Self-Compassion vs. Self-Pity

 In America
When times are tough and it seems like life just keeps dumping on us, it’s understandable and very human to feel self-pity. After all, who is going to feel sorrier for us than ourselves? As humans we are prone to comparisons. We scour other people’s lives to see how much better they have it. Self-pity generates and thrives as we ruminate on how hard, how unfair, or how dissatisfying our life is. We may mentally rehash the list of “wrongs” that have created an avalanche of misery. It can be a very addictive emotion because our “primitive” brain feeds on negativity.
 
I have been having such a week. Here’s my list: my cat freaked out while I was holding him and bit me very badly, now I’m on antibiotics; next day I woke up with a sore throat, now I have a wicked cold; went on a date with a nice guy, but he wasn’t interested in seeing me again; blew up at my teenagers for refusing to help me bring in groceries, daughter told me “you should never had had children”, the ex is predictably unreliable and clueless. I am exhausted physically and emotionally.
 
So, we feel miserable and sorry for ourselves, but this behavior keeps us stuck. When we identify as victims of an unfair universe, we relinquish our emotional strength, and our perspective.  At times there is nothing we can do about the inner or outer hurdles we face and self-pity leads us nowhere but down. It makes us forget what we do have, and screens out all positives.
 
Instead, when we’re in pain we can choose to feel self-compassion. This feeling promotes self-respect and honors the very real experience of pain, loss, disappointment. But, self-compassion doesn’t make life “wrong” or perpetuate the victim mentality. Self-compassion gives us the love and care we yearn for–and from a constant source: ourselves. Self-compassion connects us to the Divine, God, the Universe, our Greater Self. Being a human is hard work–especially when we want to live as evolved, conscious, emotionally mature ones.
For today, if you’re struggling, join me in feeling self-compassion. Be patient. Be gentle. This too shall pass.

 

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