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Best of Our Blogs: May 3, 2013

By Brandi-Ann Uyemura, M.A.
Associate Editor

In the presence of a friend or relative who is habitually negative, I freeze up. I grapple with being compassionate without letting them indulge in self-pity. Responding with sympathetic statements can sometimes increase a need to glorify doom and gloom stories. At the same time, I understand the desire to dump blame and negativity on others. It feels like a release. It feels like someone cares when their listening. But I also realize it’s not my responsibility to take care of everyone’s needs.

Instead of trying to change or take on their problems for them, I try to work on myself. I remember what it’s like to feel hopeless, insecure, scared and alone. I use that compassion I have for others and turn it on myself. It helps me be kind, understanding and patient, but within my own boundaries. I know the best thing I can do is to live my life as a testament to hope, courage and positivity. It’s a hard thing to learn, but we’re just not capable of changing or curing everyone else.

But there are things we can do. If you’re struggling with negativity, this week’s posts will lift you up. You’ll learn how to turn a negative self-image into a more positive one through gratitude, self-love and self-acceptance. You’ll also learn what to say if you feel tongue-tied like me when faced with someone suffering pain on a regular basis or develop compassion for those suffering from depression. It’s a blurry line between loving others and loving yourself. But the important thing to remember is you can only be as helpful, kind and caring to others when you first take care of yourself.

{Flickr photo by Kate Ware}

2 Comments to
Best of Our Blogs: May 3, 2013

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  1. Your article on maintaining and attitude of gratitude, as we say, resonates completely with me. I have had a one year run of the worst sorts of luck, yet, gratitude has kept me afloat. People want to stymie my happiness, and don’t understand, “Why don’t you expect more? Why are you content to have a need met, not to have so much more?”

    Because I have what I need and I am happy. I had more than I needed and I rid myself of it so that I could lighten my load. “Accumulation” and “having” are some folks’ idea of how to be happy.

    Being happy is exactly rooted in what you say :: gratitude. Thankfulness for every waking moment, every experience, every lesson, every failure and every win, every waking moment is grounds for gratitude in my book. I have found that practicing gratitude, mining my life for moments of grace, have given me a gift :: I believe it is the gift of awareness, and the ability to live in the “present.”

    • Thank you for your comment! I think you have a wonderful attitude about life. And you’re an inspiring example that it’s not what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you that counts. Looks like you’re on the path towards continued happiness!

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