Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Poison Apple of Self-Pity

Rereading my last post I feel the need to reiterate that it wasn’t and isn’t about self-pity. Self-pity is like a poison apple. It may temporarily taste good but it’s still poison.

The reason to look at things like what I wrote about last time is to learn to recognize patterns. OUR patterns. What mistakes are WE making? What could we do differently in the future? What different results do we want next time around?

Example: So much of my unhappiness could have been avoided if I had simply asked people if they had said what my ex claimed. Or if I hadn’t cared what other people were saying. I love what Wayne Dyer says: “What you think of me is none of my business.”

And that’s the key. We need to find a way to value who we are—and if we don’t like something then change it. Then we are not vulnerable to what anyone else says or thinks because we know that no one can be liked or valued by everyone. Ultimately, it’s the only thing that matters. No matter how much someone else likes or approves of us, it won’t be enough if we don’t like ourselves.

Now, I’m starting from a position of belief that every person is worth loving and that finding that ability to love oneself is the best insurance that one will neither abuse anyone else nor tolerate abuse. It is in finding our own strength and value that we find the only emotional anchor that really matters in the long run. A good therapist can help us let go of the lies we were told and see the good in ourselves that we cannot see without that help. And ideally we internalize those things so that we believe them whether or not anyone is around to tell us. (Note: We also are then far more likely to surround ourselves with other people who see the good in us.)

In a way it comes down to results. Do we have a right to feel self-pity? Of course! Will it get us what we want? No, because it makes us hostages to what others do and say. It reinforces our sense of helplessness.

I believe that the only way we find both the courage and wisdom to make changes that will make our life better is when we believe it’s possible. And that means focusing on our strengths and our ability to change what we don’t like. It means being honest with ourselves and if there are skills we need that we don’t have, choosing to acquire those skills—whether it means doing research, taking classes, talking to people who know what we want to learn or ....whatever it takes.

I look at the things I wrote about in my last post and know already things I will do differently should I ever find myself in a similar position in the future. But I don’t think it’s likely to happen because I’m not likely to ever feel trapped or without options. I’ve learned to know myself too well to believe that ever again. I’m too well grounded in liking myself to care whether or not someone else understands or approves of the choices I make or who I am.

Why look at the past at all? To recognize and let go of any lingering lies about myself or the world around me (including friends) that I may not have realized I still held. To notice what my past pattern of handling something was so that I can plan for how I want to handle things differently in the future. (After all, if we keep doing the same thing, odds are we will get the same results and I’m still rewriting my future.)

I can look at the past and look at what has been good and know that those things go on my list of what I’d like to have in my life in the future. I can look at the things that didn’t serve me well and ask myself what would be better.

Here’s hoping that each of you are on your own path to creating the life you want to live. Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs)))))))),

April_optimist

9 comments:

jumpinginpuddles said...

ohhhhhh but we like our pity parties heheheehe
and the answer you so seek is on our blog

Rising Rainbow said...

I didn't see that post as a pity-party.

keepers said...

No matter how much someone else likes or approves of us, it won’t be enough if we don’t like ourselves. It took our JM a long time to get this through to us, and we still struggle with it, but we agree with it 110%

peace and blessings

Keepers

Enola said...

Keepers said it best - we have to learn to like ourselves first. Nothing else will ever be enough.

Karma said...

The hard thing is that I think I feel the most self pity when I want to change but don't know how to.

zennist said...

I didn't think it was self-pitying. I do think it's okay to feel sad for yourself.

Holly said...

Hi April,
Thank you for this post. I not had the chance to visit as much this year. Sorry about that, as survivors we have good days and bad days. I personally wanted to let you know this part of the post was important for me..."path to creating the life you want to live." Thank you and wishing you a safe holiday season.
Blogger, survivor friend Holly Desimone

Marj aka Thriver said...

I really like Wayne Dyer and I like that quote. But, as a kid, I was always told "it's none of your business." I find that saying a bit triggering. So, for me, I altered it to say, "What you think of me is none of my concern." I don't have to be concerned about that! ;)

April_optimist said...

JIP, LOL! Sometimes a good pity party helps--for a moment or two. It's just getting stuck in one that's the problem.

RR, Thank you. I wasn't sure.

Keepers, Exactly right!

Enola, Yes.

Karma, See my latest post about just that...

Zennist, Thank you. I do think we need to acknowledge the times we've been hurt or scared. It's just staying stuck in it that can be a problem.

Holly!!! How good to see you post! May your own path open up for you that leads to your best happiness.

Marj, Good point about triggering words. Isn't it interesting what can do that for us? Love the change!