sort of identity. I manged to convince myself myself that patterns of guilt and shame driven behaviour were actually compassionate actions. 

Nothing drastically bad happened to me. But I was not living life for the pursuit of my own happiness and self-interest. It sucked out my motivation and energy to do things. It was a poor way to go about life.

I now recognize this as cowardice in the guise of compassion. Weakness masquerading as virtue. And am working to overcome it.

Anyone have similar experiences ? How did you deal with it ?

Is this a weakness of the Buddha Dharma moral code or my own personal confusion ?

RE: The mistake of confusing weakness for virtue
Answer
6/8/15 10:08 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
(D Z) Dhru Val:

Is this a weakness of the Buddha Dharma moral code or my own personal confusion ?
Certainly how it's taught there is a lack of emphasis on conventional strength and more on how to live a renunciate life.

There are books and articles that try to deal with this:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Guide-Compassionate-Assertiveness-Conflict/dp/1608821714

https://www.atpweb.org/pdf/masters.pdf
Compassionate Wrath

You'll find being more assertive fun because it'll give you a different perspective and you'll see others look like they are about entitlement and weakness when you change your perspective. You see it from the naturally assertive person's point of view. It's important though not to give into contempt (my mistake) because it's again expecting cause and effect to be different than it is which is more dukkha. People will be what they are according to cause and effect.

I remember in early equanimity I was in a mental fog and going to a psychologist for career advice. When I talked to him about Buddhism he said "We are all okay with that stuff, just make sure you're not a doormat." So it was clear from this therapist that a typical mistake is to be a wimpy spiritualist.

I think the best way to deal with underpayment is to network with others and to honestly value your skills on the market. The danger is over-estimating your skill or underestimating it. Look at resumes on LinkedIn with similar key words and job titles. Should your job title be something more? Find any data you can get on pay. Then start looking for jobs that will pay you more for your skills and move on. The danger here is that if you negotiate at your current job by just asking for a raise but have no other job opportunities to turn to, there may be retaliation. It also is a good wake up call if your skills really aren't as good as you think they are. If you want more money but NO ONE will pay you more for it then that's a sign that you have to increase your skill to get higher pay.

Just like businesses that look at their vendors and switch up when another vendor can offer raw materials at a lower price, you can shop the market looking for better pay.

The other thing to not overlook is the atmosphere. The more psychotically competitive the environment the more ruthless people are in order to land the job and secure it. You don't want to weaken "Right Livelihood" for more money.
If any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies. ~ THOMAS HOBBES, Leviathan


RE: The mistake of confusing weakness for virtue
Answer
6/8/15 11:43 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z,

I can definately relate.  I think it might be a normal phase of development in understanding what virtue is.  I'm kind of coming out of the same poisition you describe right now.  What I'm finding is that benevolent indifference is a good way to approach interpersonal relationships.  Don't focus on how you are making other people feel (indifference) but also don't be a dick (benevolent).  I think the passive mindset mainly stems from avoiding the problem of, "how can I live in the world without creating suffering for other people?"  The answer is that this is a wrong view of the situation.  You don't make other people suffer, other people make themselves suffer, and you have no way of predicting how they will do this in relation to you.  The only thing you can do is prevent practical suffering by living without malice and then navigate the world of interpersonal relationships with equanimity towards other people and the suffering they generate for themselves.

In terms of the specific examples you pointed out, in Buddhust parlance this would probably fall under "sloth-torper."  The Buddha was describing a meditative life, not how to live succesfully in an economic setting, but some of the teachings still translate well.  Energy/excitement/vigor is one of the factors of awakening, and what you describe in your examples is a kind of lazy way out (not to call you lazy, haha!)  I think this could be attributed to a lack of energy and looking to avoid dukkha rather than trying to understand and deal with it.  Some dukkha is "to be avoided by the wise" as the Buddha says, but mostly he lists things like being trampled by a rhinocerose or gored by a bull in that category.

