Preventing Compassion Fatigue

Photo: o5com

I vividly remember the first day my medical school classmates and I met our cadavers in the anatomy lab. Large body bags lay on metal tables that had been bolted to the floor. I remember the sheer size of the bags best. No doubt existed in my mind that dead human bodies […]

Why We Should Befriend Jerks

Photo: nasrulekrom

I’ve known a number of people in my life who quite frankly haven’t exhibit the most admirable behavior much of the time. Other friends and family members have sometimes asked me why I’ve remained friends with them, or simply marvel in continued surprise that I have. I often find myself having to […]

The Right To Die

Photo: rjhuttondfw

The notion that dying is a right seems nonsensical to argue: death is given to all of us equally without the need of anyone’s sanction. The right to die well, on the other hand—well, that’s another matter entirely. A good death is, in many cases, something our fellow human beings have great […]

The Courage To Hear The Truth

Photo: pichado photography

Years ago, I was having lunch with a friend who’d developed a reputation for being difficult. He complained frequently and bitterly, often about things no one else found bothersome. In general, he was perceived as negative and over-entitled. I thought most of the time the points he made were valid but […]

Crazy Makers

Photo: Maks Karochkin

“The Buddha’s compassion is perfectly equal and impartial. The Buddha views all beings as his own children and strives to elevate them to attain his same enlightened state of life. It’s not that there are no differences among people. Rather, it’s that the Buddha, while fully recognizing people’s differences, does […]

How To Overcome Shyness

Photo: kaibara87

When I was a teenager, I was afflicted with terrible shyness. Not in every context or with all people—mostly just with girls. Not unlike millions of other adolescent males, when in the presence of a girl I found attractive, I would become tongue tied, awkward, and lose all self-confidence.

As I grew […]

When Someone You Love Is Unhappy

Photo: Alex E. Proimos

A patient of mine has a mentally ill brother who’s depressed and anxious, as well as manipulative and stubborn. He often refuses to take medication that’s helped him in the past and as a result often ends up lying at home in his bed, unwashed and unkempt, for days at […]

How To Comfort Yourself

Photo: pipitdapo

The other week, a patient of mine told me he’d recently come to the realization that he has a tendency to become almost embarrassingly needy in certain situations, something he attributed to several early childhood experiences. When he was three, he told me, his five-year-old sister died of cancer. He doesn’t specifically […]


Photo: Ms. Phoenix

Over a decade ago, I did something about which I remain ashamed to this day: I broke a promise to someone in a way that hurt her terribly. I rationalized my decision by arguing that I hadn’t wanted to make the promise in the first place but had been pressured into […]

The Problem With Turning The Other Cheek

Photo: Anamorphic Mike

In a previous post, The Three Realms Of Confidence, I told a story from my childhood (how I was bullied in seventh grade because I was Jewish) to introduce the concept that confidence exists in three separate realms. In response to that post, a reader commented (on the Psychology Today blog […]