Is Self-Pity Wrong?

Who is to blame for the dire circumstances of your life?

American author John W. Gardner was Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Johnson. During World War II he served in the United States Marine Corps as a Captain. He wrote, Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.

But wait, I think self-pity is a necessary condition to experience before recovery can occur from any unfortunate event. Grieving losses, depression from painful memories, and mourning unfortunate events are part of the healing found in the condition of self-solace. God knows I have visited self-solace many times in my life.

Self-solace is where acceptance of reality creeps into us in amounts we can handle. If we didn’t have these periods of self-solace that enable us to come to terms with the unfairness of life, I dread the thought of damage it could do to our mental health.

However, when we get wrapped up in our misfortunes and hang onto blaming someone or something for the circumstances of our lives, then we are no longer healing—we are feeling sorry for ourselves, and that adds to the problem.

11255216_10153260316333908_4245992246248920802_nSoon a sense of entitlement arrives—we may feel a right to certain privileges and a right to leave behind certain responsibilities because of what we endured. Unhappy comments can often be said to others to enlist sympathy and call attention to what happened unfairly to us. In no time we could set up camp in Victimville recruiting empathy and excusing unhealthy behaviors. Self-pity reeks from us and our healing is kept away.

Whatever has occurred unjustly to you may not have been your fault, but to heal you need to recognize that even though you were blind-sided, the injustice is your responsibility to overcome. It landed in your lap.

Today, ask yourself if there is someone or something you are holding responsible for why your life is the way it is. 

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

 

 

Why Do Our Choices Matter?

Hindsight always reveals the right choice. The one I should have made. The option I should have chosen. Why can’t I have a peek at hindsight in the here and now so I can make the best choice and best decision, today? That’s possible if I learned anything from my past.

Francois de La Rochefoucauld was a noted French author of maxims and memoirs. He held a clear-eyed and worldly view about human conduct in the 16th century. Perhaps he was scolding his fellow peers for spending half their day in bed with women when he wrote:

Everybody complains about their memory, and nobody complains about their judgment.

Five centuries later, I think his snide comment still has merit. Why do our choices matter? Many people speak about their lapse of recall saying, “Gee, I can’t remember anything these days; my memory is awful.” But we don’t make comments about our choices. We don’t say, “Gee, I can’t make correct decisions anymore, my judgment is awful.”

I wish I realized my decision-making ability had needed an overhaul before half my life was over. My earlier years might have been more pleasant and less turbulent.

But, unlike chatter about better golf grips, better gas prices, or better political races, the topic of better decision-making or why our judgment matters, is hardly the choice of conversation at a dinner party. If it were, perhaps there would be less regret and less hurt in our lives. Maybe we would have learned something beneficial for a lifetime from one another.

I like the idea of taking a moment with my family each night to reflect on the decisions and choices made throughout the day. It’s a good mental exercise to look at which decisions showed the use of better judgment and the opportunities that didn’t?

J.K. Rowling says: It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

I think she’s on to something! It’s at least worth a try. So I’m going to take a look at my decision-making process with honesty.

Want to join me?

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com