Why Self-Pity is Destructive

000_6910RetouchIn 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.”

Jodie Stevens

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