Every once in a while, we may find ourselves wallowing in self-pity and unable to move on.
Hence we asked 7 experts, “How to stop feeling sorry for yourself?”
Learn from their amazing insights below!
Coach | Speaker | Author
Approaches to take to stop feeling sorry for yourself that you can take are:
Ask yourself, how is this helping me?
So something bad happened to you. Perhaps real bad. You feel hurt. Your emotions are running amuck with intense feelings.
You begin to question everything. “Why me?” – you may ask, followed by; “What did I ever do to deserve this?”
These are all fair questions. It’s even understandable to feel the way you do.
As with falling down, there is the initial shock, pain, discomfort, confusion, disorientation and perhaps even embarrassment if it was in public.
The most important next step is to embrace the fact that you fell down. You must come to accept that it happened and cannot be undone.
Then, as is natural when we fall, if able, we get back up.
Staying there would be unnatural. Remaining on the floor is similar to feeling sorry for yourself by continuing to replay and re-live the incident in your mind.
You should ask yourself, how is this serving me? Replaying the event, stirring up negative emotions, re-experiencing the sad and painful feelings again and again. Woe is me.
All of these just re-injure the wound. It’s like digging a hole deeper and deeper, except that no-one is going to come and rescue you.
Learn to accept things for the way they are, experience the emotions, then release them. In a way, it’s similar to regaining your bearings and standing back up. You wouldn’t stay on the ground forever, would you?
Of course not. The same then should be true for feeling sorry for yourself. Stop. Let go and live on.
Realize that you are not alone
As life would have it, you are not the first and won’t be the last to experience what you are facing.
Many others have suffered the same and worse, and have made it through, recovered and gone on with their lives. Disappointment, rejection, loss, and failure can be hard to take.
However, they are often the result of efforts and attempts. Looking at it from a different perspective, we can turn them into encouragement through the lens of “well at least I tried” and “I know now that this way doesn’t work so let me try another.” These negatives can be turned into positives to help you grow.
Build a Bridge and get over it
I’ve sent out invitations to many a pity party, but no one ever shows. I can imagine why. Who would willingly want to attend an event full of Debbie Downers and Frowning Franks?
Accept the fact that no one is ever going to join you in your pointless path of self-pity. Again, accept the circumstances for what they are, salvage what useful material that can be had and use that to build a bridge to cross over this temporal valley.
If you use the bricks others have thrown at you to create steps to walk over their petty criticisms, you may find that you have learned a valuable coping skill for next time.
As an added bonus, the view from the top of the steps that you build will help pull you up out of the fray of negativity, allowing you to focus on things of a higher and more fruitful nature.
Wallowing in self-pity will only lead to worse feelings of depression and self-loathing. Pity is a Pit with Y(ou) trapped in it.
Don’t fall for that. Learn to let go, rise up, dust yourself off, and move on.
I’ve shared many stories, and approaches on how to live a full and more peaceful life, even while dealing with challenges, in my book, Battle Endurance – How You Can Be Someone Who Never Quits and Gives Everything You Have To Give.
A book which motivational speaker Les Brown calls “instructive, informative, and inspiring … a guide to live your life victoriously.”
If searching for a tool to help deal with life stress in their lives, my book is just that – a guide and roadmap one can leverage based on their unique experience and at their own pace.
I wrote it with the idea that readers can replace the challenges I’ve included with their own and be able to see themselves working through conflict, obstacles and difficulties, limiting the negative self-talk, one step, action, moment and battle at a time.
Founder/CEO, Amy Applebaum, Inc.
Epiphany Moment! Your life isn’t the result of the events that happen in it. You’re the source of the events.
If you choose to believe this – that you’re the source of your thoughts and actions – then you will instantly become the driver of your life.
And being in the driver’s seat is awesome because it means you’ve got limitless options and opportunities to tap into at all times.
It means you’re the leader of your life, not a victim of it. It also means that you’ve got to take responsibility for everything that happens to you – good and bad!
But I promise you, that’s a lot more fun than everyone else being in charge of your happiness and success.
This is what I call Pure Empowerment.
The first step is to recognize that you are in charge of your life. I mean if you aren’t then someone else is.
And if you decided that “others” are in charge of your life – well, you should feel sorry for yourself because you have zero control.
Determine you are 100% responsible for your life, then you can actually do something about it.
Make a powerful choice
Option 1: Choose powerfully NOT to “make a change.”
Don’t want to change. Don’t. It’s your life. Accept that you don’t want to do what it takes to change. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s honest.