RE: The mistake of confusing weakness for virtue
Answer
6/8/15 11:51 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
This is from a somewhat 'mushroomy' meditation teacher, but this topic reminded me of something he said and this topic has been something I've tried to keep in mind as I dose myself with intense mysticism:

"Healthy Boundaries


All living things have auras around them, concentric spheres or living fields of force which filter energy from the universe to a level appropriate to their nature. The earth, for example, has many layers of atmosphere to edit sunlight to a level that sustains life rather than kills it. A cell is surrounded by a membrane that lets in the elements it craves (oxygen and nutrients), and excretes what it does not need. Healthy boundaries are the result of the interplay of all the instincts, not just one or two.

As a human being, you have a right to filter out what is harmful to you and to say yes to what helps you thrive. Healthy boundaries take care of you by giving you this choice. It is one-sided and unbalanced to think of meditation as dissolving boundaries and merging with infinity.

Meditation is a place to consciously cultivate your own “atmosphere”, your healthy aura. It is to help you know your boundaries, not erase them. Only then will the expanded perception of no-boundaries, non-separation and oneness that also comes with meditation be a life-serving, integrated state. Many women on a spiritual path miss this important point. 

While you are meditating, a certain percentage of your time will be taken up reviewing any “boundary invasions” you have experienced – times when you said “yes” but you felt “no,” or when you disrespected your own internal rhythms. In every evening’s meditation, the events of the day will come to mind to be felt, and usually there is something about boundaries. If you have been too fierce during the day, bristling at every request, then you may find yourself moving in the direction of compassion, seeing the other person’s point of view. But if you have been too gentle, too accommodating, then your meditation will lead you into seeing the wisdom of saying no. This is why it can be harmful to try to impose “virtues” such as compassion on yourself. Unless you are a really selfish person, cold and uncaring, you may not need to consciously practice compassion. In any case, the free flow of attention during meditation will lead you into seeing and feeling balance.

Suppressing boundaries is a denial of the energy for self-preservation. A healthy immune system is a boundary – knowing what’s me and what’s not me. Imbalance can be created in either direction: the rigid walled-in boundary of “everything is not me”, which is based in fear, or the flaccid lack of boundary, “everything is me; all is one”, which is false surrender. Strong yet flexible boundaries give us integrity: the choice to say “yes” or “no” and mean it. 

Saying “yes” when you mean “no” saps a great deal of psychic energy. This creates a lot of disturbance in your meditation: discomfort, emotional pain and the noise of repetitive thoughts as you review the situation over and over. You can give yourself a break by learning to say “no” when you need to. The clarity and freedom of healthy boundaries can be yours."

http://www.lorinroche.com/meditation-faq/meditation-faq/yogainstincts.html

RE: The mistake of confusing weakness for virtue
Answer
6/9/15 12:15 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Reggie Ray on importance of individuality and creativity, despite egolessness

BG 249 Strengthening the Bodymind

Related topics have been my interest lately. It seems to me that a physically/mentally/etc strong, ordinarily-successful person is more able to effectively exercise compassion in our society.

edit:
The Reichian/Lowenian perspective on aggression might be helpful here

RE: The mistake of confusing weakness for virtue
Answer
6/9/15 7:52 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
(D Z) Dhru Val:
I recently realized that I have been neglecting some of my own needs and wants over the last couple of years and justifying it with 'compassion' and 'equaniminity'. For eg. not negotiating at work for a higher raise, despite working crazy hours and having good performance.

This came from some sort of vauge notion that, given my realization, I would remain relatvely free of suffering regardless, so why bother. That regardless of what happened my life was all just a series of experiences that can be deconstructed to very basic sensations, so why bother.

Engaging in this sort of self-denial became a sort of identity. I manged to convince myself myself that patterns of guilt and shame driven behaviour were actually compassionate actions. 

Nothing drastically bad happened to me. But I was not living life for the pursuit of my own happiness and self-interest. It sucked out my motivation and energy to do things. It was a poor way to go about life.

