John Gardner said “Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics. it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality”. Basically, it is all in your head and you are the only one who can change things, inside and outside of you. It is only a method to buy time to face reality. It only delays bringing you face to face with your fears, allowing you to avoid taking responsibilities for your actions. And in the end, you get stuck. You don’t move, you don’t grow. And guess what? The feeling doesn’t go away.
Self-pity is self-destructive. It creates new problems that will bring new consequences with them:
- it’s a waste of time
- it leads to move negative emotions
- it can lead to living a pitiful life
- it prevents you from dealing with other emotions
- it causes you to overlook the good in your life
- it interferes with relationships
So how to avoid getting into this vicious circle? There is no secret recipe: YOU have to do the work, as you are the only one that can change your thoughts. You have to start analyzing your inner conversation and stop every time you catch yourself thinking about something that drags you down emotionally and mentally. “While feeling sorry for yourself is about thinking I deserve better, gratitude is about thinking I have more than I deserve”.
Gratitude plays a big role in helping you getting out of your negative thoughts. Instead of always thinking the worst of each situation, try to flip it around in a positive manner: almost everything has another side of the coin which is brighter than the other. Almost everything can be changed with the right attitude and the will to change and improve. Of course, it is much harder than to just sit there and complain: it requires action, it requires will power, it requires wanting to improve. It will be hard at the beginning, but the benefits that you will be able to reap will be worth it. Everything around you and inside of you will change: you will feel better, stronger, more focused, more in control. And the blame game that you have been playing until now, will seem like a distant memory.
- you want to lose weight? get off the sofa, go for a walk, start moving and increase intensity as you gain confidence again
- you don’t have enough friends? do the first step. Call, connect, invite people for a coffee, join a networking club that matches your interests
- you are bored? I am sure you have a passion that you can cultivate – everyone does ( I can say from personal experience that this was life changing for me and gave me so much energy that it ended up improving my whole life )
- do you have a lingering feeling of unhappiness? try to focus on what makes you happy and you are grateful for…I am sure that if you think hard enough, you will find something
Just take that first step of deciding that “this is enough” and you need to make a change. And remember, you are not doing this to please anyone…you are doing this for YOU. And this should be a reason important enough to get you moving towards a life of action and 100% responsibility, away from self-pity and blame.
A few last tips from the book:
- give yourself a reality check so you don’t exaggerate how bad the situation really is
- replace overly negative thoughts about your situation with more realistic ones
- chose to actively problem-solve and work on improving your situation
- get active and behave in a way that makes you less likely to feel sorry for yourself, even when you don’t feel like it
- practice gratitude daily