Let’s face it, we have all fallen victim to feeling sorry for ourselves. There is an interesting quote by John Gardiner “Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”

Amy Morin in her book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t do offers a checklist to help us determine if we are susceptible to self-pity:

  • You tend to think your problems are worse than anyone else’s.
  • If it weren’t for bad luck, you’re pretty sure you’d have none at all.
  • Problems seem to add up for you at a much faster rate than anyone else.
  • You’re more likely to tell people what went wrong during the day rather than what went well.
  • You often complain about things not being fair.
  • You struggle to find anything to be grateful for sometimes.
  • You sometimes wonder if the world is out to get you.

Remember, we all feel down at times, and we all go through tough times and experience heartbreaking circumstances. I think the danger is that some people seem to get stuck with viewing everything and everyone as being against them and seem overwhelmed by the prospects.

There is no obstacle-free life; everyone has problems, and all experience disappointments in life. All people have difficulties. Regardless of whether you are a person of faith or not, we have to pay attention to how we feel. For some, you need to seek out someone to talk with, a pastor, therapist, medical professional, or mental health professional, or a trusted friend. Please do not ignore your situation and get the help you need, it is important, and there should be no stigma attached, and God is for you!

What are some ways that we can find to get through down times and times of self-pity?

  • Focus on what you have, not on what you have lost. When you feel self-pity approaching, think of your blessings.
  • Help someone. Volunteer. Many organizations could use your help.
  • Do something kind for someone. I have been amazed when I was discouraged, that by helping someone else, my feelings began to change.
  • Physical activity. The year 2019 was quite difficult at our house. I discovered for myself the value of regular physical exercise. In addition to the physical health improvement, I experienced emotional release and encouragement. It really helped me to weather the storms that I was navigating.

Often I find I need to reframe the circumstance I find myself in by simply asking, ‘Is there another way I could see this situation?’ I have also discovered it helps me to think of what advice I would give to a friend if they were facing this same problem?

One thing that has also helped me in recent days when facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge, I pause and reflect on past tough circumstances and remind myself that I somehow made it through the ordeal. If I made it through that problem, I have confidence that I will make it through the mess I am facing now!

As a reminder, my intent is not to make you feel guilty for however you feel and what you are going through. I want you to know you are not hopeless. God cares for you, and He will bring you through. I also wanted to share a few things that have helped me when surrounded by what felt impossible.

God is able to bring you through and He will!

One Thought to “The Danger of Self-Pity”

  1. Charles Areson

    I keep throwing it our of the medicine cabinet but it keeps getting in there. If it was Christmas time I would blame it on elf on the shelf. 🙂

    Sounds like I need to add a book to my reading list.

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