And if you make this choice, choose to be happy about this choice. Because why would you choose to NOT change and be unhappy about it. That’s just beating yourself up. Where’s the peace in that?
Instead, just admit that you are not up for changing at this time. Accept that.
Making yourself wrong and bad because you either don’t want to change or are not ready to change is silly. Perhaps if you give yourself a break, you might someday see the possibility of making a change. Or not.
Option 2: Choose powerfully TO “make a change.”
Don’t like your life or something about your life? Make a change.
Don’t know how or what to change? Get support. Tap into available resources.
Sometimes we choose not to change because we don’t know how to change or begin getting what we want.
Choose to believe that you are resourceful
(If you chose Option 2 – TO make a change…)
Being resourceful means that if you’ve got a problem you can’t solve, you’ll pick up the phone and call someone who can help.
It means you’ll do what it takes to get the support you need. And, it means you’ll refuse to stop looking for a solution until you’ve found one. That is how you make your life happen.
RMT Certified Coach
Sorrow has its place. We are all sad when we lose a loved one. What about when we aren’t dealing with a loss?
Do you feel lonely? Rejected? Ashamed? Embarrassed? Harassed?
If any of these emotions pop up in your daily life, you need to take immediate action. Constantly dealing with these sorrowful emotions will have a negative effect not only on you but on those around you.
Are you feeling sorry for yourself right now?
What are you doing? How are you sitting or standing? Are your shoulders slumped over?
Start with your body position. You’re probably sitting (or standing) with your shoulders slumped over.
Change it – Stand up STRAIGHT AND TALL! Take a deep breathe and exhale all the sorrowful thoughts that have been circling your mind. This changes your physiology.
Is it working? Even just a little? If not, read on…
What are you thinking about?
The overwhelming bills? The insurmountable stress at work? Losing a loved one?
It’s time to change your focus. When you’re focused on things that overwhelm you, emotion will persist. Focus on something you love.
Think about the joy those bills have brought into your life! Think about your day at work and schedule your time and stick to it. Remember the last time you laughed with your loved one?
Still in a slump? Really? Last one.
How are you talking to yourself?
Are you speaking to yourself in a negative manner? Do you have beliefs that you can’t do something followed by a bunch of reasons why you can’t? Have you forgotten to love the most important person in your life – YOU?
Change your inner dialogue — stop being so hard on yourself
You are a beautiful person with hopes and dreams. You can make them come true – you just need to get rid of your negative self-talk.
We all do it. Many times we’ve learned it from a parent. It’s time to undo the negative and bring on the positive!
Visualize. What does the sorrow look like to you? Is it an adult or a child? Is it a boy or a girl? Do they have a scowl on their face, messy hair and haven’t shaved their legs in weeks? What is its name?
The truth is, the sorrow talk has helped you in the past. Think about how. Maybe it saved you from failing a test in school. Maybe it’s protected you from falling into a deep hole. Maybe it helped you deal with an abusive person in your life.
Say THANK YOU to the sorrow by name. Go ahead. Follow the example below:
“Miss Hairy Legs, thank you for helping me live through a time when my dad wasn’t around.”
Now tell sorrow you don’t need them anymore.
“I am now an adult and I don’t need you to protect me anymore. I am a whole, complete and lovable person, and most importantly I love me.”
Don’t forget those last 3 little words. I LOVE ME.
The more you say it, the more you feel it and the more you feel it, the more you lead your life with love. Keep filling your cup of love so you can give to others.
Food Addiction Counselor | Author, “Why Can’t I Stick To My Diet?”
It is very tempting now, isn’t it? Especially when we have been wronged.
However, being there for too long is problematic, especially if we aren’t looking for a lesson or the silver lining.
The sooner we change the circumstances the better and the quickest way to do that is with our mindset about what happened.
We truly can’t control very little in our world, but what we can we should. The number one thing is how we think about what happened.
#1 What lesson is there to be learned?
Were we too trusting to a person who didn’t earn it? Did we keep going back to a screwed up situation hoping for a different outcome? Maybe we simply need to stay off of social media.
#2 Own what is ours and what isn’t.
Sometimes sh$t happens and it’s not fair and it’s not right.
Most of the time, we have some ownership even it is painful to admit. Did we miss an obvious sign things were going south and ignore them? Facing what our role in it is the only way to move past it.
#3 Plan B aka so now what?
We know what didn’t work or what isn’t available for us, so what are we going to do about it? Does this mean we stop dating for a while or find a good therapist?
Maybe we speak to a career counselor to find a job we really love or get to working for ourselves. Whatever it is, make a plan and execute it
#4 Get out of the sweats and put down the ice cream!
