Posts Tagged ‘discouragement’

The Trap of Self-pity

November 27, 2018

I recently had a breakthrough in my life. Through muscle testing and inspiration, it was pointed out to me that I have an issue with self-pity. As I worked on it, I could remember so many times in my life that I’ve felt sorry for myself. I could see how this self-pity was interfering with my life and holding me back. I have partially conquered this issue in my life and am now beginning to see the fruits of it. I don’t believe I’m the only one that has this problem. Self-pity, I believe, is a huge problem for a lot of people in their lives, even though it may not be obvious. The main fruits of self-pity are bitterness, discouragement and depression.Sad pity

Why do we tend to feel sorry for ourselves so much? For some, it could be that they were raised to look at life that way. Perhaps your parents always dwelt on their own problems, or they kept reminding you of your problems. They may have been lovingly expressing sympathy, but inadvertently teaching you to focus on your problems and feel sorrow about them. For others, it could have been the opposite situation. Perhaps no one seemed to care about your problems. You may have felt that the only person you were going to get any sympathy was from yourself. So you learned to feel sorry for yourself. After a while, it was such a normal way of thinking that you became totally unaware of it.

How do we know if we’re feeling sorry for ourselves? Self-pity is an inward-facing emotion. Possible signs include:

  • Moping about or spending a lot of time thinking about your problems and difficult circumstances
  • Repeated or sustained feelings of anger, frustration, depression, resentment or worry about the situation that you’re in
  • Feeling like you’re never good enough or worthy to receive the good things in life that you desire
  • Feelings of inferiority based on your current circumstances
  • Feeling like you just want to give up
  • Dwelling excessively on your own shortcomings and perceived failures

“But Dr. Don,” you say, “my problems are very real! I’ve had terrible things happen to me, many of which were not even my fault! I think I’m entitled to feel sorry for myself. My issues are not self-pity but the horrible crap that I have to put up with!”

You might even say, “I’ve been through a lot. I’ve EARNED the right to be this miserable!”

Perhaps you have. It is certainly not my intention to minimize your problems. We all have issues, from minor annoyances to horrible, gut-wrenching trauma. The question is, do you want to continue to be a victim of the things that have happened to you (or perhaps even the mistakes you’ve made), or do you want to take back control of your life? I’ve known many people who seem to glory in their misery. They want the world to see what a terrible hand they’ve been dealt in life. They want to invite everyone around them to their “pity party”. And again, I’m not making light of their problems. However, wallowing in their misery has become a part of their life.

Keller selfpityIt takes courage to break free of the pattern of self-pity. It takes an open mind and humility to even see the problem. It means taking responsibility for your life and happiness. It can be much easier to blame your circumstances on everything and everyone around you. If you really need to continue wallowing in your misery a while longer, or if you’re not ready to take charge of your situation in life, then stop reading this. Come back when you’re ready. I won’t judge you.

Still with me? Okay. Let’s charge ahead. And that’s much of the solution – KEEP MOVING FORWARD. Half of the solution you may have already accomplished at this point. If a light has just turned on in your head, if you’re starting to realize that you’ve been indulging in self-pity and can see how it’s been holding you back in your life, you’re already halfway there!

I will say this here and now – discouragement is of the devil (the adversary). God will Carnegie selfpityNEVER tell you to give up, stop trying, and just pack it in. Discouragement is one of the first fruits of self-pity. Discouragement makes you just want to give up, to sit down in the middle of the proverbial road and mope in your misery. Once you recognize the patterns of feeling sorry for yourself, then whenever such thoughts come into your mind, you can toss them aside and replace them with “keep moving forward”.

Remember that you can’t steer a parked car.

Does this mean that you stop taking care of your own needs and desires? Definitely not. What do you do when you’re hungry? Do you just plop down in your easy chair and whine about how hungry you are? I hope not! You go get something to eat. If you have nothing to eat, you work on getting some money, or going to the store, or whatever you need to do to get some food. It won’t fill your belly to just sit down and moan about it.

That same principle applies to every other problem in your life. You must focus on the solution, not the problem. Once you acknowledge and understand what the problem is, there’s no need to dwell any further on the problem or how miserable and complicated it’s making your life. Instead, toss aside your negative thoughts and start working on how to solve the problem. If you cannot see any reasonable solution that you can carry out anytime soon, then resolve to have patience. Remember the Prayer of Serenity, which I’ve referenced before –

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”

This also reminds me of another saying – “Work will win when wishy-washy wishing won’t”. Keep moving forward!