I now recognize this as cowardice in the guise of compassion. Weakness masquerading as virtue. And am working to overcome it.

Anyone have similar experiences ? How did you deal with it ?

Is this a weakness of the Buddha Dharma moral code or my own personal confusion ?


For very penetrating (and way beyond personal) analysis of how weakness often masquerades as virtue, it's hard to go past Nietzsche. Much of "Beyond Good and Evil" and "Twilight of the Idols" is a ruthless re-evaluation of revered spiritual and moral values. He argues that a morality of (e.g.) love, compassion, equality, tolerance, turn the other cheek, etc, is an expression of decadence, symptomatic of a decline in the type Man. (His main target was Christianity, but the underlying principles apply much more broadly). It's difficult reading, in many senses of the word, but quite brilliant if you have the stomach for it. (Could be toxic, or could be invigorating).

RE: The mistake of confusing weakness for virtue
Answer
6/9/15 8:21 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
(D Z) Dhru Val:
I recently realized that I have been neglecting some of my own needs and wants over the last couple of years and justifying it with 'compassion' and 'equaniminity'. For eg. not negotiating at work for a higher raise, despite working crazy hours and having good performance.

This came from some sort of vauge notion that, given my realization, I would remain relatvely free of suffering regardless, so why bother. That regardless of what happened my life was all just a series of experiences that can be deconstructed to very basic sensations, so why bother.

Engaging in this sort of self-denial became a sort of identity. I manged to convince myself myself that patterns of guilt and shame driven behaviour were actually compassionate actions. 

Nothing drastically bad happened to me. But I was not living life for the pursuit of my own happiness and self-interest. It sucked out my motivation and energy to do things. It was a poor way to go about life.

I now recognize this as cowardice in the guise of compassion. Weakness masquerading as virtue. And am working to overcome it.

Anyone have similar experiences ? How did you deal with it ?

Is this a weakness of the Buddha Dharma moral code or my own personal confusion ?


I think you are describing spiritual bypassing. A term coined by John Welwood, there is a transcript of an interview at http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/06/bg-178-growing-up-versus-waking-up From that interview:

"You know, I have a term for all of this, it’s called 'spiritual bypassing'. We’re using spiritual ideas and practices to try to transcend or avoid dealing with our unfinished emotional business and our psychological wounding. We’re using absolute truth to dismiss or disparage relative human needs, feelings, relational problems, developmental tasks. That’s very common, I’d say in most spiritual communities that are based on Asian teachings, Eastern teachings."

I like the Integral Theory from Ken Wilber as a way of seeing where things are off balance. He highlights Shadow, Mind, Body, Spirit, Ethics as core practises. In addition there will be areas that are speciifc to your life e.g. parenting, time management etc.

Perhaps the key is having a sense of "life purpose" and aligning with that. Easier said than done...

RE: The mistake of confusing weakness for virtue
Answer
6/10/15 7:54 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Wow! Thanks for all the replies. I already feel much more empowered to change things after reading all this stuff. What a wonderful group of people.

I think everyone suggested something a different, yet somehow all of it has to potential to untagle this web. Now I have lots of reading material so I will summarize my key take aways....

- @ Richard Zen Assertiveness - Yes it is more fun to live like that. I will have to look into how to do it more compassoinately and with more tact.

- @Not Tao - I think you are spot on about the passive mindset being caused by not wishing to be a cause of suffering for people. I don't quite understand the 'benevolent' part of 'benevolent indifference'. Does it just mean being free of mallicous intent ?

-@Ryan - I have read a lot of tibetan teachers suggest that it is not neccessary to consciously devleop compassion. But rather it is a side effect of realization.

-@Droll
1
[color=#111111][b]DD: [/b]It seems to me that a physically/mentally/etc strong, ordinarily-successful person is more able to effectively exercise compassion in our society.[/color]
 - Also srtiving towards a goal is more likely to have us test our limits and is more fun atleast for me.

