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}

The Power Of Being An Introvert
(The Gentle Self) – If you’re introverted, you may feel like something’s wrong with you or wish you were more outgoing. This post will help you appreciate being an introvert. Read what strengths, gifts and achievements come with the territory.

27 Things People With A Positive Body Image Know
(Weightless) – Feel like you don’t deserve joy, love or happiness because you’re not thin? Give your body image a boost with these positive ways to uplift yourself.

Make Gratitude a Practice, Really
(Mindfulness & Psychotherapy) – One way to quickly shift your negative mood is to practice gratitude. Learn how to be more thankful with this quick and easy exercise that will make you feel better now.

Helpful Things TO Say to Someone in Chronic Pain
(Living With Chronic Pain) – It’s difficult to know what to say to someone suffering from chronic pain. If you’re at a loss for words, this should help.

Depression sucks. Period. Exclamation point.
(Depression On My Mind) – What’s it like living with depression? This blogger bravely shares the debilitating details of a day in the life of someone who is depressed.