1. paperbackwriter

    paperbackwriter Banned Contributor

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    Is it ever OK to have self-pity?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by paperbackwriter, Aug 30, 2018.

    Actually I'd like to use the word "self-empathy" but I guess that tweaks the meaning a little.
    I try not to. Better to focus on the pain of others but still I must be more fascinated by my own . What a narcissist . :)
    I'm trying to see the funny side to all this and there is one I'm sure. I feel sorry that my impact on the world will almost certainly be miniscule. And the little bit that is will be rather negative.
    Maybe self-pity comes from comparing ourselves to those seemingly with higher status. Who are ticking all those boxes that we never get to tick. Like "proud parent" or "scintillating career".
    Losers. Not a pretty label. But there is an element of truth in it. And all it means is we are failing at the game of life. In a Christian context we might be winners. But I don't seem to ticking any boxes in that arena either. :)
    There is a username I notice here with John Wayne in it. Now there is the archetypical tough guy who never opts for self pity. I admire it. Some of us have to be tough and have no time to feel sorry for ourselves. But I wonder deep down, if even John Wayne felt some self-empathy or even self-pity. He did get an awful cancer at the end there.
    I don't think we should ignore physical or emotional pain in ourselves. Just give it some attention each day. Take pragmatic steps to alleviate it. Ignoring it completely, I think it comes back later to bite us. It might get worse for instance.
     
  2. Necronox

    Necronox Contributor Contributor

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    Self-pity? No. But then I do not think pity as an emotion is usefull at the best of times when one dwells upon it.

    I am not saying “do not feel pity”, for I think that pity arises from our ability to empathise/sympathise with another person dilemma or situation. And this is almost unavoidable, so might as well try and learn from it.

    Let me explain my first statement a bit. Pity can help us learn from certain actions. It may drive us to act in favour of someone else. But except for that, I think it is pointless. I always think. “do not dwell on your or others misfortune/pain”. Once you have learned a lesson, discard it the pity. If no lesson is to be learned, then act upon it. Otherwise, ignore it.

    That is just my view upon it. But then I have always had problems with... empathy... in general. But to answer your question. Yes, it is perfectly fine to have pity. Self pity or otherwise. but do not dwell upon it excessively.
     
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  3. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    It's OK to acknowledge the pain we feel, or feel angry that we have to go through with it. What's not OK is to demand that everyone then treats you like you're a special princess that doesn't have to do adult responsibilities. I mean, I'm half-deaf, half-blind, have anxiety and a hole in my stomach. I have two options: make the most of what I got and forge ahead, or forever keep myself back by dwelling on all the things that suck in my life. The choice is pretty clear -- I prefer to forge ahead.
     
  4. Xander17

    Xander17 Hermit Archetype Supporter Contributor

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    I think it's ok to have a wide range of experiences. It's then up to the individual to determine if self-pity is of any use to repeat or sustain.
    If you're reflective, the wider the range of experiences can result in a wider range of knowledge and understanding...Wisdom, if you like, which I think will serve one well.

    I think the two differ a lot. Though Pity and Empathy are similar in definition, positive and proactive, thus beneficial, Self-pity is generally known to be negative and non-proactive, thus non-beneficial; self-indulgent of one's problems, wallowing, stuck in a sea of worry or misery.

    Both Pity and Empathy's defintions include the ability to understand the difficulty a person is in, feel for them and thus be motivated to care for them and help in some manner.

    That's not what Self-pity means to me, not how I've seen the term used. I view Self-pity as being overwhelmed by the negative feelings one has for their genuine problems, consciously or unconsciously indulging in feeling sorry for oneself, and not going beyond that to calm oneself down in order to think clearly and rationally in order to devise a plan to proactively work on solving one's problems.

    A part of Empathy and Pity is to feel, to feel the pain of the situation, of what the other is feeling, thus you're experiencing negative feelings...so perhaps some folks, regarding their own problems, just stay at that phase, and that turns into Self-pity".