@John Wilde: Read Nietchze - I think reading other philosophies and ways of looking at the world has been very helpful. I was reading some essays on the 'virtue of selfishness' by Nathanial Brandon and Ayn Rand (**hangs head in shame** lol). Not taking it too seriously just tring to extract some good ideas. I think Nietchze will be fun to read as well.

-@Mark: Spiritual Bypassing / Integral / Wilber - Yea I already knew about and like that stuff, but somehow still fell into the trap regardless. It snuck up on me. Using an unexpected angle of attack. I was protecting myself against becoming having too grandiose a view of myself. But instead had the opposite problem. 

RE: The mistake of confusing weakness for virtue
Answer
6/11/15 3:22 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
hey DZ

yes I still suffer from this emoticon I think it's the inevitable consequence of objectifying realisation in any way. As soon as I can even think of myself as realised in any way at all, then there is attachment to realisation, and it is used as either as a ego-booster or excuse.

one thing I have enjoyed recently is shouting at people again (I stopped for a couple years due to the above reasons you describe - bypassing etc)

and joyfully discovering that actually a bit of anger expressed is sometimes really exactly what reality needs. When I do it now, it feels clean, clear, good, and moreover it has an amazingly clean effect on people. My mother especially. emoticon


I do think that it's especially important for laypeople, who are practicing/reading a lot of stuff that's written in a monastic context, to really power up and come into good relation with especially anger, sexuality. I think the modern western vajrayana teachers are good for this.

RE: The mistake of confusing weakness for virtue
Answer
11/19/15 12:44 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Dive back into the bodily sensations - particularly ones you can "lose" yourself in.  In a sense, be the human as much as you can.  That way if you feel you need a raise, you'll know it instantly in the moment and not months later.  Continue this long enough when you find it impossible to be the human, you won't notice...life rolls on.

Finally, you might check into that reflection where you can sense a dissatisfaction with how you handled things - if there emotion in it, then it is itself the attitude that says you should do something differently than you did.  If the reflection is purely observation, then ignore the prior sentence.

take care,

Dan

RE: The mistake of confusing weakness for virtue
Answer
11/19/15 3:48 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:


"You know, I have a term for all of this, it’s called 'spiritual bypassing'. We’re using spiritual ideas and practices to try to transcend or avoid dealing with our unfinished emotional business and our psychological wounding. We’re using absolute truth to dismiss or disparage relative human needs, feelings, relational problems, developmental tasks. That’s very common, I’d say in most spiritual communities that are based on Asian teachings, Eastern teachings."
Whatever you want to call it, yeah I think most people have at least some habit of making excuses for what they were going to do anyway.  Maybe you are afraid to be assertive so you don't, it may feel more comfortable to just not do it at all.  End result is you don't ask for a raise.  But a part of you observes the others around you getting more money, which does not make you happy.  But the idea of asserting yourself also does not make you happy.  How to resolve the conflict?  One easy way is an excuse for your behavior that does not actually expose the unpleasant truth to your conscious mind, some may resort to martyr complex or feelings of moral superiority or whatever, and I am not saying any particular thing is what anyone here in particular is doing. 

What I am saying is a true choice is when you are fully capable of any of the options and then choose one.  But if your choice is actually driven by insecurities, then it was never really a choice of yours to begin with and you are just making excuses for what you were probably going to do anyway.  And of course, we all like excuses that make us feel better about ourselves.  The first step out of that is to become more honest with yourself about your real reasons and motivations for your actions such that you recognize the excuses for not being truth. 

I also agree to an extent with what NotTao said, we actually do not have the power to MAKE anyone feel anything in particular, but they may often allow us that power.  IMO, there is a middle ground in which we understand that others are responsible for their own thoughts and feelings and we can't fix their problems for them even if we can maybe occasionally help them with their own fixing.  But also we operate with a general intent to be a good influence on those around us, and sometimes that may even involve tough love or not always catering to their desires.  The boss may not initially want to deal with requests for more money but ultimately it may be better for him if his workers feel their environment is fair and balanced.  Workplaces are an ecosystem after all and the issues of one person do not often only effect that one person.  As a boss, it's good to encourage the more positive sides of all of the workers and wise investments in balance and morale can pay off economically as well with better productivity and less hassle and turnover at the workplace. 

