How to avoid self-pity?

Self pity.

When you see posters showing children hopelessly crippled by infantile paralysis or muscular-dystrophy, do you not feel sorry for them?

Most people do.

It is natural that one‘s sympathies are stirred when a fellow human is delivered a severe blow, especially when it appears that it is through no fault of the one afflicted.

While you too may feel sorry for others, it is only to be expected that you would also feel sorry for yourself at times.

Perhaps you have been deprived of a loved one in death, lost your possessions in a natural disaster, or have been severely injured, crippled or disfigured.

Such tragedies indeed inflict heavy blows.

You would feel compassion for others who suffered in this way, so that it is not surprising that you feel sorry for yourself when experiencing the same things.

However, does this justify indulging in excessive self-pity if some misfortune should be encountered?

Is this the wise thing to do or the thing that will make you feel better?

Getting rid of self-pity

Perhaps at times you also succumb to feeling sorry for yourself.

How easy it is to arrive at the end of a hard day, tired and loaded down with self-pity!

‘Look how easy Mrs. Jones has it.

She has a maid, nice clothes, plenty of time and money for entertainment ‘Poor me,' you may be prone to moan.

This can come to characterize your entire outlook on life. 

No one has the problems that I have,' you may convince yourself.

Young people especially are given to feeling sorry for themselves.

Perhaps you recall that as a child you often sulked when not granted privileges you desired, or when things did not go the way you thought they should.

But even now you may often indulge excessively in self-pity.

This certainly is unwise.

Why so?

To illustrate:

If a friend should experience a misfortune and is feeling sorry for himself, do you feed his self-pity by telling him what a terrible blow he has been dealt, day after day impressing on him the enormity of his troubles and how badly he is off now?

Would not this only make him feel worse?

So while making clear that you feel sorry for him, would you not, at the same time, try to cheer him up by directing his attention to the prospects for the future, to the things in life that he can still look forward to?

This certainly is the loving thing to do.

Then you should at least, then, be as loving and considerate of yourself.

True, you may have been dealt a heavy blow, and naturally feel sympathetic sorrow for yourself.

This is proper.

But centering attentions on your misfortunes, indulging in self- pity to the point that it dominates your thinking, will make neither yourself nor those with whom you associate happy.

It is not the loving thing or the right thing to do.

Rather than feeding your sorrow through self-pity, how much better it is to take inventory of the blessings you possess and be thankful for these!

Just because things appear glum now does not mean that they will not improve if an effort is made.

Be optimistic.

Look for opportunities to be useful and of help to others.

Are there not many persons worse off than you?

Certainly there are, and it is encouraging to observe how many of these person, do not allow self-pity to turn them into morose recluses or sour introverts.

Instead, they are happy, well-adjusted persons, who not only are pleasant to be around, but an inspiration to others.

This is because they have turned their attention away from themselves and their own unfortunate circumstances to some worthwhile work or to helping others.

They find happiness because they do this.

You can and should do the same.

Yes, there are countless examples where people have not allowed self-pity to shove them into unhappy seclusion.

While it is natural to have compassion for yourself, to indulge excessively in self-pity is wise.

It should be avoided.

Yes, for your own sake as well as others, stop feeling sorry for yourself!