Self Pity

Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world. Helen Keller

Quite often we tend to brood over the past and a number of times we stray into a ‘If only’ mode, thereby suggesting that ‘If only’ things were different at a point in time we would have been happier / successful/ popular etc. It is but natural to lapse into such though process because man by nature is a thinking animal and in that process we would have both positive and negative thoughts. However when the negative thoughts over ride the emotions and seep into our psyche then we shift gears and move into a self pity mode blaming others for our failures, circumstances for conspiring against us succeeding and us putting on a garb of an innocent victim of fate.

If the past looked dark, for many caught in the frenzy of self pity, the future seems darker. This is because we also have the ability to telescope our self pity into the future and visualize ourselves as victims of a conspiracy of fate. We convince ourselves that if things look bad today the future is worse; we imagine ourselves caught in a spiral of unending struggle, engaged in a battle to rid ourselves of financial woes, personal and professional challenges and getting stuck in the rut of everyday living. Perhaps self pity is the way to escape from our responsibilities, loosen our guilt over our failures and a comfortable perch from which to agonize over the dismal way our life has shaped up. Alas, self pity cannot change the reality that we alone have to furrow our path to success.

It is important to realize that self pity is very different from introspection. Introspection is brief and objective analysis of happenings. Rationality is at the core of it and we place the facts dispassionately in front of us with a view to study it and learn from it. The negatives are not seen in isolation nor are they used as excuses but merely as facts that exist but never the only cause of our troubles. Rationality also places a very high premium on the positives and views it as lucky breaks, deserving opportunities and chances of fate that we should have capitalized on. If we haven’t, we take responsibility and we also cherish the moments of success that have been built up these positives.

If we look at the life of Helen Keller, we would realize how much more fortunate we are for most of us we are blessed with perfect faculties of hearing, sight and speech. Despite the triple strike against her, she was lucky to have the support of her family and the extraordinary luck of meeting up with teacher who believed in herself and her pupil and used the most extraordinary methods to groom her ward. Look around and you will observe that you too have the extra ordinary luck of a supportive family, friends, resources almost all of which we take for granted.  At this precise moment cherish the gifts of eyesight because you are reading this post, the gift of education for you understand what you read and the gifts of technology for you are accessing this because of the computer, the blog and the allied paraphernalia that technology has gifted to human kind. You have much to look forward to in life; if you still have doubts how about seeing the following video footage

Remember: “Self-pity will parch your attitudes, it will paralyze your abilities, and it will put off your achievements. It prohibits excellence and prevents expansion.”

Try these:

  1. Blind fold yourself using a large kerchief or a big cloth. Now try and spend 15 minutes just doing what you would normally do in the day (except trying to sleep of course ha ha). Experience the feeling of helplessness, fear, paranoia etc. When you think 15 minutes are up remove the blind fold and check if it was 15 mins or 5 mins. Now ask yourself what are the strikes against you, in your life; you won’t find too many I bet.
  2. List out three things about yourself that you are ashamed of or embarrassed about. Do you experience a feeling of self pity because of those embarrassments? Are any of them hereditary or born with eg. Stammering, personal deformity or being obese. Do you still feel self pity that it was your unfortunate lot to be inflicted that scar in your personality? Now contrast that with all the blessings that you have got.

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