In his commentary on Self-pity, Martin G. Collins points out some biblical examples of this destructive character trait: Cain kills his brother, Moses pleads with God to excuse him from leadership, Jonah gets swallowed by a whale, and Elijah asks God to strike him dead.
Can anything good come from self-pity? There was a time when I almost let it define me. I had a sad story and I relished the opportunity to bend your ear with it. Perhaps it’s because I thought it might make you like me. Or like Moses, maybe I was trying to avoid success. It’s also possible that like Elijah; I was burnt out, tired, and trying to work in my own strength.
Whatever comfort self-pity brings, it is short lived and ultimately can be devastating both personally and professionally.
In his book A Winter Dream Richard Paul Evans writes:
“Abhor victimhood. Denounce entitlement. Neither are gifts, rather cages too damn the soul. Everyone who has walked the earth is a victim of injustice. Everyone.”
Of course, there is a difference between self-pity and sorrow. We all experience sorrow due to loss and injustice. It’s vital for our emotional health that we work through the stages of grief, and eventually come to a place of acceptance. It’s when we refuse to come to a place of acceptance that self-pity sets in; and that can hinder our accomplishments, destroy our relationships, and can ultimately block Gods plan for our life.
Richard Evans makes the best case for acceptance ever: “Most of all, do not be too quick to denounce your sufferings. The difficult road you are called to walk may, in fact be your only path to success.”