How to stop wallowing in self pity?

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In this blog we will discuss what are steps that you can take to stop yourself from wallowing in self pity. 

We will also briefly discuss what self pity is, why we do it, and why wallowing in self pity is dangerous. 

How to stop wallowing in self pity?

Here are a few steps that you can take to stop wallowing in self pity:

  • Be kind to yourself first
  • Become aware of your feelings
  • Acknowledge your feelings
  • Take responsibility of your perceptions
  • Challenge your perspectives
  • Practice gratitude
  • Help others
  • Count your blessings
  • Seek support

Self pity is an emotion that involves sorrow, pity, and sympathy towards one’s own self and is often in regards to one’s own internal and external challenges and experiences of suffering. 

Self pity usually happens when someone feels like their life is out of control and it is tinged with a sense of hopelessness about their own lives and themselves. 

Be kind to yourself first

The first thing that you can do if you want to stop wallowing in self pity, is to take on a mind of kindness and empathy towards yourself. 

You might want to disregard your feelings and beat yourself about it- instead, allow yourself to feel pity and sadness about yourself and your life. 

Start by being non-judgemental about why you are feeling this way and how you are feeling it. Be compassionate with yourself and patient while also understanding that this is something that is a natural part of what people go through in their lives. 

Become aware of your feelings

Next, become aware of what your feelings are. With self-pity, what are the other feelings that are bubbling up? It could be regrets, it could be hurt and anger, as well as feelings of helplessness. 

Become acutely aware of what you are feeling, write it down somewhere or tell yourself that you are feeling xyz feelings. It is important that you become aware of your feelings and how it impacts your mood and your behaviour. 

Acknowledge your feelings

Once you have identified your feelings, acknowledge them and how painful they are and how it is affecting your life. 

Make sure that you also do it with a non-judgemental stance- don’t ask yourself why or tell yourself that your feelings don’t matter. Instead, focus on what you are feeling, acknowledge them for what they are. 

As you acknowledge them, you are allowing yourself to experience these feelings no matter how difficult they are. Don’t distract yourself from your feelings but instead sit with them and feel it.

Take responsibility of your perceptions

You have to understand that your feelings of self pity come from a distorted view of your own life and yourself- meaning that your feelings are influenced by cognitive perceptions and thoughts. 

Now, you have to take responsibility for your patterns of thinking by understanding that most of these thoughts are not facts about yourself and your life, instead these are simply assumptions that you have made with little to no real evidence. 

Understand that these distortions often lead us to feel negatively and this leads to self pity. So what you can do is to take responsibility for the way you are viewing a situation and challenge yourself to see it in a different way.

Challenge your perspectives

Challenge your perspectives involves you questioning your own beliefs about yourself and the world. This means that you take time to sit down and reflect on what you have been thinking about yourself and your life. 

You might want to write down what you think- even if these thoughts are full of self pity, anger, frustration- whatever it is; write it down. 

Next, ask yourself if these thoughts are really true. For example, if you are thinking- “I am good for nothing” as yourself if you are truly good for nothing. 

Then one side of the page writes down all the arguments that prove that you are good for nothing and then write down all the arguments that prove otherwise. This is an exercise for you to challenge yourself to look at your strengths while also disproving your beliefs about yourself.

Help Other People

Engage in prosocial behaviour such as altruistic behaviour- helping other people. Rather than ruminate on  your own inconveniences, challenge yourself to help someone else by doing something kind. 

It could simply be smiling at the cashier at the grocery store, or it could be picking up your neighbours mail. Do something that allows you to not just be kind to yourself but also to other people. 

Thai can be a way for you to create bonds and also positive feelings instead of the negative ones that you find challenging. 

Count your blessings

A lot of times, because of how we perceive a lot of things negatively, we tend to overlook what is good in our lives. 

We might overlook the friendships that help sustain us while we are so busy focusing on the relationships that did not work, we easily forget the ones who love us. 

We might also overlook years of achievement simply because something did not work out for us and this can become dangerous if we keep focusing on what did not work. So, in order to combat that, count your blessings. 

You can do that by keeping a gratitude journal or by taking time every morning or every evening to count what good has happened to you- simple things, minor things.

Let your gratintuenot be fixed on things that are “good” by society’s standards, but things that go beyond that and rather something akin to gratitude about existing.

Seek out support

Self-pity can be isolating and at times, the negativity can make you push people away which isolates you more and make you wallow in your misery even more. 

