Self Pity: A Disastrous Psychological Sin
Think of someone who has hurt you or badly treated you, abandoned you, rejected you or betrayed you in some way or let you down. And think about the effect that had on you, the kind of difficulty or challenge that it imposed on you and the suffering that you experienced as a result.
Now, imagine that person comes to you and apologise to you, exactly the kind of apology you wish you could hear. And after getting this apology you feel understood. But unfortunately, it’s far too rare to receive those kinds of ideal apologies from those people. So in absence of those apologies, we may sometimes find ourselves stuck in a prison of self-pity.
Self-pity can be an experience of dwelling from the past in the state of victim-hood in which you sense that something terrible was done to you or where you feel entitled to have the world treat you better than it did. That quality of self-pity causes us to potentially wallow indefinitely in this space of suffering.
Even though whatever our circumstances maybe we still have a choice. Either to be angry for what we don’t have or be thankful for what we do have. The power of this choice was the first thing that we have to overcome and decide for ourselves. When we feel like we don’t have enough love and hope, we start losing strength to live. This world is a hurting place, it needs hope and it needs love. As we are looking for hope and happiness, instead we have lies that every day comes to our mind.
You know the people that you have in your lives, no matter how good your day is, they will bring you down. And even no matter how bad your day is, they will bring you even lower.
Think of some biggest discourages in your life. These are not your biggest discourages, you are. Words are powerful. When you hear those words, then your mind starts growing with these lies. What’s the word for believing in something you do not see? It is Faith.
We all know intuitively that there are different ways of thinking about things. Our view of the world has a fundamental tendency to tilt towards the negatives. It’s pretty easy to go from good to bad, but it’s far harder to shift from bad to good. We literally have to work harder to see the upside of things. We tend to think that our misery loves company. We think that venting will help get rid of our emotions, and we’ll feel better if we just talk about how terrible our day was. Our minds may build to look for negative information and to hold on to it. But we can also retain our minds if we put some efforts into it.
Self-pity has been co-related with depression, with what we call externality belief which is the belief that everything that affects me is happening outside of me that I have no power over it. It is also correlated with internal anger, increased rumination, loneliness, and distrust. Self-pity is founded on the assumption that ‘I am a victim’. And that foundation needs to be changed in order to get over our self-pity. We have to move from what I call an external locus of control to an internal locus of control. An external locus of control sees everything that happens to us is being in the power of things outside of us. But, internal locus of control says that what I can do about the things that happen to me.
The replacement of self-pity is ‘taking responsibility’. For some reason, human being’s responsibility taking mechanisms is a bit ‘off’. We either tend to blame other people for our stuff or we take upon ourselves the blame that belongs to them. It’s a sign of maturity when we can accurately take appropriate responsibility for our situation. So, I recommend the first thing you do in ‘taking responsibility’ is, you list five things that might help you in your current situation and write them down on paper. Then, ask any of your accountability partners, someone you trust to step in and help you to take responsibility for your situation and pursue those options.