    I spent decades stuck in the negative sensations borne from my difficult experiences. As my awareness and understanding developed, I chose to do something about this painful and non-beneficial state, and for the last decade, though it's natural to still experience negative and painful sensations when initially experiencing a difficulty, I can quickly self-examine and willingly turn off the "water-works" and get into the beneficial phase of sorting myself and the problem out.

    To do that, require empathy or pity toward myself, though I too prefer Empathy. Therefore I understand it as, there's nothing wrong with self-pity or empathy towards oneself, as long as you're able to move past the feeling stage, not be overwhelmed by the negative sensations and subsequent defeatest thoughts, and you make your way to the business end where you either resolve the problem or cease being adversely affected by them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
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  5. paperbackwriter

    paperbackwriter Banned Contributor

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    CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY

    self-pity noun [ U ]
    us /ˈselfˈpɪt̬·i/

    care and sadness about your own problems:

    It’s not easy to face serious illness without self-pity.
     
  6. paperbackwriter

    paperbackwriter Banned Contributor

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    Collins Dictionary

    self-pity in British

    noun
    the act or state of pitying oneself, esp in an exaggerated or self-indulgent manner
     
  7. paperbackwriter

    paperbackwriter Banned Contributor

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    Self empathy is a valuable tool to learn when we find ourselves triggered and upset by a situation or by the actions of others. It offers us a way of really being in touch with ourselves and what we are longing for and processing our feelings and needs.
    Reference: theradiantmama.com
     
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  8. paperbackwriter

    paperbackwriter Banned Contributor

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    Self-compassion is extending compassion to one's self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering. Kristin Neff has defined self-compassion as being composed of three main components – self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.[1]

    • Self-kindness: Self-compassion entails being warm towards oneself when encountering pain and personal shortcomings, rather than ignoring them or hurting oneself with self-criticism.
    • Common humanity: Self-compassion also involves recognizing that suffering and personal failure is part of the shared human experience.
    • Mindfulness: Self-compassion requires taking a balanced approach to one's negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. Negative thoughts and emotions are observed with openness, so that they are held in mindful awareness. Mindfulness is a non-judgmental, receptive mind state in which individuals observe their thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to suppress or deny them.[2] Conversely, mindfulness requires that one not be "over-identified" with mental or emotional phenomena, so that one suffers aversive reactions.[3] This latter type of response involves narrowly focusing and ruminating on one's negative emotions.
     
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  9. paperbackwriter

    paperbackwriter Banned Contributor

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    I agree. We shouldn't feel ashamed of feeling sorry for ourselves as long as we don't stay there. Wallowing causes stagnation and lack of growth. Sometimes I think I could have had better mentors as parents but I am so lucky to have received love from them. How many people grow up in loveless dysfunctional families. I can say without hesitation that I was NOT one of those poor souls.
     
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  10. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Absolutely — I’m not saying we’re not allowed to go, “Wow, what I’m going through really fucking sucks!” Of course we’re allowed to do that. We’re humans as well. We feel pain just like every other human we’re supposed to have empathy for. None of us here may be toiling away in a North Korean labor camp, or hiding in a bombed out ruin in Syria, but our pain is just as valid.

    The trick is to not let yourself get so bogged down in the self-pity that you can’t grow. Granted some of that might stem from a form of a mental illness but the point I’m making is...

    Look, I have a grandmother who is the queen of self-pity. Her husband died, she had breast cancer and a brain tumor, she’s blind in one eye. That really fucking sucks yet she opts to sit down and drink wine all day and make everyone else’s lives miserably with her constant negativity and whining. That’s the thing I don’t like, when you let your self-pity get so far that you decide that if you can’t be happy, no one deserves to be happy. She doesn’t want to get help, she refuses to listen to any advice that could actually improve her life.

    That’s all I’m saying. :D Didn’t want anyone thinking I was trying to suggest no one’s allowed to feel sorry for themselves and recognize their own suffering.
     
