If you continue to feel sorry for yourself, your life will continue to suck.
But you know what? A good portion of people reading this will ignore what I just wrote and continue to feel sorry for themselves. They’ll tell themselves that they’re different, that they have it worse than everyone else, and that no one understands what they’re going through.
The truth is that people feel sorry for themselves because it feels good to feel sorry for yourself. Self pity is comforting, because it allows us to blame external forces for our misfortunes. It justifies not taking action when taking action would be difficult, stressful, and where it could lead to failure.
Sure, Bad Things Happen
Obviously not everything that happens to us is within our control. Accidents happen, people die, illness can strike, and fate can be cruel. But no matter what happens, you and you alone get to play the cards you’re dealt. You get to choose how you react when you lose your job, when you relapse and end up in rehab again, when your significant other cheats on you with your best friend.
Stop Focusing On What Other People Have
The more you focus on what other people have and what you don’t, the more you’re going to feel sorry for yourself. The more you feel sorry for yourself, the less you’re going to move forward in your life. Despite what you might tell yourself, I can guarantee that not everyone who has it better than you, started out with less than you.
There are also people in this world who were born with a silver spoon. They’ve had everything handed to them without having to work for it. They might even be arrogant about it, even though they did nothing to deserve their good fortune.
You know what? Be happy for them. Why not? How does their good fortune affect your life in anyway? You only get to play the hand you’re dealt, and the more energy you spend obsessing over someone else’s lot in life, the less energy you’ll have to work towards improving your own.
How Can I Move Beyond Self Pity?
Ok, that’s enough tough love. If you’ve read this far, you are probably ready to let go of your self-pity, but you don’t know how to do it.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the reasons its so hard to get rid of self pity is because its such a comforting emotion. It doesn’t take any effort to feel sorry for yourself, but it takes tremendous effort to overcome life’s challenges and become a better person for it.
To make things worse, once self pity sets in, it becomes an ingrained pattern in our mind that’s hard to get rid of. We get trained to think negatively, to start the pity party when things don’t go well for us. So what can you do the next time you start feeling sorry for yourself?
1. Implement a Zero tolerance policy
Start by telling yourself that you are no longer going to feel sorry for yourself. Right now, stop reading and take a moment to make this commitment to yourself.
It’s not going to be easy; you have ingrained patterns in your brain that encourage self-pity. But the next two steps should help you slowly but surely create new patterns.
2. Build Self Esteem
Self-esteem can be a wonderful tool for fighting off self-pity. When you feel strong and confident in yourself, you have little need to feel sorry for yourself. Of course, building self-esteem is not an easy thing to do, especially if you’re used to self-loathing and pity.
Building true self-esteem is a process that you work on bit by bit, day by day. Here are some things you can do to improve your sense of self-worth:
- Exercise regularly and get into great shape
- Learn about nutrition and start eating healthy
- Do charity work
- Form new hobbies that requires socializing
- Do new things that are out of your comfort zone
- Set small goals for yourself. Use these stepping stones to work towards achieving bigger goals.
- Learn solid financial management. Learn that you don’t need to spend money to be happy, and that the things you own don’t define your worth
Don’t expect overnight changes, because they won’t happen. But if you keep striving for a tiny bit of personal improvement each day, one day you’ll look back at your old self and marvel at how much you’ve changed.
3. Be grateful for what you have
Is the glass half full or half empty? Even if the glass is only 1/100 full, the way we choose to perceive it is the thing that counts.
No matter how little you have, there’s no doubt you have things to be grateful for. The fact that you’re on the internet right now, connected to the world’s information superhighway and reading the thoughts of another human being thousands of miles away is a miraclein itself.
Choosing to be grateful for what you have is a direct attack on self pity. You can’t be grateful and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. Of course, if you’re used to choosing self-pity, it might be difficult to get into a grateful mindset.
To retrain your negative thought patterns, I want you to try this exercise. Every single day for the next month, write down 5 things you’re grateful for every morning. Do it without fail.
It can be as simple as being thankful for the fresh morning air, that first sip of hot coffee in the morning, the smell of fresh bacon in the frying pan, or even the fact that you’re alive. You can repeat the same 5 things everyday if you want, as long as you take the time to come up with 5 reasons to be grateful and write them down.
Self-pity is a habit and a choice. Take actions to unlearn this negative habit, and choose to bring some positivity into your life.
Article by Josh
Image by Shutterstock