I must also mention here that true clinical depression is often not the result of self-pity. There can be an imbalance or deficiency of certain chemicals in your brain that cause feelings of depression, even when life is going along okay. You can’t just “cheer up”. If this is the case for you, be sure to see your doctor. (I also help some people with this condition using drugless approaches.) In this case, what I’m saying in this post mostly does not apply to you. However, many people with minor clinical depression can needlessly wind up in a downward spiral. In that case, instead of being initially depressed about your situation, you get physically/chemically depressed and then look for reasons to justify your depression. That makes sense. However, as you find the reasons, the depression gets worse because now you have more motivation to be depressed! So in this situation, the above principles DO apply. Maybe you can’t completely shake the depression, but you may be able to control it better so that it doesn’t become disabling.

Share this blog post. I’ve never asked for this before, but I feel the need to get this message out to as many people as possible. Self-pity manifests itself as other emotions. It’s also not something we like to admit to. Therefore, it’s generally overlooked. Since it is the foundation of some of these other emotional issues, it could be why it’s so hard sometimes to correct ongoing feelings of depression, lack of self-worth, discouragement, etc. I may yet write a whole book about this, but for now, I’ll have to settle for this short blog post. My business has picked up so much, I don’t have much time for writing. In the meantime…

LOOK UP! KEEP MOVING FORWARD!

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“I Tried!”

October 27, 2016

falling-dominoes-1422284For a long time now, I’ve been fascinated with the idea of “trying”. The word “try”, along with all of its variations, is often misunderstood and misused. I believe that looking at this concept in the proper manner can have a major impact on your success in life. Imagine the following two scenarios –

Scenario one – I have a pencil on my desk and I ask you to try to pick it up. An easy task, right? If you pick it up, that’s doing, not trying. If you don’t even attempt it, you can’t say that you tried.

Scenario two – I ask you to pick up a large truck and lift it above your head without the use of any tools or equipment. I would consider that an impossible task, as I’m sure you would also. You can pull up on it with all your might, but you won’t be able to lift it, even if you have some delusion that you have super powers.

For some of you word buffs, you will argue that the word “try” also means to accomplish something. However, the way that I think of it and the way that it’s often used, especially in the past tense, means that you attempted something but did not succeed. So please bear with me as I use it in that manner. The way I see it, there are three prerequisites for honestly saying that you tried to accomplish something.

  1. You must approach it with the belief that the task is something that is possible for you to achieve.
  2. You must put forth a full, honest effort with a clear intention to succeed in the task.
  3. In the end, you must fail in the attempt (going back to the way that I’m using the word). Based on 1 and 2, if you do not succeed, this will qualify you as having tried. If you do number 1 and 2, in most cases, you will succeed, in which case I would say that you didn’t just try, you did.

In the first scenario, there is a case in which you could say that you really “tried” to pick up the pencil. Let’s say that, unbeknownst to you, the pencil had been glued to the desk and it was your understanding that you could only use your bare hands to pick it up. In that case, you would have gone to pick it up and fulfilled all three of the prerequisites of having tried. What if you believed that the pencil were glued to the desk even though it wasn’t? Would you even make the attempt? If you really put forth an honest effort, you would pick it up easily and be surprised that it was no effort at all. What if you had been hypnotized to believe that the pencil actually weighed 2000 pounds? If you even tried at all, would your belief prevent you from lifting the pencil, even though in reality it only weighs a few ounces? That’s an interesting question.

There are actually many times in life that we encounter this type of situation. How many things would you attempt if you really believed you could and would succeed? How many things do you avoid because you don’t believe it’s possible (or at least likely) for you to be able to succeed?

Let’s say that the pencil really was glued to the desk but I never said anything about using a tool to lift it up. Would you just assume that you must use your bare hands, or would you get something to pry it up with, or if necessary, get it off the desk in pieces? In other words, do you think outside the box to get something accomplished, rather than giving up because you believe it’s impossible?

In the second scenario, what if you just thought it was a real truck, but it was actually a cleverly disguised balloon that was barely resting on the ground? Your internal beliefs may prevent you from even making an attempt to lift it. After all, you don’t want to look foolish! But in this case, if you really did make an honest attempt to lift it and were able to get past any personal belief that could prevent your muscles from even putting forth the effort, you would be very surprised to learn that it was not only possible to lift the truck above your head, but actually quite easy.

Everyone knows that even the strongest man in the world can’t lift a large truck above his head with just his bare hands. But how many situations are there where everyone believes that a task is not possible, but then someone goes out and does it anyway? There have been many examples of this. Either the task was easier than everyone believed, or as is often the case, someone found the strength, inspiration, ideas and determination to actually accomplish it, in spite of the difficulty.

