Self-Pity is the World’s Greatest Addiction
However, you also know that you are more than just this hurt knee. In fact, you can probably still go about you activities despite the sore knee. And if you get really excited about what you’re doing, the awareness of the hurt knee will disappear altogether.
This is the healthy way to relate to pain. You acknowledge it and move on. You rise above it.
To change your life for the better, you have to do the same with emotional pain. If you adopt this same practice in regard to feelings of anger, fear, blame, antagonism, or resentment then you will free yourself from victimhood.
At first, you will resist doing this. Society has conditioned you to identify with your feelings. When an emotion comes along, you actually become that emotion. You ARE angry. It consumes you entirely. Every cell in your body is angry.
Self-pity is the world’s greatest addiction. It acts on you like a drug. It convinces you that life is unfair. It hooks you into feeling numb, lonely, and obsessed with identifying as a victim. It makes creative, mindful, and meaningful action impossible.
I’ve found that people will give you some sympathy when you pity yourself, but they certainly don’t look forward to seeing you again.
Unless, of course, they are victims to…. In that case, they listen to you impatiently, waiting to tell their own victimhood stories.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can see a way out of your depressing habits if you think back to that hurt knee. When you bang your knee, you don’t instantly identify with it. You don’t walk around saying, “I am a sore knee.” You don’t allow every cell in your body to take on that identity.
You have to adopt the same attitude with emotional pain and resentment. If you feel angry, notice it, acknowledge it, but don’t identify with it! Don’t let it get the best of you. Don’t confuse it with who you really are. Segregate the pain and then process it. Rise above it.
It is an illusion that your emotions are who you are. Get over the addiction of your self-pity. Move on.
If I hand an angry person a check for a million bucks, is he going to hand it back and say, “I can’t even think about that money right now, I am so angry at someone.”? Fuck no. He will forget that person immediately.
If you are sitting by a pool pitying yourself, and someone’s baby falls in the water, are you going to say, “I wish I wasn’t so bitter right now, so I could jump in and save that baby.” Are you going to tell the police that you witnessed the drowning and didn’t attempt to save the child because you were so consumed with resentment at the time?
No, that’s not what happens, and we both know it. You have the power to set any emotion aside if there’s an emergency or some greater good is at stake.
Instead of wasting years in self-pity and resentment, you have to take fucking action to get the things you want in life. Bring awareness to your feelings, claim ownership of them, and then replace these feelings with action. Owning your feelings is not pointing out how you feel wronged by other people, but taking action to “be the change you wish to see in others.”
When you become a man of action you will get over your addiction of self-pity.