Get Out of Your Own Pity Party: 6 Ways to Stop Pitying Yourself
It’s only normal to experience pain and sadness in your life.
It’s a healthy emotion to help you cope with the situation.
However, dwelling on your sadness and misfortune can be self-destructive.
When you’re pitying yourself, you usually think that your problems are worse than anyone else’s,
That you have bad luck,
That no one truly understands how hard your life is and in general, you often complain about things not being fair.
In this article, you’re going to learn how to get past self-pity and stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Let’s get started!
Why do people feel sorry for themselves?
Self-pity is often used by people as a defense mechanism to protect them from future problems.
In other words, self-pity buys you time.
You’ll be able to delay any circumstances that will force you to face your fears and you’ll be able to avoid taking responsibility for your actions.
Self-pity is also used by people to gain attention in the hope of attracting some assistance.
Like when you complain to your boss about how much work you have to do, in hope that less will be expected from you.
However, that’s not how things work. Feeling sorry for yourself, prevent you from taking action or moving forward which can make things worse.
More importantly, no one is going to swoop into your life and make sure you’re dealt a fair life.
The problem with feeling sorry for yourself
Experiencing pain and sadness should be enough to deal with without adding self-pity.
In fact, indulging in self-pity allows the unfortunate incident to take away even more in the following ways:
1. It wastes your time and energy
Feeling sorry for yourself drains your energy, and wastes your time because it does nothing to change the situation.
In fact, self-pity holds you from moving forward and taking action sooner, which can make things even worse.
2. It invites more negative emotions
Misery loves company.
Once you allow self-pity to take over, a flurry of other negative emotions swoops in.
You start feeling anger and resentment toward the present situation along with other negative feelings.
3. It brings on more problems
When you’re too indulged in feeling sorry for yourself, it’s unlikely you’ll perform at your best.
This might bring on more problems and failures which in turn pushed you to pity yourself even more.
It’s a vicious circle.
4. It causes you to overlook the blessings in your life
No matter how many blessings you have in your life, when you’re feeling sorry for yourself, one single problem can easily overshadow any positive in your life.
This takes away your peace of mind and robs you of your joy.
5. It interferes with relationships
Pitying yourself isn’t an attractive trait when it comes to relationships.
Complaining about your life might drive people away.
So how to get past self-pity?
6 Ways to Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself
#1. Face your feelings
The best way to deal with an unfortunate experience such as being rejected, or losing someone you love, is to face your feelings and allow yourself to feel sadness and grief.
It’s a natural reaction to help you move on faster and get back on track.
#2. Change your self-pity thoughts
Changing your thoughts and changing the way you look at a situation, isn’t always easy.
But by becoming aware of your way of thinking, you’ll be able to rationalize your thoughts.
Try asking yourself the following questions:
Is there another way I could view the situation?
There’s a good and a bad side to every situation. An unfortunate incident can turn out to be a blessing if there’s something to be learned.
What advice could I give a loved one had he been going through such a situation?
You’re likely to find it easier to give someone else advice than to give it to yourself. If you tell yourself that you have bad luck, it’s unlikely you’ll tell someone else the same.
You’ll probably encourage them and offer them kind words such as “You’ll figure this out, it shall pass”. Take your own advice and apply it to your problem.
Replacing your negative thoughts with more realistic ones will take practice and hard work, but it’s definitely effective in decreasing self-pity.
#3. Do things that make it hard to feel sorry for yourself
It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when you’re doing something you enjoy, like going skydiving, or surfing, or hiking with friends, or volunteering, or any other activity you enjoy doing…
Making a conscious effort to do something contrary to how you feel, can make a big difference and keep any self-pity thoughts away.
#4. Create a gratitude list
Indulging in feeling sorry for yourself prevents you from seeing the blessings in your life.
On the other hand, it’s hard to pity yourself when you’re feeling grateful.
Create a list of good things that happened to you in your life and the good things you have in your life.
You’ll realize then how small your problems are when compared to the great blessings in your life.
Studies have shown that people who feel gratitude have better immune systems and experience fewer aches and pain compared to people who focus on their burdens.
Gratitude also leads to more positive emotions, brings more pleasure on a daily basis, and improves social relationships.
In fact, grateful people are more willing to forgive and help others which helps strengthen their relationships.
#5. Help others
It’s hard for you to indulge in self-pity when you’re busy helping others.
Helping those who lack basic needs such as food, shelter, and good health will help you realize how small your problems are.
#6. Don’t complain
Whatever you give away, comes back to you, oftentimes, multiplied.
When you complain, you’re not just getting it out of your chest, you’re inviting more troubles into your life to complain about.
It’s a vicious circle.
When you complain, you not only waste your time and energy but also prevent yourself from seeing the good in your life.
Whatever happens to you, don’t complain about it. Don’t let it take away from you more than it already did.
Self-pity is one of the bad habits that hold people from reaching their potential.
Like everything associated with change, quitting self-pity is going to take time and practice.
And the more you do it, the stronger mentally you become.
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Portions of this article were adapted from the book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, © 2013 by Amy Morin. All rights reserved.