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Self Pity: Making the Switch to Self-Compassion

Updated on May 13, 2014

Self-Pity Isn't Pretty

The dictionary defines self-pity as

"excessive, self-absorbed unhappiness over one's own troubles".

Yup. That about covers it.

We tend to mistake self-pity for pure honesty and kindness to ourselves, but it's actually quite the opposite. Self-pity tries to put on the disguise of self-compassion, but it doesn't wear it well.

I am easily sucked into the vortex of self-pity. Don't get me wrong: I don't enjoy it. I know that it's destructive, unhealthy, and unproductive. It's a menace.

Yet I cling to it like any other addict adheres to her vice. And when I do, I think,

"Well, you knew you were going to fall back into old habits eventually."

Like a dog returning to its vomit.

(I know, you're cringing, but it's in the Bible so I'm allowed to say it).

Self-Pity Sucks the Life Out of Life

I love reading books that focus on positive thinking. I am inspired by affirmations. Neuroplasticity and the brain's ability to develop new thought pathways is one of my all-time favorite subjects.

Focus, meditate, affirm, PMA . . . these are regular practices in my life.

Then something happens that makes me look down from the heights, and down I tumble down the hill.

I wallowed in the mud at about 2AM this morning. Rolling around in the muck, I obsessed over how much my writing sucks.

I'm not fooling anyone. I'll never be able to pay the bills. I'd better just get used to poverty because that's the way it's going to be. And shut-up, Self, because you deserve it.

How Do You Treat Self-Pity?

What do you do to get yourself into a positive mindset?

See results

Self-Pity Takes the Focus off of Others

A Facebook friend had been posting updates on a little girl who was born with a rare condition and not expected to live. She died yesterday.

Yet my daughter is as healthy as can be.

I imagined that grieving mother, sitting at home, staring at an empty crib. I wanted to hug her and apologize for losing sight of all I have.

I thought of how much she would give to be in my position: no cash to buy groceries, but still having a little bed-headed one there to wake her up in the morning with a soft, sweet

"Mommm . . . "

Self-Pity Puts My Needs Before Yours

This diseased mental state is at the root of all society's ills.

  • Self-pity says I deserve something more than that which I already have.
  • Self-pity takes the focus off of others and onto myself.
  • Self-pity is a pre-cancerous cell that grows into a tumor--a destructive organism that eats away its host until there's nothing left.

Compassion is the only cure for this wretched disorder. Knowing that there are others who suffer--often in unfathomable ways--takes the focus off the self. Remembering that we're human everyone makes mistakes promotes self-compassion and squashes self-pity.

Compassion for self and others is the only way to achieve happiness. The only way.

Resolving to achieve a perfect state of self-compassion at all times while ditching the "woe is me" attitude for good is too much.

I'll take it day by day, molding my mind to be grateful for abundance, focusing my energies on becoming a servant to others, and exercising self compassion so that I might become compassionate.

Killing this cancer of self-pity once and for all. one day at a time.

© Liz Davis 2012 Self Pity | Self Compassion

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    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 3 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Music is a life-saver, isn't it? Now that we have a newborn, I have to crank up the tunes and dance several times a day. LOL Thanks, Nell!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Oh I know all about self pity! Lol! seriously we all get like that sometimes, but these days I kick myself and stop myself from doing it, I turn on the radio, full blast I might add, and dance around the kitchen! lol! true! drives my partner nuts but it does cheer me up and stops that cycle of feeling like it, nell

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Oh, Shiningirisheyes, thank you for that comment. When I get down, I always look at my little one and she reminds me how fortunate I am.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I commend you for writing a truly honest and self-reflective hub. Not many have the courage to do that. I, like you find great comfort at Hub pages. Every so often someone writes about a person dealing with such difficulties and I am reminded of how fortunate I am.

      When you have another rough night just remember that daughter. I could never have children and consider others who do very blessed.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, brtbell! I appreciate your kind words.

      LOL, Billy!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...yes, he would love the new laws.....right out in the open now. :)

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      This is a great hub!! You have hit the nail on the head. Maybe if everyone could be a little more self aware as well as aware of those around us, we could make some progress! Thank you so much for sharing! Up and awesome!

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Billy, Billy, Billy . . . you telling me that my writing doesn't suck is like me telling my kid that she's beautiful. lol

      I'm not comfortable making myself so vulnerable, but I think it helps everyone when we share our shortcomings.

      My husband would probably consider moving to Washington. He'd hate the weather, but love the new laws. *wink, wink*

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Liz, it turns out your writing doesn't suck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is that enough exclamation points? LOL

      Beautiful message and I so agree with you; this is an ego-driven society, and all people care about is their own problems, or successes, or whatever, as long as it has to do with them. The focus needs to be on a singular race. It is the only way for us to survive.

      You captured it perfectly in this great piece of writing. A little self-reflection never hurts, eh?

      Proud to know you young lady! The economy is better in Washington if you ever get a hankering to move. :)

      Thank you for doing this, Liz!