During my early adolescent years, I was queen of playing victim. I was unhappy and dissatisfied with my life and thought it was everyone’s fault, namely my parents. All the negatives I saw in my life (lack of childhood experiences, increased adult-appropriate responsibilities, unrealistic expectations, bizarre rules, etc.) contributed to my belief that I wanted a different life. Why me? I would scream out in my head daily. Needless to say, I was an angry person masked behind my smile. I was stuck and not growing as a person. I overlooked opportunities and was not thankful for the fact that my parents tried their best given they were survivors of a genocide. As you can imagine, self-pity is unproductive. Luckily I realized this one day in high school; I was self-focused and problem-focused. Further, it wasn’t helping me or the people around me. I mean, what good is it to be angry all the time and complain about everything? I wasn’t breathing light or love to anyone, especially myself. So I took action. The first step was to stop blaming others and to take responsibility for myself- my feelings, my actions, my thoughts. If I wanted to be happy, I needed to figure out what made me happy and seek to obtain it. If I was unhappy, I needed to figure out the root of it and fix it. I needed to realize that every hardship has a learning component that will contribute to my growth as an individual. I learned patience and seeing the positive in each situation. Lastly, being unstuck from self-pity broadened my perspective beyond my circumstances and helped me to recognize that there are beautiful people around to help me through life.
What are your experiences with self-pity? How do you prevent it from taking root? Are you currently swimming in self-pity and need encouragement to get out?