  11. Privateer

    Privateer Senior Member

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    I can see where she's coming from, to be honest. When your life is just agony and misery it's hard to see other people being happy. They're a constant reminder of what you don't have and it hurts to be around them, so you get angry and try to push them away.

    Even trying to fix your life makes you angry because you just keep thinking 'but I shouldn't have to be doing this, it isn't fair'. Sometimes you really want help but either nobody seems to be interested or you know that the very act of asking for help will just make things far, far worse and then the frustration turns to rage because there's only one way out and that makes you angrier because it would just be an admission of defeat.

    I think, perhaps, it might even be worse when the pain is a result of your own actions, when you put yourself in a situation and proved unequal to it. Over and over and over again because you're almost pathologically addicted to the concept of being of service and trying desperately to earn the right to still be alive when better people than you aren't.


    Ahem. Yeah...anyway. As you were.
     
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  12. paperbackwriter

    paperbackwriter Banned Contributor

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    I tend to withdraw at least. I try to keep my negativity to myself. Guess it slips out here online though. :)
     
  13. Xander17

    Xander17 Hermit Archetype Supporter Contributor

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    1a. Yep, my elderly Mum is like this, perpetually stuck at the bottom of an ocean of suffering, capable but unwilling to swim to the surface and make it to the shores of a more positive existence.

    1b. 'When your life is just agony and misery it's hard to see other people being happy anything positive to make an effort for'.
    "hard" being the key element. Hard is not the same as impossible. If you had absolute proof something is impossible, it's irrational to try to achieve it. But if it's only hard, then you have a choice.

    The first three days I was in the Psychward after my suicide attempt, still in shock and extremely fearful, each time I looked out through the door window at the "Real World" beyond the confines of the temporary and surreal world of the Psychward, my only conclusion was I was screwed, that as soon as I left I would attempt it again and again until I succeeded. I couldn't see anything but the looming end of my existence, that there was no alternative to the hellish life I had.

    By the end of the first week, my perception changed to the complete opposite, so by the time I left at the end of the second week, I was energised with renewed enthusiasm to continue my journey to resolve my inner issues. Thus I learnt a valuable lesson about how one's attitude is the sole author of your feelings, thoughts and actions, and how (perceived)reality changes in response to attitude changes.

    2 & 3. Trying to fix your life only makes you angry if you choose to respond that way. It took me about 20 years to sort my shit out. I experienced a wide range of emotions and thoughts on this long journey. I never had any proof I could succeed. One key is to never give up. When you fall, take time to evaluate and re-energise then get back up and keep going. Small problems require small effort, big ones, like a severely messed up soul, wounded multiple times, requires far more time and effort.

    But if all you see is darkness, you're not even going to try. But is there only darkness, or is it your attitude that's making you only see darkness. I changed my attitude\my outlook on life while in the Psychward, and reality instantly changed and I could once again see a sliver of light that I walked towards. Best fucking journey I ever took. The amount of suffering along the way was a small price to pay for the wonderful life I now have.

    4. Agreed. Realising you fucked your life up is hard to deal with. But If you're the author of your messed up life, you must also be the author that can create a wonderful life. Just because your current situation is proof you've screwed up doesn't mean you can't develop yourself to be able to do better.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
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  14. Xander17

    Xander17 Hermit Archetype Supporter Contributor

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    In light of what you've shared later on...which seems to me to be an extention of this...
    ...what's your game plan for these...
     
  15. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    The sad part is, my grandmother is 80. She’s near the end of her life, and while there is still time, the added pressure of “I waited this long before getting help” would probably be a painful pill to swallow by this point.

    There’s always a chance to save yourself, you just have to be willing to realized you fucked it up, forgive yourself, and rebuild that life.
     
  16. Xander17

    Xander17 Hermit Archetype Supporter Contributor

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    'Tis sad to watch someone destroy their life, and they wan't no help due to fear or denial they have problems. Sad because you know there's a solution but they're not interested.

