Every so often in our lives we encounter people who resort to character assassination. In an unfair and dishonest way they deliberately attempt to destroy someone’s character, reputation, credibility and so forth. A major weapon that they use is unjust criticism and shaming of someone when they are not present.
It is clear that there is a personal agenda at work, but what exactly is on that agenda might not be that clear - the person may try to gain something? They might have a scarcity mentality? They might feel sadistic, greedy, superior, jealous or insecure? They may try to pass it off as taking a moral position, while they make no effort to be compassionate.
How can we avoid participating in character assassination?
• We can refuse to participate with the character assassin
• We can set a high priority on being compassionate and kind
• We can still be assertive, even when we are compassionate
• We can reserve our judgements for the purposes of learning
• We can assess motivations that arise due to difficult emotions
• We can commit to keep improving our compassion skills
• We can try to gain maximum clarity about the situation
• We can speak non-judgementally and without blame
• We can express complaints carefully and respectfully
• We can take a time-out to cool down when angered
• We can commit to using speech in a beneficial way
• We can show kindness, compassion and patience
• We can take responsibility for our own wellbeing
• We can let all parties feel heard and respected
• We can refuse to give or accept any abuse
• We can choose words carefully
• We can speak with goodwill
By practicing mindfulness we can become aware of how we can be supportive of others. We gain the ability to foster deep understanding and friendship. We need to be patient with ourselves, since it is a process of life-long learning to develop compassion and kind speech.