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.
Soon 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.
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