Posts Tagged ‘self-pity’

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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