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.