So in order to avoid this dangerous cycle, what you can do is to be honest about how you are feeling and talk to someone about it. This can be someone you trust and someone who can mentor you or you can talk to a professional about it so that the conversation can be more productive and you can form a plan to help you get through difficult times. 

Why do we wallow in self pity?

People usually engage in self pity as a way to feel validated for their own struggles. 

While an individual who is emotionally efficient might validate their strugglings by validating their feelings of anger, frustration etc., someone who is not emotionally aware will engage in self-pity to have their struggle and pain validated by other people. 

An individual who engages in self-pity also believes that they deserve the outcome and the suffering that they are experiencing because they feel ill-equipped to deal with these challenges. 

And this negative evaluation of the situation and themselves often lead them to behave in ways that warrant sympathy for themselves by other people while reinforcing this belief and the validation that they want. 

Why is wallowing in self pity harmful?

A few ways that self pity is harmful for you includes:

Self pity can lead you to focus on the negatives and the lacks in your life rather on what you do have, the strengths that you possess, and the positive aspects of your life.

It can lead you to focus on past regrets rather than the present joys of everyday life.

It can cause us to seek validation externally instead of seeking it internally through acknowledgement of one’s own feelings. 

It can make us feel hopeless and as a result we give up trying to solve our problems.

It can separate us from our realities- the realities of our strengths, our sources of support and our positives. When we do not see things for what they are, we fall into the trap of maximising the negatives which can make us feel even more hopeless and lead to despair. 

Self pity can lead to self-fulfilling prophecy where you believe you can do nothing leading you to stop actively engaging in your life and as a result, proves your prophecy of your believed incapacity. 

Self pity can lead you to stop taking responsibility for your own problems and taking action towards fixing these problems which lead to further despair. 

It drains your mental energy and this can leave you exhausted with a negative outlook towards your life leading to despair and ultimately depression. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed what are steps that you can take to stop yourself from wallowing in self pity. 

We have also briefly discussed what self pity is, why we do it, and why wallowing in self pity is dangerous. 

How do I get rid of self-pity?

Here are a few steps that you can take to get rid of self-pity:

  • Be kind to yourself first
  • Become aware of your feelings
  • Acknowledge your feelings
  • Take responsibility of your perceptions
  • Challenge your perspectives
  • Practice gratitude
  • Help others
  • Count your blessings
  • Seek support

Why do I have so much self-pity?

People usually engage in self pity as a way to feel validated for their own struggles and when they do get this validation from other people, through sympathy, it can lead us to engage in more self pity because it removes the responsibility of having to take action to solve the problem. So it becomes a reinforced pattern of behaviour leading self-pity to be the primary reaction to stress. 

What happens when you wallow in self-pity?

Self pity can lead you to stop taking responsibility for your own problems and taking action towards fixing these problems which lead to further despair. 

It drains your mental energy and this can leave you exhausted with a negative outlook towards your life leading to despair and ultimately depression. 

Why do people wallow in self-pity?

People usually engage in self pity as a way to feel validated for their own struggles. 

While an individual who is emotionally efficient might validate their strugglings by validating their feelings of anger, frustration etc., someone who is not emotionally aware will engage in self-pity to have their struggle and pain validated by other people

References

Morin.A. 9 Ways to Get Past Self-Pity. PsychologyToday. Retrieved on 20th Feb 2022. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201505/9-ways-get-past-self-pity

Johnstone. D. 8 Ways to Let Go of Self-Pity for Good. LifeHack.  Retrieved on 20th Feb 2022. https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/why-and-how-let-your-self-pity.html

Gillete. H. How to Recognize and Redirect Self-Pity. Psychcentral. Retrieved on 20th Feb 2022. https://psychcentral.com/blog/self-pity-to-self-compassion

Itani.O. Self-Pity Is Destructive — Here’s One Mental Shift To Help You Stop It. Medium. Retrieved on 20th Feb 2022. https://medium.com/mind-cafe/self-pity-is-destructive-heres-one-mental-shift-to-help-you-stop-feeling-sorry-for-yourself-2a56565b1815

9 Ways Mentally Strong People Prevent Self-Pity From Sabotaging Their Success. Forbes.  Retrieved on 20th Feb 2022. https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2015/05/05/9-ways-mentally-strong-people-prevent-self-pity-from-sabotaging-their-success/?sh=142ad96251ae

Self-pity. Wiki. Retrieved on 20th Feb 2022. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-pity

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