Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 11, 2020

8 Ways to Let Go of Self-Pity for Good

8 Ways to Let Go of Self-Pity for Good

Life isn’t meant to be easy. It may be true, yet it’s the last thing you want to hear when in the midst of self pity.

You feel perfectly entitled to feel sorry for yourself and you wish those positive do gooders could see how awful your situation is. I totally get this. I’ve been there a few times when life has delivered unexpected doozies.

Relationships end and life becomes a struggle, or you don’t get that job you really wanted. You miss an important deadline, the stock market crashes or you lose your home. There are a multitude of things that don’t go the way we want them to and it’s natural to feel sorry for ourselves.

Here’s the thing though:

It’s okay to have the blues for a while in any one of these instances and more. In fact, I always say it’s important to feel the emotion instead of stuffing it down.

However, problems arise when we get stuck in self pity and it becomes our automatic go to in any difficult situation.

Becoming stuck in this mindset means we run the risk of never learning from our mistakes in a positive way. It also stops us from feeling empowered, finding solutions and achieving what we want in the long term.

Regularly feeling sorry for yourself over a long period of time can also lead to depression. And it can even lead to physical health issues like coronary heart disease.

Even more alarming; an article written in The Independent states that self pity can be as bad for your heart as smoking 20 cigarettes a day![1]

Contrary to much you might read about self pity, it’s not an emotion in itself; it’s a state of mind. It happens when you focus too much on your own problems and believe you are a victim of circumstance.

This mental focus leads you to feel emotions like sadness, anxiety, hurt and helplessness.

It feels good to wallow in self pity over the short term and that’s why it’s easy to fall into. But if we stay in it for too long, it becomes like a deep black pit that’s difficult to climb out of.

The good news is, there are a number of ways to change this debilitating state of mind. The sooner you nip it in the bud and get started the easier you can let go of self pity for good.

1. Give Yourself Compassion First

When something doesn’t go the way you want it to, instead of trying to grin and bear it, allow yourself to feel sad.

Advertising

We are meant to feel a whole range of different emotions. Trying to be positive in the midst of a difficult time, means you have to stuff the real emotion down. This is not good for you or good for others, because the emotions are likely to resurface at a later time.

Allow yourself to really feel what you are feeling. Be compassionate with yourself just as you would with a dear friend or loved one. Reach out to others and ask for support if you need it. And let others be there for you when they want to be.

This enables you to really connect with your emotions and feel supported. And when you do this you are less inclined to resort to feeling sorry for yourself later.

Start taking up these 13 Simple Habits to Cultivate Self-Compassion.

2. Become Aware of the Pain of Self Pity

There is a turning point between a healthy feeling of hurt and sadness and moving onto self pitying. And because it feels good to begin with, it’s easy to miss the turnaround.

Feeling sorry for yourself not only creates pain for you but it creates pain for others too. Not many people want to be around you if you are always down. Or they could even feel guilty for being happy around you.

It’s not long before your friends begin to avoid you, because it doesn’t feel good to be around you. Instead of seeing that as something else to feel hurt about, become aware of the pain you are creating for yourself.

No one can make you feel anything, only you control the way you feel. Become aware of the pain you are creating and make a firm decision to change it.

3. Refuse to Be a Victim

Victim mentality is quite often the cause of self pitying behavior. It’s called the drama cycle and for some reason we choose to blame someone or something else for the way we feel.

The drama cycle initially feels good, because as a victim, someone else tries to save us from our problems. This means we feel nurtured and it’s nice to know someone cares about us. We feel significant.

The thing is this destructive cycle can become quite addictive and plays havoc with our relationships. Most people don’t want to associate with someone who looks for a personal negative on everything they say and do. And the person who is constantly rescuing begins to feel tired of the extra responsibility.

Decide that your relationships are too important to risk damaging them. Make a stance and refuse to be a victim. Handle things like a responsible adult would and look for your part in any situation.

4. Change the Hidden Question That Keeps You Stuck

As humans, we ask ourselves questions all the time. In fact, it is the basis of our internal communication. And the answers we receive are based on the quality of the questions.

The question victims most often ask themselves is “Why?”

Advertising

“Why is this happening to me?”

“Why did she do that?”

“Why did he say that to me?”

The problem is these are low quality questions. And because our unconscious mind immediately answers those questions, it will give low quality answers. For example;

“Because you’re not good enough..”

“Because she doesn’t like you”

“Because he doesn’t value you.”

Any question beginning with “Why” will keep you stuck in your current situation feeling like a victim.

Make a decision to banish the word “Why” from your vocabulary and replace it with words like “What”, “How” and “When”.

For example;

“What can I do to get a different outcome?”

“When will I contact her and explain how I feel?”

