Dont Feel Sorry For Me!

As I recently (5 minutes ago) wrote about joy- the gift of God that is contentment of the will (possessing a true good), I also wanted to share a little about one of the biggest robbers of joy (aside from anxiety- listen to our radio show for that one!) which is self-pity.

We all, from time to time, experience the feeling of self-pity, where something seemingly or truly unfortunate has happened, and we find ourselves a victim in need of sympathy. Many times this is a normal reaction to certain situations until we can gain since distance from them and assess them more closely. However, if we find we struggle with chronic self-pity, there are some things we might want to take a look at because as long as self-pity rules our emotions, thoughts and actions, we will never be able to fully embrace the gift of joy (because our spiritual "hands" will be full of negative things)

How do you know if you struggle with self-pity? Here is a definition: Self-pity or "feeling sorry for oneself" is the psychological state of mind of an individual in perceived adverse situations who has not accepted the situation and does not have the confidence nor ability to cope with it. It is characterized by a person's belief that he or she is the victim of events and is therefore deserving of condolence. Self-pity is generally regarded as a negative emotion in that it does not generally help deal with adverse situations.

Please note two things: that self-pity is a psychological state of mind ( not necessarily a reality) and that it comes from not accepting a situation out of the fear of not being able to cope with it.

It seems in many ways, as a self-defense mechanism to keep oneself "safe." For rather than feeling unpleasant feelings and admitting the truth of realities, it's easier to hide under the covers of self-pity and see oneself as a victim and often that "victimhood" ends up defining a person's life. We can isolate ourselves with the "you just don't understand me" mentality and then indulge in addiction because "if you had the same thing happen to you, you would do this too."

Are we legitimate victims of certain things? Most certainly. But we all have a choice to either remain in victim mode forever (which usually leads to an addition of some sort-- self-pity has been called the "fuel of the fire of addiction") and become closed in on ourselves and "lick our wounds" so to speak or we can make the courageous decision to admit what has happened to us, talk about it to people we can trust, admit and feel our feelings (even and especially when they are ugly and unpleasant) and ask Jesus to come in and heal us and choose daily forgiveness. We can go to 12 step groups and pray daily to become honest, open and willing.

Are we still a victim of certain things? yes, we have had experiences of victimization but those events no longer define us or make decisions for us. We can choose gratitude, even for the smallest things, and write them down. That creates a shift in our brain to look for the good things rather than the next event to feel sorry for ourselves.

It's a life-long process but one that is worth fighting for.

God is on our side! He wants our souls to be free and filled with joy. As one poet wrote "God did not come to take away our suffering, but to fill it with His presence"

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference...

Comments

Anonymous said…
You Rock Sister!

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