Most of us struggle with self-pity at some time in our lives. Self-pity can be a real blockage to us being who we were created to be. As I Tweeted on the 19th of November, “There is nothing worse than self-pity to get us stuck in the ditch. It takes a lot of effort and outside help to get us back on the road.”

So what is self-pity?

Self-pity or feeling sorry for ourselves occurs when we believe we are being treated unfairly and not getting what we deserve. It is coupled with a lack of confidence and we believe we do not have the ability to deal with it. There is a sense of loss and sadness leaving us dis-empowered, helpless, angry and lonely. Self-pity is a way of paying attention to oneself, self-soothing or self-nurturing which in it own way is comforting and that is what makes it so very difficult to deal with. We can easily believe the lie that if we give up our self-pity, who will comfort us? The answer to that is if we don’t have self-pity we won’t need to be comforted, and we can enjoy life.

How can I deal with self-pity?

The first thing is to recognise that it is self-pity and not think that everything is stacked against us. We should ask ourselves, ‘what is the first thing that I notice? Is it a feeling? Is it a way I start thinking? Am I having internal conversations? What sort of situation causes me to feel sorry for myself? Once we have recognised it for what it is we can begin to deal with it.

So how do we move on and not cooperate with of self-pity?

The next step is to choose that we don’t want to co-operate with it. When self-pity is characterised by sadness we need to ask, ‘what do we feel we have lost?’ ‘Can we regain what we have lost?’ ‘What can we do to replace what we feel we have lost?’

We could also ask ourselves the question, ‘Who was not there for me when I needed to be comforted?’ A sample situation may be that of a child who experienced that their friends ‘deserted’ them. They may have gone to a parent for comfort and didn’t receive it. So they had to comfort themselves.

When we are able to discover the cause of self-pity, we are able to deal with it through forgiveness or some other intervention. We now have the ability to understand that it may have been valid then but it is not valid now and choose not to cooperate with it.

As we face self-pity, we begin to mature. We are able to learn our limit of personal responsibility. We can take responsibility for our actions and admit to wrong choices. We can begin to grow into what we were created to be.