    In the case of my Mum, Fear and Shame are the two elements she's entrapped by.
    She deals with those two elements by utilising the denial mechanism. Instead of facing her fears she's wrong or made a mistake, while being swamped in shame of her imperfections, she deals by activating the denial mechanism which was developed in childhood, thus the imperfections and the negative feelings often disappear in the blink of an eye, and she carries on if the conversation never took place.
     
  17. paperbackwriter

    paperbackwriter Banned Contributor

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    As a child I learnt to dissociate when someone was trying to bully, intimidate or humiliate me. it often had the effect of lessening the harassment as I wouldn't show a reaction. but I see now that I was internalising a lot of it.
    interestingly I've had worse bullying as an adult because I tended to react more overtly. Fanning the flame as it were.
     
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  18. Xander17

    Xander17 Hermit Archetype Supporter Contributor

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    Same, though I never knew of the technical term till recently. I expressed it as being ghost-like. Able to interact with reality but not 100%. I spend the first 30 years in an unconscious state of many aspects of life and myself. Wasn't aware I was utilising the denial mechanism or that doing so was disassociating myself from the realities of situations.

    All makes perfect sense once you see it and understand.

    Mine was due to being extremely sensitive thus easily hurt, thus Denial helped reduce the suffering, though as you also figured out, it wasn't 100% effective and damage was still occuring deeper within. Low self-esteem, fear and ignorance meant I had no means to effectively combat the harsh social interactions...denial was my only tool.

    Though making slow but steady soul healing progress since my mid 20s, I had a huge paradigm shift during my fornight stay in the Psychward back in 2008. I'm now unoffendable in social situations. The exact opposite of what I used to be like. Eg: I now experience insults as neutrally, calmly or joyously as compliments.

    There's no armour involved in this, no denial, no faking zero reactions, or hiding of any pain. A person's unfavourable behaviour towards me no longer hurts. I'm now compassionately fascinated about what's going on inside them.

    I used to unconsciously react; now I'm able to choose how I'll respond.

    And yeah, folks are strange creatures. If you react, some folks just keep poking.
    I tend to think that some folks that are hurting, find relief by hurting others. They find pleasure in it, and the pleasure counteracts their own pain, or it makes them feel empowered in an environment they feel so powerless in.
     
  19. paperbackwriter

    paperbackwriter Banned Contributor

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    that's the psychology of the bully. Bullies are not only cowards but they are oversensitive cowards. They took everything personally and now they want some payback.
    You made some interesting comments there which shows your self insights are profound. Credit to you.
     
  20. Siberian

    Siberian Member

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    You're putting to much responsibility on yourself to believe you can impact the world. The most profound way you can impact "the world" is by moving or changing those around you because they are your world. Why would you want to make countless faceless lives better when changing the lives of the people closest to you will give you the greatest emotional and/or spiritual return? I'm not in any way ignorant of the fact that there are literally hundreds of thousands of lives that need help, but by trying to take the blame for not having a bigger impact on the many leads you to just set yourself up for failure before you even try to step up to the plate. In reality those who do change the most lives have done it with others and not solely by themselves. Help those lives that you can because your kindness will have a ripple effect and while everyone may not point to you and say "I did this because he/she encouraged me to do so" you can know that deep down the kindness you've passed on has gotten a lot farther than just one life.

    As for self-pity, I believe it's necessary to a happy life. We're all so encouraged to think of others and do what we can for others but what about ourselves? When we're feeling down why is it fair to look at someone who's pain is far more than ours and ignore our own because "it could be worse". At some point we need to be selfish, if you should even call it that, and give ourselves some attention, some love, some sympathy and kindness. We need to be loved in order to love and I feel as if taking some time to pity yourself is our way of taking a step back and acknowledging that our love for others needs to take a step behind the love for ourself because that needs to be a priority before we can start to love again.
     
