You screwed the pooch. You missed the game winning shot. You took a risk and you failed. You tried something new and it didn’t work out.
Pity…party of 1.
For many people, the most obvious next step is to throw yourself a pity party.
Perhaps you can lament all the ways the world has worked against. Or maybe drink a big cup of “why me”. You could even plop a huge “I’m just not good enough” cake topper on top of your sad little cake.
Self-pity can be an all-encompassing thing. It has been likened to narcotics, in its addictive nature, and its ability to separate the individual from reality. It is neither productive nor restorative, and it is, simply put, a huge waste of your time.
Helen Keller once said:
Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.
Lest you have forgotten this remarkable young woman’s story, Helen Keller became blind and deaf before the age of two. She later learned to sign, read braille, speak, and became the first deafblind person to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
If anyone in the world had a right to pity themselves, it was this girl, born into a time when medicine and the human body were still a great mystery. Instead, she committed herself to learning and improving, so that she could go out into the world and live her passion, becoming an author, political rights activist, and lecturer.
Engaging in self-pity is by far, the least productive use of your time. If you are attempting to really do something different in your life and make some real change, there will be times you will fail. You will stumble. You will fall.
This is because no one is perfect,
and when you are working towards bettering yourself or your circumstances, there will be periods when you must make decisions without all of the information, or work in an area you are totally unfamiliar with.
There can be a pretty steep learning curve when you are embarking on new territory, and there will be times when you make mistakes. The key, during these times of mistakes and missteps, is not to let self-pity paralyze you and prevent you from correcting, moving forward, and learning from the situation.
When you fail or face a setback, which you inevitably will, do not allow yourself to wallow in the failure.
Instead, remember that failure is part of the formula for success. Failure (and I’ve done a lot of it.) allows you to learn, and grow, and be better. Focus on this, recognize that the best of the best have failed, numerous times, and just like them, you can move on and use the knowledge you gained from the experience.
Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Don’t allow your mind to be clouded with doubt or negative thoughts. Remember your goal and accept that setbacks are inevitable on the path to success. It is only those individuals who don’t waste time getting caught up in feeling sorry for themselves that can push forward and eventually reach their ultimate goals.
“Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Don’t allow your mind to be clouded with doubt or negative thoughts. Remember your goal and accept that setbacks are inevitable on the path to success. It is only those individuals who don’t waste time getting caught up in feeling sorry for themselves that can push forward and eventually reach their ultimate goals.”
Thanks for the comment Michael!
Good stuff Quincy. I have been master of the self pity train. I’ve always thought that the world was against me. 40 years later, those thoughts still permeate throughout my being. I have to get out of this. It’s bad and yes unproductive.
Hey Ronald, thanks for your kind words! The best thing we can do is acknowledge when we are setting ourselves up for failure. It doesn’t mean that doubt doesn’t ever set in from time to time, but focusing on the actions we can take rather than focusing on our circumstances, gives us the greatest opportunity to overcome them. Thanks again for your thoughts.
As you mentioned about Helen Keller, some people face more difficulties in their lives than others. I’ve always wondered why my difficulties or hard times does not happen to “bad people” instead of me. But my father always said “life is not fair.”
Awful things will always happen. Painful outcomes or tragic events will affect many of our lives at some point. I feel that it is ok to feel pity for yourself and being apathetic. It’s normal to feel this way. But at some point you have to forget about the past, and not let it control your entire life. It could keep you from moving forward.