The Joys of Self-Pity

“Self-pity in its early stages is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.”

Maya Angelou

Well, what brought this up? A simple fight with a dear friend. A friend who loves to wallow in misery. I exaggerate, but he does. I have myself, often enjoyed the sweet company of self pity. It just feels too good to feel sorry for my own self. Specially due to this pandemic, we have all been just through a lot. While I don’t discount the distress, but it shouldn’t get to a point where you just feel your problems are bigger than your ability to cope. We tend to create an enlarged picture of our issues and feel an achievement out of how much we have overcome despite so many hindrances in our life. We have and yet we haven’t.

A few years back, my wedding was called off just a few days before the wedding date. I think that was the saddest I had ever been in my life (life has been kind to me, I guess). And it did not take me long to slide into a state of pity. I felt that this horrible thing had happened to me and that I did not deserve that and everyday was a new struggle. I guess, I enjoyed feeling sorry for myself. I maybe also enjoyed other people feeling sorry for me. When they’d come up to me and ask how I was doing and tell me I was so brave for keeping up with “life” with a smile on my face. And I felt, yeah man, I am too brave for doing this. I am dealing with this horrible phase that will probably lead to some post traumatic stress.

And then one day over drinks, late at night, as I began complaining how difficult life was, a friend who was hosting us, just cut me off. She said – you know self pity can be such a comforting place..nothing can replace the joy you feel, when you feel sorry for yourself..it feels so good to cry for yourself..no… Ok, those were not her exact words but something to that effect. And man, that hit me hard. Maybe it was the whiskey, maybe the timing but that just made too much sense. And I won’t say I stopped after that. No ways, pity can be so addictive (specially combined with alcohol). But I did get a little conscious about it. So as to not indulge into it too much.

I don’t intend to undervalue anyone’s pain here. But we sometimes just need to detach ourselves from the situation and take a look at what we feel about ourselves. To be in pain is a different feeling. Sadness is different. It’s ok to be sad and can help you get over the pain. But when that transcends into self pity, we’re just opening a door to depression. If we don’t change anything, nothing will change. And when we start feeling sorry for ourselves, we find a good excuse to slag. We get an excuse to feeling hopeless and helpless whenever we want. We stop making any efforts because, well… life’s is already ruined and nothing good can happen. So we get nice and cozy in a dark corner, both physically and mentally.

Oh sorry, back to the friend. Yeah, so this stupid stupid friend of mine (who’s also going to read this blog) just picked up a fight with me and I guess we both decided in our own heads that we are done talking. And after a couple of days, when we did speak again, he was in agony. Yeah I call it agony there instead of pain because I could hear the “agony” in his voice. And he went rambling on about how he thought some people were so much better than him (including me, by the way). And I guess I was not empathetic at all that day because that’s not true. People are not better or worse. Friends are not better or worse. Friends are just people who fit together. I don’t see someone as better or worse. We all have our own set of characteristics and we all have our own baggage type. We just find friends to share some of that baggage over drinks and food. And that’s how life goes on.

Anyways, I did not have a fix for my “self pity” and I did not have one for my friend. And I don’t have one for anyone reading this as well. Just one advice that worked for me, be aware of what you are feeling and since how long. And seek help.

“It’s all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you are finished. ”

Mrs. Miracle

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