It’s hard to feel self-pity with a view like this
We have all had the experience of being told ‘stop feeling sorry for yourself’. It is also something we occasionally say (or at least want to say) to those around us.
Feeling sorry for yourself is a poor state to be in, but, yet human nature means we can often end up wallowing in self-pity.
Why We Feel Sorry For Ourself.
If we can understand why we feel sorry for ourselves then we can work out whether it is justified or helpful.
The oft repeated saying ‘pride comes before a fall’ is quite apt. When are pride is hurt, when we feel embarrassed, when we are jealous we can sink into self pity. If we placed less value on our pride and self image, we would be less effected.
Hope for Sympathy / Feeling of guilt.
A large part of feeling sorry for ourselves, is that consciously or unconsciously we are looking for sympathy. Perhaps something unfortunate has happened. By exacerbating our sorrow and misery we feel we will attract more sympathy, love and concern from others. Often we are not really consciously aware that this is our motivation.
Related to the desire for sympathy, is the desire to make others feel guilty. Perhaps someone has caused us problems. We can feel that by displaying our unhappiness, we will make the other party feel suitably guilty, and somehow this will make them do the right thing next time.
If we can honestly analyse our motivation, it can be something of a revelation. Often we fall into a rut of self-pity without really understanding our own inner motivations. But, if these are our motivations for self-pity then we feel it is worth overcoming them.
Self-pity does not
Console one’s mind.
Strengthen one’s heart.
Self-pity only makes one
A real stranger to oneself.
by Sri Chinmoy (1)
How To Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself.
Forget all about it.
When you’re in a rut. You can’t beat just completely forgetting about it or throwing yourself into something else. If we just sit and brood we will never fight the negative cycles of our mind – because it is the nature of the mind to hang onto negativity. But, when we don’t give the mind time to brood, we can easily shrug off the worthless feelings of self-pity.
It’s Not Going to Help
Self pity is often a call for help – a hope for greater love and attention. And we may get it – at least temporarily. But, we have to bear in mind that when we are wallowing in self-pity, many will not want to spend time with us. There is a difference between genuine difficulties and self-made imaginery suffering. False friends will disappear at the first sign of trouble. But, even true friends will get burnt out if we exploit their compassion with persistent self-pity
Feeling Sorry for yourself will not make others change for the better. Our mind may feel that if we make others feel guilty, they will do the right thing. But, human nature rarely works like this. If we try to make others feel guilty we won’t make them do the right thing. In fact, they will just resent us more. To create positive change in others, we ourselves have to be positive ourselves. We need to approach people with positive suggestions for improvements, not with a delicate sense of passive aggressiveness.
Be Happy Not Proud
Feeling sorry for ourselves only makes us unhappy. We have to make a conscious effort to choose happiness. If we forget about the past and live in the present moment, how can we carry around our unfortunate experiences?
(1) Excerpt from Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 203 (poems on self-pity)
Photo Menaka Ait-Ouyahia, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries