May 21, 2011

Wallowing in self-pity is not pretty

Many of us develop the habit of feeling sorry for ourselves. We find a cause for a personal grievance in every relationship. Both small and big things provoke us. We dwell on difficulties, dangers, tensions, complexities of life and wallow in them.

Roman Philosopher and thinker Seneca rightly says, "In thoughts of self-commission, a man will discover no advantage but will rather incline towards deterioration and softening of himself, and with this there will come upon him a growing indifference to his fellowmen."

The basis of self-pity thus is selfishness. Women who feel sorry for themselves are seldom sorry for others!
woman self-pity
Life bristles with disappointments, big and small. But it is full of positive things too. If things do not go your way, the sky is not going to crash down on you ...

To feel for the sufferings of others and to be compassionate is in order but to continue feeling miserable and weepy for oneself amounts to being an emotional slob. No woman is to be pitied more than the one who thinks that her own pains and problems are of central importance to the world.

How often do we hear the mournful plaint. "I'm not well... I am tense. I have lost interest in life." That insufferable "I" is the cry of the self-pitying ego.

Professor Jung has said that one third of the cases that came to his clinic were suffering from the effects of being sorry for themselves. Doubt and fear were born in the darkness of self-pity. If we yield to them, we thwart ourselves at every step. We can rise only by lifting our thoughts above ourselves.

Roma lost her 30 year old son in an accident. It was a tragic happening. She received a lot of sympathy from friends and relatives. Sometime later she was blessed with a grandson. The void created by the death of her son should have been filled. It was not. This woman had acquired the unfortunate habit of feeling sorry for herself. A dose of pity had become her emotional diet. She remained sunk into such a morass of depression that the pleasing things around her failed to attract her attention. She thought she was the only woman in the world whose life brimmed with unhappiness.

In our Indian society, love before marriage being taboo, love marriages are usually frowned upon. Anu married without her parents' consent. Unfortunately, the marriage broke up after 3 years. Anu keeps breast-beating - blaming her husband, in-laws, everybody!

We all have faced grief, defeat, frustration and failure in life. No life is an endless flow of happiness. Yet we find that the world is not full of neurotics. If all of us were to conduct ourselves as Anu did, the world would be brimming with neurotics. Adjustment would be rarer than the dodo.

Self-pity is a slow poison that poisons our emotional stream. It is not hurt that ruins our life, it's our inability to cope with it that causes emotional imbalance.

Many women nurse themselves on pity for one reason or the other, real or imaginary. Others think they have sacrificed themselves for their children who have turned out ungrateful. There are yet others who feel deprived of some "prizes" they thought they richly deserved. this could be true but the crux is that they nurse a grudge against life. They pity themselves. Their face carries a sign: "Please pity me."

Usually, comparisons are the forte of the self-styled moaner. Her refrain is breast-beating and lamentation. She is obsessed with what is not, blind to all the pleasing things that life has given her.Amy has a charming personality, I do not. She wears designer clothes, I do not. She is successful, I am not. She gets along so well with her husband whereas I am a damp squib. The list of lamentations is endless.
optimistic woman
Always look at the sunny side of life and feel satisfied and fulfilled.

It does not occur to our breast-beater that success, charm and easiness of manner spring from the self, not from externals. Everybody is treated harshly by life at some time or the other and beating the breast is natural. It becomes a personality defect when it becomes a lifestyle and an emotional pattern. In that case one always thinks that life is unfair and worthless.

At times, life is unfair. There is nothing one can do about it except accept it. Life is beyond our comprehension and control. Do not resent this. Adjust. A student who had failure after failure in finding a job, asked me what to do as he was deep in depression. I said, "Come out of your past. This is more important than getting a job."

Pity grows on you like ivy on a oak. It does not mitigate misery. It strengthens its hold on you. You become masochistic. Our Television daily soap actresses are specimens. They are moral cowards who plunge into despair, shed tears and are ever ready to plunge into the sea. This is true of all self-pity-syndrome sufferers. They witness their own doom and think they are being heroic. The fact is that these women begin to feel they are inferior to others. They are unable to stand up to life and its challenges and find retreat into a world of illusion - the easiest escape.

TV actresses regressive weepy
Television actresses are portrayed as weak, regressive and self-sacrificing. They indulge in self-pity and shed copious tears at the drop of a hat.

The woman given to it expects sympathy from others as a right. Little does she realise that she is lowering her own ability to stand up to life. Self-pity is a hopeless crutch. It magnifies troubles, anxieties and fears.
The way out? The first and foremost thing is to be aware of your condition. Be open-minded and accept it as a serious defect in your personality which needs to be corrected.

Sheena's first child was still-born. She drowned herself in a pool of self-pity. She became envious of other women with children and lost interest in household chores. This wallowing in pity would have continued much to the detriment of their marriage had her husband not decided to pull he out by deciding that they would have another child despite the short span between the first and second pregnancies. This halted the march to emotional chaos and Sheena was her normal and cheerful self, without any hang-ups. She now has a bouncy daughter.

Life bristles with disappointments, big and small. Only a child thinks he can always have his way. Life is full of positive things too. By thinking of them one looks on the sunny side and feels fulfilled and satisfied.
An ounce of constructive optimism is worth more than an entire encyclopedia or despair. Says, Beran W. Wolfe in  his book, How To Be Happy Though Human says, "Sackcloth and ashes, remorse and self-reproach, protestations of guilt and lamentations of hopeless inferiority are the sanctimonious excuses of cowards." His suggestion: Act as if happiness were possible.

Ask yourself what you were thinking about before you plunged into the mood of misery. Sort out those causes which make sense and those that do not. Do not let the tyrant mood rule you mind. If things do not go your way, the sky is not going to come crashing down on you. It is only when you think that you must be right, that it is the end of the world not to have your wish fulfilled that you get emotionally disturbed.
woman crying feeling sorry for herself
Do not drown yourself in a pool of self-pity. People who indulge in self-pity are emotional beggars. Ask yourself what you were thinking about before you plunged into the mood of misery. Sort out those causes which make sense and those that do not.

People who indulge in self-pity are emotional beggars. It is quite common to come across beggars on Indian streets. They try to arouse pity in you and ask for alms. What is your reaction? You look the other way. Let this sink in your mind.

Go out into the world. You will find that some people whom you admire for their cheerfulness and positive attitudes, are carrying the heaviest burdens in life. But they carry them with ease. Everyone can carry life's burden however heavy for at least one day. The next day is again only one day!

Stop wallowing in self-pity. You have nothing to lose except your tears and depression!
(Guest Post by S. Sanghi)



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20 comments:

  1. accept the things happened in ur life without hurt,suppression but with he artfully
    the moment u accept your life,,, u can reboot ur life ,to accept ,no books will make u happy or reboot.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sajid9:12 AM

    Life is not a computer.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't care what others say about you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Shahid9:15 AM

    Work on the things that leave you feeling less confident. Make your attitude something you work on by not being a door mat or martyr, this will take time but you must believe in your own self worth and decide to do the work to make yourself happier.
    You can't change the past so learn what valuable lesson it offers and move on, plan what the things are that you want in your future and make small day by day goals to achieve them and never lose sight of the goal!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Namrata9:16 AM

    Bravely face any challenge in life.Make up your inner mind with courage and enthusiasm.Always correctly define your problem and think positively.Always say to yourself that you can do.If there is a will, there will be a way.
    Take it easy.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mahendra9:19 AM

    Bravely face any challenge in life.Make up your inner mind with courage and enthusiasm.Always correctly define your problem and think positively.Always say to yourself that you can do.If there is a will, there will be a way.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Firstly, you must identify the qualities you have. You need to outline your achievements.
    The best way to boost your self confidence however is to believe in yourself. How can you do this:

    ReplyDelete
  8. Shalini9:30 AM

    Having personal confidence in yourself is a really good key. Not meaning be cocky all the time, but you should learn how to embrace everything about you and use it to your advantage.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Shrmayi9:32 AM

    i suggest u to do whatever u want in ur life......and be happy with what u r....... bcuz if u think u r gud than only others will think same abt u.......and be optimistic in life and keep smiling.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous9:33 AM

    “Finish each day and be done with it.
    You have done what you could;
    some blunders and absurdities have crept in;
    forget them as soon as you can.
    Tomorrow is a new day;
    you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit
    to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  11. Anonymous9:34 AM

    “A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past; he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.”
    Sydney J. Harri

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  12. Rahul8:44 AM

    Self-pity is self-defeating; no good can come out of it, so accept responsibility and change yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Karan8:46 AM

    A person in self pity can not and will not accept responsibility for their own life.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Govinda8:50 AM

    Pity is an enemy of choice.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ratnakar8:54 AM

    Really helpful explanation of self pity – taught me a lot – many thanks. Now to put it into practice.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Reema8:56 AM

    thx for posting this, it really helped, didn't know it would, but its just too easy to feel sorry for yourself, there is no challenge in it, and i like challenges!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Balaveer8:59 AM

    Self-pity is an emotional state that tends to manifest and perpetuate itself, rather than resolving – and I think the point of this post is to help people overcome THAT

    ReplyDelete
  18. Mahesh11:21 AM

    This post is very thought provoking.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Think positive, happy thoughts and relax...

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous10:20 AM

    Very nice article.

    ReplyDelete

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