“How can I change the situation?”

As you change the quality of your questions, you will notice how much more empowered you feel regardless of the actions of others.

Advertising

5. Take Responsibility for Your Perception

There’s a multitude of ways we can see a situation. But if you regularly hold pity parties, it’s virtually guaranteed you only see things in a certain way.

The way we filter information influences the way we perceive things, and this is based on past and present experience. So if we have consistently seen things in a negative way in the past, it’s likely we will continue to do so unless we bring awareness to the table.

Psychotherapist and international expert on mental strength Amy Morin states that our emotional state influences how we perceive reality.[2]

And the way we perceive reality also affects how we feel, so it’s a self perpetuating cycle.

No one makes us see anything the way we choose to see it. And in my experience the way we initially view things, is often not what is really happening at all.

Our perception creates our reality and by changing our viewpoint, we are able to change any experience.

Take responsibility for the way you are viewing a situation and challenge yourself to see it in a different way.

If you feel troubled by an experience, get yourself a sheet of paper and write a list of every perception you can think of. You will be surprised at how off the mark you initially were.

6. Embrace Courage and Be Kind to Yourself

It takes courage to hold up the mirror and look at our part in things, but this is the only way to sustainably change. This is because we only ever have complete control and influence over ourselves.

There are always two parts in any situation, whether it’s a disagreement with someone else or that job you didn’t get. And when we look at our part, we gain insights on how to change or improve next time.

Holding up the mirror doesn’t mean beating yourself up for your mistakes. This is just another form of self pity.

Be kind to yourself in this process — 30 Ways To Practice Self-Love And Be Good To Yourself. Observe yourself and give yourself advice as you would a trusted friend.

As you do this, you will notice your self-pity decrease and self-empowerment increase. You will always gain personal growth and benefits from each circumstance.

7. Acknowledge the Good in Your Life

The main mindset of self-pitying behavior is to have a negative default. This means we rarely look at the good things we have in our life.

Advertising

Because of this, the fastest way to turn this around is to make it a practice to regularly focus on the good. You may have heard this before and that’s because it’s true.

I am a big believer in keeping a gratitude journal and have been doing this daily for eight years. It certainly keeps me on track with acknowledging the good.

Begin each day by writing down 5 to 10 things you are grateful for. Make them different things each day. From the simple things like the drinking water coming out of your tap to the bigger things like your pay cheque arriving.

You can also do this out on your daily walk or driving to work. Instead of being lost in your thoughts at those times, stay aware. Actively look for things to be grateful for like the trees or rain.

As you practice the attitude of gratitude you change your automatic default from negative to positive.

8. Notice Others Less Fortunate

With all the disasters happening in our world right now, it’s easy to find examples of others less fortunate. This is comparison used in a positive way.

That person you thought spoke rudely to you yesterday is a minute hurt compared to people currently losing their homes in fires globally. That is huge pain. They’re trying to put their lives back together and help others right now.

Instead of feeling wrapped up in your own despondency, look for ways you can help others and make a difference.

Contribution is one of the fastest ways to feeling good and taking your attention away from yourself. It builds huge positive connection with others. You will feel like you are doing good in the world and see you are making a difference.

This is good for you, good for others and good for the greater good. And you will notice your self-confidence and empowerment soar.

Final Thoughts

Self pity isn’t a good or bad thing; it just doesn’t work over the long term. The more we feel sorry for ourselves, the more inclined we are to keep repeating unwanted circumstances.

Life will never be easy all the time, because that’s not why we are here. As humans, we are here to experience variety, which includes pleasure and problems. And within each unwanted issue is the opportunity to grow and create a better life.

Give yourself support and look for solutions to create the life experiences you deserve. From this standpoint, your problems will no longer have the hold on you they once had.

More Positive Vibes

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The Independent: Why Self Pity Is Bad for Your Health
[2] Psychology Today: 9 Ways to Get Past Self Pity

More by this author

Deb Johnstone

Deb is a professional mindset speaker and a transformational life, business and career coach. Specialising in NLP and dynamic mindset.

How to Use the Theories of Motivation to Keep Yourself Uplifted How to Survive a Quarter Life Crisis (The Complete Guide) How to Learn Patience to Get Your Thoughts and Feelings Under Control 9 Self Limiting Beliefs That Are Holding You Back from Success How to Make a Plan And Reach Your Goals in Life

Trending in Communication

1 11 Red Flags in a Relationship Not To Ignore 2 Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating 3 7 Simple Ways To Be Famous In One Year 4 How To Feel Happier (10 Scienece-Backed Ways) 5 31 Simple Ways to Free Your Mind Immediately

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

Advertising

The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

Advertising

The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

Advertising

Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

Advertising

The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

Read Next