The title of this article may shock some people since it is coming from a minister who for some thirty-five years now has dedicated his life to helping people. But, I can honestly say that I don’t feel sorry for people. I may feel badly about their situation, but I don’t feel sorry for them.
I am not heartless towards people who are going through difficult times. I have had my share of tough times and I’m sure you have too. But I’m so glad that during those tough times, nobody came along and said, “Oh, I feel so sorry for you; that’s just terrible.”
Feeling sorry for someone doesn’t help them; it actually hurts them. Expressing to someone that you feel sorry for them can easily reinforce self pity. They don’t need self pity; they need positive encouragement to help them reset the vision and direction for their life!
For those who feel sorry for themselves, all the focus is on “poor me.” Those who feel sorry for themselves love a pity party and many times are a magnet for others who think that way too. This course of action never helps and is actually detrimental.
Dr Megan Reik wrote concerning self-pity, “There are few human emotions as warm, comforting, and enveloping as self-pity. And nothing is more corrosive and destructive. There is only one answer; turn away from it and move on.” And John W. Gardner is quoted as saying, “Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”
What are some signs of self pity? Responses like, “Why me?” and, “Why is this happening to me now?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” None of those questions can help you to find a solution. Self pity is a dangerous habit to get into.
Perhaps you can now understand why I do not feel sorry for people. It may break my heart to see the circumstances they are dealing with, but I do not want to encourage self pity by feeling sorry for them. They need help in changing their mental state into one of expecting to receive from God!
Now, this may not sound loving, but let’s get honest. You are not the only one who has ever faced an obstacle, or two, or three, are you? It is part of life.
We all face challenges and obstacles. Sometimes they are small and other times they can seem overwhelming. But we must get into the habit of overcoming obstacles.
Some people are quite literally inviting more obstacles into their lives. People who consistently voice, “Why me?” and, “I never get a break” and, “Why does this always happen to me?” are actually inviting more obstacles into their lives. We really do manifest on the outside what is happening on the inside.
If self pity and feeling sorry for yourself has become a habit, then you must make a conscious effort to stop that kind of thinking. When those kind of thoughts pop up, you need to kick them out. Replace them with thoughts on finding a solution; that will help you to get rid of self pity.
Only you can control your own thoughts. You can decide where your focus and attention will be. You can decide what your mindset is going to be. And your mindset will determine where your own life goes, despite what is going on around you.
Watch out for those unexpected pity parties. You know, those discouraging encounters where someone talks about how bad things are going in their life. Do your best to offer encouragement, vision, possibility, and a trust in God. There must be a solution! There must be a way up and out!
Regardless of the situations and circumstances we may be facing, God is not and never will be out of business. God is a very present help in time of need. We can absolutely put our trust and confidence in God.