RE: The mistake of confusing weakness for virtue
Answer
11/20/15 1:51 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Great post, guys! I think almost everybody on the spiritual path goes through this phase.

I just came out of a terrible several months long DN/ depression/ Hikkikomori phase (except occasional outings). I was doing something similar. I didn't want to work in a conventional job. I had these ideas of becoming a compassionate monk,organic farmer, or relief worker in a developing country. But, these were just things that I thought I should do as a result of attaching to attainments. Slowly, I came out of it. Gave a couple of failed interviews which gave me some confidence, and eventually rejoined the family business. I'm really enjoying it at the moment. There is great joy being in the flow and just getting stuff done. Also, I want to create as much value and earn as much as I can, not because I'm very materialistic, but because of the quantum of good that can be done with wealth as Bill Gates is demonstrating. Also, wouldn't hurt being recognised for your success.

RE: The mistake of confusing weakness for virtue
Answer
11/20/15 6:52 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
Mark:


"You know, I have a term for all of this, it’s called 'spiritual bypassing'. We’re using spiritual ideas and practices to try to transcend or avoid dealing with our unfinished emotional business and our psychological wounding. We’re using absolute truth to dismiss or disparage relative human needs, feelings, relational problems, developmental tasks. That’s very common, I’d say in most spiritual communities that are based on Asian teachings, Eastern teachings."
Whatever you want to call it, yeah I think most people have at least some habit of making excuses for what they were going to do anyway.  Maybe you are afraid to be assertive so you don't, it may feel more comfortable to just not do it at all.  End result is you don't ask for a raise.  But a part of you observes the others around you getting more money, which does not make you happy.  But the idea of asserting yourself also does not make you happy.  How to resolve the conflict?  One easy way is an excuse for your behavior that does not actually expose the unpleasant truth to your conscious mind, some may resort to martyr complex or feelings of moral superiority or whatever, and I am not saying any particular thing is what anyone here in particular is doing. 

What I am saying is a true choice is when you are fully capable of any of the options and then choose one.  But if your choice is actually driven by insecurities, then it was never really a choice of yours to begin with and you are just making excuses for what you were probably going to do anyway.  And of course, we all like excuses that make us feel better about ourselves.  The first step out of that is to become more honest with yourself about your real reasons and motivations for your actions such that you recognize the excuses for not being truth. 

I also agree to an extent with what NotTao said, we actually do not have the power to MAKE anyone feel anything in particular, but they may often allow us that power.  IMO, there is a middle ground in which we understand that others are responsible for their own thoughts and feelings and we can't fix their problems for them even if we can maybe occasionally help them with their own fixing.  But also we operate with a general intent to be a good influence on those around us, and sometimes that may even involve tough love or not always catering to their desires.  The boss may not initially want to deal with requests for more money but ultimately it may be better for him if his workers feel their environment is fair and balanced.  Workplaces are an ecosystem after all and the issues of one person do not often only effect that one person.  As a boss, it's good to encourage the more positive sides of all of the workers and wise investments in balance and morale can pay off economically as well with better productivity and less hassle and turnover at the workplace. 

I notice a story is created that typically protects my identity. The identity is incoherent which appears as contradictions. An excuse allows me to ignore an internal inconsistency by justifying it with something outside of my control.

The contradiction/stress is an invitation to change the identity - to make it smaller - to let go of yet another view - another death.

I'm not sure about the idea of a "true choice" I think the choice is largely pre-determined but the range of options is not. Looking for more options is perhaps as close to freedom as we get. I think randomness is what makes the options unpredicatable i.e. the options are not pre-determined.

