In Others’ Words: Burying Yourself Alive

ALBIL self pity quote2016

How would you define self-pity?

We’ve all heard the quote about how harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person — the person we can’t forgive — to die.

But what about self-pity — an overwhelming focus on your troubles? Sometimes self-pity blares like a megaphone, but sometimes we learn to muffle the “woe-is-mes,” to make them almost silent background music of our lives. No matter the noise level of the self-absorption, we’re still making ourselves miserable.

For me, self-pity is like burying myself alive, one “no one has it as terrible as I do” thought at a time. Each negative reflection, each “poor me” murmuring, chokes out hope and squelches my dreams.

So what is the antidote to self-pity? It’s as easy as counting our blessings instead of replaying your trials — as yes, God promises to bring good out of the hard times, too. (Romans 8:28) It also helps when you have someone in your life who is bold enough — and loving enough — to confront you and take the virtual shovel from your hand. To tell you to stop feeling sorry for yourself, to stop burying yourself alive with poor-me thoughts.

In Your Words: Back to the original question: How would you define self-pity? How do you combat self-pity?

 

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6 Comments

  1. July 14, 2016, 8:00 am   /  Reply

    i had a very talented and educated Chinese American citizen surgeon Christian friend whose English was sometimes charming. He led us in a singing the praise song, “O, O, O, O what He’s done for me,” and when it came to the verse about “He lifted me out of the miry pit,” he maybe unintentionally sang, “He lifted me out of the miry pity, that’s what He’s done for me.” And we all decided he was exactly right!

    • July 14, 2016, 9:00 pm   /  Reply

      Dee:
      I love the stories you share — and this is now one of my favorites!! 🙂

  2. July 14, 2016, 9:37 am   /  Reply

    It’s important to remember, I think, that we’re in pretty good company when we feel sorry for ourselves.

    “Oh, God, why have You forsaken Me?”

    There is an element of kindness in pity, and we do need to be able to extend it to ourselves on occasion. Not to excess (as we should not praise ourselves too highly), but if we banish both self-pity and self-praise we may well reduce that which we can give to others.

    • July 14, 2016, 9:03 pm   /  Reply

      You raise a good point, Andrew, as you so often do.
      Yes, we need to be able to extend to ourselves what we want to extend to others — but I am not certain others want our pity, so much as they want our empathy and compassion.

  3. July 14, 2016, 10:05 am   /  Reply

    I had an extreme reaction to something in my life, and could not understand why it happened. Got mad at God and walked in the wilderness for 30 years before I realized how stupid that was. The good part about it–God had never left me. Now if I start to think why, me? I do start counting my blessings and praying God’s praises from A-Z.

    I’ve also learned when I don’t get something I really, really want, that it’s not in God’s plan for me. One time that would not have been enough, but now it is. Great post.

    • July 14, 2016, 9:08 pm   /  Reply

      Pat:
      I, too, experienced a wilderness time with God — a time when I asked “Why” and allowed the experience to separate me from God. I didn’t stop believing in God, but I did stop trusting him. The fault was mine — not God’s. And like you, Pat, I learned that God never left me, never stopped loving me — that his grace surely extended past all of my stubbornness and yes, self-pity.

      “I’ve also learned when I don’t get something I really, really want, that it’s not in God’s plan for me.” –There’s a lot of wisdom in those words, Pat.

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