Taking care of ourselves is super important in times like this. Eat right, lay off the alcohol, get sleep and start meditating again like you have been meaning to get back into.
#5 Do something for someone else, with zero expectations of anyone noticing.
Volunteer at a soup kitchen, pay for the person behind you at Starbucks or donate way too much money to your niece’s fundraiser for her hockey team.
Focusing on giving to someone else will help get you back on track as to what matters.
Spiritual Empath | Author, Demon Slayer’s Handbook Series and Rainbow Warrior Activation Deck
Try a little compassion
Self-pity is a powerful force that is often misunderstood. The burden of being or feeling victimized is the same.
To be clear, it doesn’t matter if you can prove to others you’ve been victimized or if you perceive yourself that way—the end result is the same. You feel bad and often unable to move forward in a positive way in your life, sometimes alienating those closest to you.
Consider this: Self-pity is the way our unconscious mind tells us we are not getting what we need.
Now, the common way to interpret that statement might be to think it’s reflecting what we aren’t getting from others, but in fact, it is a mirror to what we are not giving ourselves.
Spiritually speaking, when we feel sorry for ourselves, the focus of our pity is what we most need. For example: If you’re not feeling loved in life? In what ways are you being unloving or unkind to yourself? How can you better take care of yourself?
So the next time you feel bad about yourself for feeling bad about yourself—try a little compassion.
Think of one nice thing you’d like for someone else to do for you, and do it for yourself. Unwinding self-pity is inevitable if you’ll take it one small action at-a-time.
Master-certified Life Coach | Author, Difficult Mothers, Adult Daughters: A Guide To Separation, Liberation & Inspiration
When I am feeling sorry for myself, the best way I know to get myself to stop is to, ironically, give myself full permission to wallow in a big old pity party.
I acknowledge it out loud and give it a voice. I let the feelings of self-pity wash over me.
Then I get curious and ask myself what’s going on and what beliefs about myself are running the show. Bringing curiosity and fascination to the issue stops it in its tracks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the root cause of self-pity?
• Low self-esteem: When we don’t value ourselves highly, we may feel that life is unfair and start to wallow in our sorrows. It’s important to recognize our worth and work on building self-confidence to counteract this feeling.
• Learned helplessness: This occurs when a person has experienced repeated failures or setbacks, leading them to believe they have no control over their circumstances. As a result, they may indulge in self-pity as a means to cope with their perceived powerlessness.
• External locus of control: People with an external locus of control believe that their life’s events are primarily influenced by factors beyond their control. This mindset can contribute to self-pity, as they may feel that they’re constantly at the mercy of their circumstances.
• Comparison: Comparing ourselves to others can fuel self-pity, especially if we perceive ourselves as inferior or less fortunate. It’s essential to remember that everyone’s journey is unique, and comparison is rarely productive.
How do you know if you’re feeling sorry for yourself?
Recognizing self-pity can be challenging, as it is often masked by other emotions. Here are some signs that you might be feeling sorry for yourself:
• Constantly focusing on negative aspects of your life and disregarding the positive.
• Feeling like a victim in various situations and believing that others have it easier than you.
• A tendency to blame external factors for your problems, rather than taking responsibility.
• Withdrawing from social interactions or seeking excessive reassurance from others.
• Difficulty finding motivation or energy to address challenges or make changes in your life.
What does self-pity tell about the person?
Self-pity can reveal several things about a person, including their coping mechanisms, emotional resilience, and perspective on life. It often indicates a struggle with self-esteem and the belief that one is powerless to change their circumstances.
While self-pity is a natural human emotion, when it becomes a pervasive pattern, it can hinder personal growth and keep individuals from realizing their full potential. Acknowledging and addressing self-pity is a crucial step toward building resilience and fostering a healthier mindset.
Is self-pity a mental illness?
Self-pity, on its own, is not a mental illness. It is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. However, when self-pity becomes chronic or debilitating, it may indicate an underlying mental health issue, such as depression or anxiety.
If you find that self-pity is negatively impacting your life or relationships, it’s essential to consult with a mental health professional to determine if there is an underlying condition that needs to be addressed.
Is self-pity manipulative?
While self-pity itself is not inherently manipulative, it can become a manipulative behavior when used to elicit sympathy or support from others in an unhealthy or self-serving manner. This may include seeking attention, avoiding responsibility, or attempting to control other people’s reactions.
It’s essential to recognize when self-pity crosses the line into manipulation, as this can damage relationships and undermine personal growth. By developing healthier coping strategies and emotional regulation, one can foster more authentic connections and maintain a balanced sense of self-worth.
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