Dwelling on your misfortunes won’t make them go away (and it won’t make you feel any better). If you want to move on with your life but aren’t sure how, please consider these thought exercises that might help you let go of self-pity.
Even the most terrible storms pass in time.
“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.” ― William James
Self pity is a waste of your precious energy. No matter how terrible your life might seem, they are only as bad as you allow them to become in your mind. Please don’t allow yourself to become paralyzed by negative thoughts like, “Oh my God, there are so many things to do that I don’t know where to start,” because then you will, ironically, make a bad situation worse by putting everything off. Simply pick ONE action that you could realistically accomplish today, no matter how insignificant it might seem, and get it done. If you do that a bunch of times in a row, magical things can and will happen.
Throwing pity parties is counterproductive.
“The problem that we have with a victim mentality is that we forget to see the blessings of the day. Because of this, our spirit is poisoned instead of nourished.” ― Steve Maraboli
Writing this article made me think of a dark time where I found myself stuck in the trap of self-pity. Without getting into particulars, let’s just say I made a poor investment that didn’t pay off, had a few clients leave my online coaching program, and got hit with some unexpected bills (big ones involving car mechanics and power companies), all at the SAME time! Of course, I was right to be frustrated (who wouldn’t be?), but I allowed that feeling to spiral out of control until I became so emotionally devastated that I wasted more time in a depressed funk than I would like to admit.
Talk through the problem with a person you trust.
“There are no facts, only interpretations.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
After a few dreadful days where I didn’t do anything but pity myself, I finally found the guts to approach a trusted friend for advice. It was hard to be vulnerable, because admitting how bad things got so quickly made me feel like a huge loser, but I’m so glad I did it. He assured me that everything would be okay, offered suggestions about how I might make some extra income to ease the pain, and even told me a story about how he once found himself in a similar situation. Talking through the problem with a friend helped me shift my perspective. Instead of seeing myself as a powerless victim, I now saw myself as a person who the potential to take control of the situation.
Choose the thoughts you dwell on very carefully.
“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
My shift in perspective gave me the encouragement I needed to crawl out from my self-imposed exile to the land of self-pity, but I’m not going to lie… there were still moments (lots of them) where I’d notice negativity trying to sneak up on me in the form of thoughts like:
- “Why bother? You know you’re just going to screw it all up again anyway.”
- “Do you really believe anyone cares what you think? No one wants to listen to a failure.”
- “When you think things are turning around, you’ll find yourself in another situation just like this one.”
Do any of those thoughts sound familiar? If so, don’t feel like there is something “wrong” with you. We all struggle with our own mental monsters, and doubt is a common one that I know very well. I’ve discovered that these thoughts have no control over me as long as I don’t dwell on them. Don’t stop to consider every thought that runs through your head. Only reflect on the thoughts that empower you to achieve your purpose; otherwise, it’s not worth a moment of consideration.
If you know anyone who might be having a tough time getting over self-pity, please feel free to share this article.
Featured photo credit: Memories of those days/Laura Cores via flickr.com