Do not be carried along inconsiderately by the appearance of things, but give help to all according to thy ability and their fitness; and if they should have sustained loss in matters which are indifferent, do not imagine this to be a damage; for it is a bad habit. But as the old man, when he went away, asked back his foster-child’s top, remembering that it was a top, so do thou in this case also. When thou art calling out on the Rostra, hast thou forgotten, man, what these things are?—Yes; but they are objects of great concern to these people—wilt thou too then be made a fool for these things? I was once a fortunate man, but I lost it, I know not how.—But fortunate means that a man has assigned to himself a good fortune: and a good fortune is good disposition of the soul, good emotions, good actions. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 5.36
Many of us experience painful events in our lives on a daily basis. The feeling of misery is powerful than happiness in most people’s lives. We keep thinking about why only we have to face bad situations and experiences everywhere we go. Life isn’t fair to anyone. Tragedies are bound to occur at some point in our lives and awful things will happen to us.
In these situations, many of us feel miserable and sorry for ourselves and the circumstances. It doesn’t matter whether you are rejected at the job interview or you are cursing yourself for not completing the tasks within the deadline, feeling angry and sorry is fine. But if you are too much focused on those situations and keep feeling pity for yourselves, you can never complete your goals. You need to forget what happened so that it doesn’t consume you totally. Self-pity can be self-destructive and you will not be able to learn anything from those experiences.
What is Self-Pity?
Self-pity is actually a state of mind of an individual. It is to be sad for one’s self by thinking that he has all the problems in life and he is the only sufferer. You feel self-pity when you are too much focused on feeling worse about the problems you face.
Self-pity is a destructive and dangerous emotion that will make you comfortable in the short term but will be terrible in the long term. Self-pity is addictive and harmful for you personally as well as professionally. When you indulge in self-pity, you give it the authority to take control of your life. It is never good for your life to keep thinking about negative events and experiences and carry that resentment forward. When your focus is completely on the hurt, you cannot take control of your life.
Self-pity can affect your life adversely. If you keep blaming the negative circumstances in your life, you are actually giving up your responsibility. When you are too much into yourself, you cannot see the suffering of others. Let’s see how self-pity affects other areas of your life.
Struggling with all Aspects of Life
A person who indulges in self-pity always struggles with almost every aspect of life. In this state of mind, a person becomes self-absorbed. He will not be able to think about anything else other than the bad experiences that he has gone through. He gives up control of his life and keeps feeling sorry for himself. As he is not able to think about completing his goals, he is always behind his schedule. Self-pity will always give you an excuse when you want to do something. It will always be easier to feel that you are incompetent at all stages of life. The excuses are not due to the fear of failure but because of not to try something new and interesting. Because of this, you never come up and achieve your dreams.
Distorted View of Other’s Perception
The emotional state of an individual has a larger influence on how he perceives reality. A person with self-pity is always emotionally disturbed and is not able to focus properly. Even the way you focus your attention will affect the perception of reality. With self-pity, you are always depressed and think there is nothing to be happy about. So, in a negative mood, you expect negative outcomes. You also don’t have any idea what other people are thinking about you. If you see yourself as an honest and caring person, you may not give heed to others thinking otherwise. So, when an individual indulges in self-pity, he has a distorted view of how others perceive him.
Low Self Esteem
At any stage of life recognizing your true worth is the key to happiness. The way you present to the world is completely your choice. The world will see you like the way you show them. But if you indulge in self-pity, you will always expect negative things to happen. Your confidence level would be too low that you may struggle to handle situations like the way you want to. For instance, you may think of writing a book, but you don’t go forward with the idea because you doubt your writing skills. You may get rejected many times in the past, but you cannot be focusing on it all the time. If you feel pity for yourself, you cannot recognize your true worth.
Being attentive to details is very much necessary for personal and professional growth. But when a person is continuously sorry for himself, he cannot help others, who are less fortunate. When you indulge in self-pity, you may be expecting someone else to give you sympathy and support. Getting compassion from others will give a great feeling, but it will not have a lasting positive effect. Instead of others, an individual with self-pity will put themselves first. Self-pity is like selfishness. You cannot understand the suffering and needs of other people. In the self-absorbed state, you only think and care about yourself.
But you have the power to control yourself. You can gather courage, come out of the hole and bring the needed change because only you are responsible for your happiness. You can feel pity for yourself, but don’t allow it to consume you totally. It is important to overcome self-pity so that you can lead a healthy life. Here are some ways for overcoming self-pity and to grow stronger and better.
Recognize the Issue
If you don’t want to get burdened by the negative thoughts, you need to come out and think without being judgmental. Overcome self-pity by recognizing the issue due to which you are sad. The issue can be anything, from looming deadline to rejection from your lover. First, find out why you are focused on negative thoughts and which situation or event is making you depressed. Once you recognize the issue, find its cause. If you are late in finishing your work, find out the reason for it. Find out why your work was rejected by your boss. After finding the cause, you can learn to avoid them in future.
Understand what can be Controlled and what not
You need to know that you cannot control everything in your life. For instance, you are late to work and your boss shouts at you. If the reason is storms and incessant rains, you cannot do anything about it. You cannot control the weather so there is no need to focus on that negative event. Now, if you are behind schedule and are unable to complete the work within the deadline, only you are responsible for it. You can change the way you work as it is within your control. So, understand what you can control in life to be successful.
Understand your Strengths and Potential
Everyone has some unique talent that helps them to climb the ladder of success. Instead of feeling pity for yourself because of bad events, take time and realize your true potential. Understand your strengths and weaknesses so that you can handle any situation perfectly. If you are weak in something, work on it regularly. Don’t feel pity for yourself if you are unable to complete a task because you don’t know how to go about it. Instead, gather courage, make a plan and change the situation slowly.
Embrace and Accept What is Bad in Life
Acceptance is the first step you must take if you want to be victorious. You can easily overcome self-pity if you take responsibility for whatever happens in your life. When you experience a bad situation in your life, accept that it has happened to you. Don’t continue to feel sorry for yourself and try not to blame others for it. Instead, take responsibility for the choices that you made and move on with your lives. Not everything would be good in your life. You will have to face dreadful circumstances that may shake you entirely. Accept them and take action so that you don’t have to face them in future.
Self-pity can give you temporary happiness. You may love to get compassion and sympathy from other people (if at all they care to give) during hard times. But self-pity is not going to help you any further in life. There is no use of focusing your attention on the negative events and circumstances. If you want to handle the circumstances confidently, you need to eliminate self-pity completely. You can’t dwell on your life’s inefficiencies. There will be people who will pull you down; there will be situations that will test your patience. That doesn’t mean you keep crying for them. Instead, you need to handle them with confidence to achieve what you have dreamt in your life.