I am a scholar, starting my third year and recently I noticed on my own as well as received some feedback from two friends about how I am less compassionate.
What happens is that before scholars if a friend would come and dramatically tells me that her boyfriend has cheated on her, I would go along with her on the journey of “Poor you! How could he do that! All men are assholes! You can find something better” and when such stories come to me in the past year I find myself staying quiet more often, just staying as a listener and watching my friend having her own thoughts and drama.
After I stay quiet, they will ask me, “Well, don’t you have anything to say?!” and I would say something like, “I am sorry you are in paid over this, I am here for you.” But I will not participate anymore in the going down with them journey and it seems that two friends so far have found it to be less compassionate.
I think that what happens is that I am more awake and am able to watch them thinking of their “problem” but since I am so aware of the CTFAR I no longer take part in the reactions they take automatically and so they think I feel nothing towards their pain.
I did learn that it is not my job to coach them or change their thoughts so they can feel better. Many of them really only want to hold onto those thoughts and just have my sympathy and I offer it but in a more neutral way and they read it as less compassionate.
Of course, that’s on them, as well, to figure out. I remain calm even when they tell me that and I can see their model on the boyfriend, my reaction, and then their model on me.
I wonder if you found that to be common “side effect” of being a scholar?