American author John W. Gardner was Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson. During World War II he served in the United States Marine Corps as a Captain. He wrote, “Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”
But wait, self-pity is a necessary condition to experience before recovery can occur from any unfortunate event. Grieving losses, depression from painful memories, and mourning unfortunate events are part of the healing found in the condition of self-solace. However, when you get wrapped up in your misfortunes and hang onto blaming someone or something for the circumstances of your life, then you are no longer healing—you are feeling sorry for yourself.
Soon a sense of entitlement arrives—you may feel a right to certain privileges and a right to leave behind certain responsibilities because of what you endured. Unhappy comments are verbalize to others to enlist sympathy and call attention to what happened unfairly to you. In no time you could set up camp in Victimville recruiting empathy and excusing unhealthy behaviors. Self-pity reeks and your healing is kept away.
Whatever has occurred unjustly to you may have not been your fault, but to heal you need to recognize that even though you were blind-sided, the injustice is your responsibility to overcome. It landed in your lap. Today, ask yourself if there is someone or something you are holding responsible for why your life is the way it is. -Dr. Sandy