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  21. Xander17

    Xander17 Hermit Archetype Supporter Contributor

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    @ Siberian Regarding your 2nd paragragh: Agreed.

    "You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." - Buddha

    I grew up conditioned to believe that putting yourself first was a no-no...'Selfish' being the derogative label. I think there's lots of societal structures one is born into that are just plain wrong, non-beneficial and harmful to one's self-esteem.

    Then I single-parented for a decade in my 30's and slowly learnt that if I don't put myself first and take care of my needs and desires, then I won't be at my optimal for the task of taking care of my kids.

    No longer a christian though I think the bible still contains some wisdom, there's the passage about, 'giving out of the abundance of your heart'. That you give from your overflow, not from the little you barely have for yourself.

    If you give from your overflow, that means you're never in lack for yourself, and you're able to give much to others. You're kinda screwed if you live in a social environment where others don't love you, but you're not screwed if you love yourself, regardless of the environment you live in. Any any love you do recieve from others is even sweeter, bonuses to the full tank you already have.

    It seems to me "Selfish" has been relegated to the negative spectrum, most likely due to folks only thinking of themselves, but doing it repeatedly and without considering others during all that time.

    But if you prioritise and put yourself first as part of your overall plan for each situation where you want to take care of others, then "Selfish" takes on a positive note. It was intriguing to see I grew up in and live in many social environments where loving oneself is frowned upon or not even considered. That there's a conditioning that states love for oneself can only come from others.

    The other aspect is thinking highly of yourself. That too is frowned upon. However, after resolving decades of low self-esteem, I think the problem is not in thinking highly of yourself, but when your thoughts don't reflect who you actually are, and when you compare, thinking you're better than others.

    From someone who thought so lowly of myself, I now think highly of myself, but it's done humbly. I appreciate all my abilities and traits, and have no need or desire to think I'm better than others. I'm simply grateful for who I am and love what I've done with my Being and choose to be a positive example and influence in other's lives.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
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  22. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    That's the thing that I never understood -- it never taught us how to have compassion to ourselves. We were always horrible scum if we dared showed the same compassion for ourselves as we're expected to do to others. Like we're not human beings ourselves.

    It's perfectly all right to have compassion for yourself, to admire yourself for your traits and accomplishments. Just don't go overboard and think you're better than everyone else bar none and people should worship the ground you walk on. You're human, I'm human, every last one of us here on this forum and elsewhere are humans. We all are deserving of compassion.
     
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  23. Zerotonin

    Zerotonin Serotonin machine broke

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    Yes, of course, we are all humans here. I agree with you fellow human. Yup, definitely no lizard people here.

    *Flicks tongue to check if he can smell fear in the air*
     
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  24. Irina Samarskaya

    Irina Samarskaya Senior Member

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    Yes. Of course. How can you can you care for someone when you do not care for yourself? Self-pity a natural feeling that can be very productive if used to inform smart decisions.
     
  25. Xander17

    Xander17 Hermit Archetype Supporter Contributor

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    I think the lack of teaching from parent to child about self-love\pity\compassion is one of the main reasons for so much dysfunctionality in our species...or that the increase of soul dysfunction buried or condemned the knowledge of self-love. It's difficult to tell which came first...but they do seem related to me.

    In my journey, as I was a christian for 20 years, I regard that religion as a huge component of teaching the opposite of self-love. One of the reasons I left that belief system is I saw it was promoting that we humans are scum and no matter what we do we'll never be good enough, thus we need a saviour and we should be ever so fearfully grateful God decided to help us out. Add to that the teaching of how spiritual a person is when they self sacrifice for others, to always put oneself last. Way imbalanced I think.
    Yup...simple isn't it...once you realise and experience it. Until then, I think folks struggle with it due to the negative beliefs they have about it.
    "Be kind to one another, for most of us are fighting a hard battle." - Ian MacLaren

    "To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect." - Oren Arnold
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
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