Why is there so much confusion? The simple answer is that we need to have a clear understanding of what we can and can’t do. But obviously it isn’t always that easy. I’ve written in previous entries about how challenging it can be to perceive reality as it truly is. We have so many filters, biases and preconceptions, plus the fact that we don’t usually have all of the facts. Just like having a pencil secretly glued to the desk or a balloon that looks like a heavy truck. There can be many factors skewing our understanding of what is really possible for each of us as individuals. There can be a lack of understanding of what’s truly possible in any given situation. We may be lacking in belief and determination, including self-confidence. We may have false perceptions of the rules and limitations. Or in other words, we may be “stuck in the box”, like assuming we can’t use a tool to pry up the glued-down pencil.

I believe that some of the greatest sources of stress in our lives can be attributed to these kinds of confusion. One situation is where you truly believe you can do something, but you consistently miss the mark. Like if you really believed that you could lift a real truck with your bare hands, so you kept pulling and pulling on it with all of your might. You just wind up getting sore, worn out and wasting time. There may really be goals in your life that are beyond your reach, although I don’t believe that’s very common. The fact is that the truck CAN be lifted, but you need a lot of help and the right tools. So usually, it’s not so much that the task cannot be accomplished, but that you’re going about it the wrong way. So rather than stressing about not being able to ever accomplish a particular goal, if it’s something that you really desire, step back and take an objective look at how else the task could be accomplished.

Another source of stress is when you’re putting great forth great amounts of effort trying to accomplish something that you don’t even believe you can accomplish. If you really believe deep down that the pencil weighs 2000 pounds or is glued to the table and you think you’re not allowed to use any tools to pry it up, especially if you have a lot of time and emotion invested in that belief, would you be able to just reach down and pick up that pencil that isn’t stuck and only weighs a few ounces? This is where you get into some of these deep psychological mysteries. And yet, I think that it happens quite frequently. What if a football team was getting a pep talk right before a game where the coach said, “There’s no way we can beat this team, but go out and give it your all.”? (In other words, don’t plan to win, just “try” to win. Have you ever talked to yourself that way?) Maybe the other team will not be very good and they could beat them after all. Perhaps, but I doubt it. Most often, that team who doesn’t believe they can win has very little chance of winning. Any decent coach, even if he knows deep down that they’re playing a much better team, will do his best to instill into the players the belief that they can win.

In life, we’re sometimes faced with situations that we don’t believe we can win with, but we put forth our best efforts anyway due to social pressure or physical necessity. It could be a salesman with a very poor sales record who’s been told that he’s got to get the top sales for that week or he will be fired. Then at the end of the week, his sales aren’t much better than normal and he gets fired. He then cries out, “I tried!” Or it could be someone who’s been trying desperately to find a job for a long time and who needs to find a job this month or his family will be out in the street. The next month rolls around and still no employment. He exclaims bitterly, “I tried my very best!” In neither of these cases is the person lying. However, as I stated earlier, I believe that part of trying is not just putting forth an effort, but actually believing deep down that you can accomplish the task. Trapped emotions, acquired beliefs, and so forth can prevent us from having the faith to really put forth a full and honest effort, even when we are doing our best to believe “on the outside”.

Energy work that we do, including the Emotion Code, Body Code and EVOX, can help people to release trapped emotions and false perceptions that prevent us from reaching our full potential. In the meantime, it’s important that we don’t judge others based on what WE believe they should be able to do. Notice that I did not state in either of the scenarios in the preceding paragraph whether or not they were capable of accomplishing the task that they absolutely had to succeed at. From the outside looking in, we have no way of knowing, in spite of how well we feel that we would do in that situation. One of my pet peeves is when someone says, “if I can do it, anyone can do it”. That is a slap in the face to our Creator who made each of us with unique talents and abilities. Also, we don’t know what someone is or is not capable of, given their current circumstances. For ourselves, we need to do some careful self-examination and make sure that if we feel that we’re really trying to accomplish something, we are fulfilling the first two prerequisites of what it means to really try. Then if you really do fall short of your goal and you don’t accomplish the thing you’re trying to accomplish, you can truly and justifiably say, “I TRIED!”

Remember though, it makes no sense to intend to try. Just like the example of picking up a pencil. You can intend to pick it up or you can refuse to pick it up. If it had been glued down, you could say you tried after the fact. But it doesn’t make sense to say that you intend to put forth an effort with an intention to fail. Like Yoda said in Star Wars, “There is no try, only do.” In future tense, never say you’re going to try, only intend to do.