RE: The mistake of confusing weakness for virtue
Answer
11/20/15 9:04 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
Mark:


"You know, I have a term for all of this, it’s called 'spiritual bypassing'. We’re using spiritual ideas and practices to try to transcend or avoid dealing with our unfinished emotional business and our psychological wounding. We’re using absolute truth to dismiss or disparage relative human needs, feelings, relational problems, developmental tasks. That’s very common, I’d say in most spiritual communities that are based on Asian teachings, Eastern teachings."
I want to add that the above statement does not hold true as to what the Buddha taught.  Though it may be true for what the above author stereotypes as Asian or Spiritual Teachings.  In fact I would say that Spiritual Bypassing is exactly what the Buddha set out to reform.  For, before the Buddha, it was supposed that the highest levels of Samadhi and Ritual Spiritual Practices were the pinnacle, i.e. the end game.  The Buddha points out very succinctly that this is not so, this is part of what is coined Spiritual Bypassing by the current author above.  And indeed, that is a delsuion.  Though Spiritual work may be as much of a benefit as Counseling, On one hand there may be Spiritual Bypassing and the other , Psychological Rationalizations.


Whatever you want to call it, yeah I think most people have at least some habit of making excuses for what they were going to do anyway.  Maybe you are afraid to be assertive so you don't, it may feel more comfortable to just not do it at all.  End result is you don't ask for a raise.  But a part of you observes the others around you getting more money, which does not make you happy.  But the idea of asserting yourself also does not make you happy.  How to resolve the conflict?  One easy way is an excuse for your behavior that does not actually expose the unpleasant truth to your conscious mind, some may resort to martyr complex or feelings of moral superiority or whatever, and I am not saying any particular thing is what anyone here in particular is doing. 

What I am saying is a true choice is when you are fully capable of any of the options and then choose one.  But if your choice is actually driven by insecurities, then it was never really a choice of yours to begin with and you are just making excuses for what you were probably going to do anyway.  And of course, we all like excuses that make us feel better about ourselves.  The first step out of that is to become more honest with yourself about your real reasons and motivations for your actions such that you recognize the excuses for not being truth. 

I also agree to an extent with what NotTao said, we actually do not have the power to MAKE anyone feel anything in particular, but they may often allow us that power.  IMO, there is a middle ground in which we understand that others are responsible for their own thoughts and feelings and we can't fix their problems for them even if we can maybe occasionally help them with their own fixing.  But also we operate with a general intent to be a good influence on those around us, and sometimes that may even involve tough love or not always catering to their desires.  The boss may not initially want to deal with requests for more money but ultimately it may be better for him if his workers feel their environment is fair and balanced.  Workplaces are an ecosystem after all and the issues of one person do not often only effect that one person.  As a boss, it's good to encourage the more positive sides of all of the workers and wise investments in balance and morale can pay off economically as well with better productivity and less hassle and turnover at the workplace. 
I have tended to think of the excuse making as a form of rationalization, which is similar to the spiritual bypassing concept and the byproduct of shadow concepts.  Basically the mind wants to ignore reality and make a story. i.e. delusion in Buddhism, of which the factor of Investigation is supposed to be used to fully Investigate these matters of the Mind.  If followed correctly, it is an antidote to both Spiritual Bypassing and Rationalization, hiding from our Shadow, etc.  Of course there is always the trap of thinking up a new story that is true and real to repace the old story that used to be true and real, like some never ending set of Matryoshka Ego Dolls...  :-P
In psychology and logicrationalization or rationalisation (also known as making excuses is a defense mechanism in which controversial behaviors or feelings are justified and explained in a seemingly rational or logical manner to avoid the true explanation, and are made consciously tolerable – or even admirable and superior – by plausible means.It is also an informal fallacy of reasoning.

