“Self-pity is easily the most destructive of non-pharmaceutical narcotics. It is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”
-John W. Gardner

“I’m worthless. I’m a moron. I can’t do anything right. Nobody loves me. Maybe it’s better for everyone if I just disappear.” Every had these or similar thoughts? They’re thoughts of self-pity.

When I was doing research for this topic and how to get past it, a common element I came across really bothered me. Many self-help gurus or motivational speakers suggested solutions that mask the problem rather than address it directly.

They were the same kind of solutions uninformed people suggest for people with depression. Things like watch funny YouTube videos, look at inspirational quotes, trust in a higher power and move forward, and so on and so forth.

There’s nothing wrong with those solutions especially if, on a personal level, they give you comfort. The problem arises when, if you’re living with a mental illness like I am, the situation needs to be addressed directly before inculcating pleasant distractions such as the ones mentioned above. No doubt, finding a positive force of energy is definitely important. It just needs to be in the right order of things.

In order to do that, we need to understand what self-pity exactly is.

Firstly, self-pity may bring forth or is birthed by a cascade of negative emotions but is not an emotion in and of itself. It’s a state of mind. With that accepted, here are a few tips that are generally successful with people:

  1. Give yourself a short period to get it out of your system. When you first start wallowing in self-pity, don’t look for a solution that very second. Depending on how sensitive your mind is, give yourself some time to cry it out. This helps you recognize the problem at hand and be honest with yourself. Of course, with that a disclaimer is crucial: If you’re suicidal or engaging in acts of self-harm, DO NOT wait. Get help right away.
  2. Trace the steps to your current state. What made you feel like you’re feeling in the first place? Take your time doing this step. Take a few deep breaths first. Then gradually, allow your mind to travel back in time to how everything started. Very often, we can easily look back at the negative moments in our lives but it’s more important to recognize the root of those moments. Once you do this, it’ll be easier to go on to the next step.
  3. Forgive yourself. When you discover the root of the problem, remind yourself that you’re not perfect, nobody is, and that the roots you came across appear in everyone’s life at some point or another and things could be much worse.
  4. Once you reach that stage, remind yourself of everything you have and everything you’ve done right to get those resources. I remember once reading a poster that said, “Analyze your living condition. If you have a roof over your head and food for at least two meals of the day, you’re far better off than many people.”
  5. Find the path to a solution. Now that you’ve allowed yourself a release, traced the root of your problems, forgiven yourself and reminded yourself that things could be much worse, your state of mind should be in a much better position to think of ways of rectification.
  6. And now come the steps I alluded to earlier that many people suggest prematurely in my opinion. After going through the above steps, the pleasant distractions are a welcome respite. Whether it’s watching comedies, talking to friends or looking into spirituality, go for whatever method or technique makes you usually feel good.

Most importantly, give yourself time. You’re a human being but a special one. You’ve made it this far in your life for a reason.

What do you do in moments of self-pity? Do you find popular suggestions easier said than done or can you get past them quickly? What specific things do you do in moments of failure? Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below on our secure servers.

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