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  • Divya Chandroth

The need to keep self-pity at bay

Updated: Sep 5, 2020

     Self-pity is a state of mind wherein you focus most of your time and energy feeling sad believing that you have suffered a lot and have been a victim of circumstance. It doesn’t allow you to learn and grow from your mistakes. Instead, it is a self-destructive cycle that can lead to more havoc and unhappiness in your life.


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      At times, we face situations not exactly as per what we want in life and this can cause sadness in us. It is very important and healthy to feel and process all kinds of emotions. Feeling sad is also a part of it. If we don’t allow ourselves to feel sadness then we are bottling up emotions inside of us and later it finds its release in unhealthy ways. So, always take some time to sink in the feelings and emotions that we face, but we should know when to stop obsessing over it unhealthily. If we direct our thoughts on feeling like a victim and blame the circumstance or other people in our life for making it difficult for us, then we are robbing ourselves of the opportunity of self-improvement. Difficult situations in life help us in learning how to overcome such problems in future and also to learn from our mistakes. This makes us mentally stronger and helps us in achieving our goals with each passing day. Self-pitying follows a vicious cycle of self-destruction. Initially, self-pity attracts sympathy from others and the self-pitying person feels nurtured because of the attention and care they receive from their rescuer. Also, the other person rescuing them feels like a saviour and feels good. But with time the rescuer feels burdened and drowned in all the sadness and negativity he is receiving. He might feel uncomfortable being with you or sharing his happiness with you. At times he might be feeling forced to help you out of guilt and slowly becomes exhausted. This can lead to havoc in the relationship which can affect emotional well-being. Depression and other physical illnesses start cropping up if this self-destructive cycle is not curtailed. This is not healthy and easy to overcome.


      To avoid self-pity we need to always realize that for every moment that we spend on self-pitying we are devoiding ourselves of the opportunity to learn something new. We need to maintain an optimistic outlook in life and be thankful for all the good things coming our way. Gratitude for even the tiniest of tiny things in life makes us happy. It is important to notice others who are less fortunate than ourselves and be grateful for all that we have. Always, make time to help them in ways possible to us, which will, in turn, divert us from all the self-pitying that we were brooding. Famous American author and activist, Helen Keller once quoted, “Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.” She is a wonderful example of someone who never falls for self-pity. Keller, when born, was perfectly healthy but due to a life-altering disease in her early childhood, she became deaf and blind for the rest of her life. It is inspirational to know that this condition never stopped her from achieving her dreams. She became the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and was an active writer and activist throughout her adult life. Similarly, world-renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking who suffered from ALS which caused paralysis in him didn’t let his ill health deter him from his goals. If they would have just spent their lives pitying about themselves as a victim instead of taking control of their own lives they would never be remembered for being the great inspiration to all. Always take responsibility for our thoughts. It is important to note that if we or anyone around us find it difficult to handle big emotions on our own it is very necessary to seek professional assistance to manage it. Always practice compassion towards oneself and others.


      One of the most important things to realize is that self-pity should never be confused with self-love. Self-pity is selfishness at its core whereas self-love is not. Self-pity lets you focus all the blame on others or circumstances and devoids you of all responsibility for your mental state. It does not let you take in charge of the situation, instead, it makes you a victim of continuous negative thinking. Self-love, on the other hand, focuses on taking control of yourself in all the situations and empowers you by letting you learn from your past mistakes. It helps you in taking care of yourself by relying on oneself and not on others to provide you with a sense of contentment and happiness. So, be your saviour and let go of all the self-pity and embrace more self-love in your life.

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