Rationalisation happens in two steps:
  1. A decision, action, judgement is made for a given reason, or no (known) reason at all (in cases for instance of dogmatic judgement or normal behaviour).
  2. A rationalisation is performed, constructing a seemingly good or logical reason, as an attempt to justify the act after the fact (for oneself or others).
Rationalization encourages irrational or unacceptable behavior, motives, or feelings and often involves ad hoc hypothesizing. This process ranges from fully conscious (e.g. to present an external defense against ridicule from others) to mostly unconscious (e.g. to create a block against internal feelings of guilt. People rationalize for various reasons — sometimes when we think we know ourselves better than we do

[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationalization_(psychology)]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationalization_(psychology)

To add, I do not think any of these behavior patterns are set in stone, and new , more beneficial behavior patterns can be implemented by the mind.  But, these processes, i.e. Spiritual Bypassing and Rationalization are virtually set in stone if one does not take action, apply the antidotes, so to speak.

Psi
[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationalization_(psychology)]

RE: The mistake of confusing weakness for virtue
Answer
11/20/15 2:56 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
(D Z) Dhru Val:
I recently realized that I have been neglecting some of my own needs and wants over the last couple of years and justifying it with 'compassion' and 'equaniminity'. For eg. not negotiating at work for a higher raise, despite working crazy hours and having good performance.

This came from some sort of vauge notion that, given my realization, I would remain relatvely free of suffering regardless, so why bother. That regardless of what happened my life was all just a series of experiences that can be deconstructed to very basic sensations, so why bother.

Engaging in this sort of self-denial became a sort of identity. I manged to convince myself myself that patterns of guilt and shame driven behaviour were actually compassionate actions. 

Nothing drastically bad happened to me. But I was not living life for the pursuit of my own happiness and self-interest. It sucked out my motivation and energy to do things. It was a poor way to go about life.

I now recognize this as cowardice in the guise of compassion. Weakness masquerading as virtue. And am working to overcome it.

Anyone have similar experiences ? How did you deal with it ?

Is this a weakness of the Buddha Dharma moral code or my own personal confusion ?
What if, Compassion and Equanimity were looked at from this way.  

First point is that if you know you are not being paid what you are worth, and you do not say anything about it, at the appropriate time and place , of course.  Then that sounds more like Indifference, i.e. not caring whether you are being paid what you are worth , or not.

Equanimty may be more akin to obseving the facts and the situation at hand without any emotional bias.  Of course then there is action that follows, that can be tough, especially when dealing with jobs and money.

There can also be Compassion, viewed in this way.  Understanding the Greed required to not pay someone what they are worth, in essence this is a form of stealing, i.e. taking someone's time and life energies and not compensating properly.  And there is the Compassion for all the others in this world, when money is involved, most on this planet live on less than five dollars a day.  Now, just because that  is so, does not mean one should allow others to walk all over them in the business world.  But, there are time periods within economic cycles, where there is just too many skilled people in any given area of expertise.  When this happens, the Greed Mongers gain the upper hand, and hardly anyone is paid what they are truly worth.

So, I guess I am more relating Equanimity as similar to being a Scientific Observer, and relating to Compassion more as like Understanding and sharing the Plight of all by Wisdom.  At least in the workplace scenario.  

Also, I tend to think like an independent freelancer type, if the employment deal turns sour, I will play along, but always keep my eyes and ears open for any opportunity for improvement.

Just do not be too hard on yourself D Z, the business world can be nasty.

And, just because you are being nice and wholesome does not mean you are being weak.  It may mean you have more strength and fortitude than you actually realize.

Psi

RE: The mistake of confusing weakness for virtue
Answer
11/21/15 4:06 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Very interesting topic!! Compassion and kindness are highly sensitive issues. 

I have been struggling with this for years..I realized it while listening to Thanissaro Bhikkhu talking about spiritual by-passing. I guess working on psychological development, changing habits and building new skills should not be taken for granted. 
Managing your boundaries properly is also a skill that should be developped through effort and practice. 

One of the best books I have read on the topic of the self: 
http://www.amazon.com/Developmental-Coaching-Working-Tatiana-Bachkirova-ebook/dp/B004URQKH6/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=