Frequently Asked Questions About How To Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself

The COVID-19 pandemic was all kinds of awful – there’s no doubt about that – but it also made a lot of people realize new things about themselves.

In my case, for instance, I realized that I had many unexplored talents that I would not have found out if I was out of the house all the time. I learned how to bake, cook, and even knit sweaters during the pandemic. I also became closer than ever to my parents, which I thought was impossible because we rarely saw eye to eye in the past.

In my boss’s case, we heard that he realized that all he needed to feel complete was his wife and new baby. Don’t get me wrong – he’s known to be a great husband and father, but he was also a workaholic. Although he was entitled to a paternity leave after his son’s birth, he still went to work every day. But due to the pandemic, he did not have much work to do, and he finally got to spend time with his family.

Unfortunately, not everyone had at least one positive experience during this pandemic. One of my long-time friends, Julia, lost her job at a local broadcasting network because they could no longer pay for new reporters. She eventually found another one as an online writer, but the pay was only a third of her previous salary. It was not enough for her rent, so she had to move back to her parents’ house.  

Before the move, Julia told me how relieved she left to live with her parents again. She had not been there longer than a week since college, and it would be nice to catch up with her other relatives in the neighborhood. However, when I called Julia to ask how she’s settling in after 30 days, she sounded despondent.

“It has been a crappy stay so far. My parents were great; I have nothing bad to say to them. But as for my aunts and grandma, I can think of many,” Julia said.

Curious, I asked, “How come? I thought you are everyone’s favorite.”

She sighed. “Yes. That was when I was still a reporter. Now, they keep comparing me to my other cousins, who did not lose their jobs during the pandemic. They would say, “Oh, look at Mari; she’s earning well since she’s a doctor. You should have studied to become one, too.” I mean, can’t I get a break? I am a failure – I get it.” 

“Hey, you should not say that. You are not a failure.” I tried to appease Julia.

“Come on; admit it. If I’m not, I should have a stable job even now. The broadcasting station let me go because I was expendable.”

Our conversation ended with me unable to stop my friend from being angry and feeling sorry for herself. In truth, I did not know how to do that or what to say that would not upset Julia further. I initially thought of inviting her to stay in my house, but it would only be a quick fix, not a long-term solution. Thus, I quizzed my husband – who is also a psychologist – about the following things:

What does it mean to feel sorry for yourself? 

Feeling sorry for yourself entails that you find yourself pitiful in a specific situation.

Is it wrong to feel sorry about yourself? 

No, it is not wrong to feel sorry for yourself. Sometimes, this feeling pushes you to make a much-needed change in your life.

What’s another word for self-pity? 

Victim-playing is another word for self-pity.

How do you deal with self-pity? 

  • Practice self-compassion and go through the emotions that accompany self-pity. That is more ideal than forcing yourself to act happy.
  • Recognize it when you are self-pitying. Doing so allows you to realize how it affects the people around you.
  • Avoid welcoming the victim mentality. Considering you have not been abused or violated somehow, blaming others for how you feel will not make the problems go away.
  • Rephrase the questions in your head. Practically speaking, instead of asking why, change it into what, where, when, and how.
  • Accept that your perception is your own and that it may not always be correct. This way, you can push yourself to see the situation in another light.
  • Be brave enough to admit that you are self-pitying and that it is not always good. 
  • Instead of focusing on your negative thoughts, try to look at all the blessings you have experienced.
  • Contribute to society to avoid thinking sad thoughts about yourself.

Why do I have so much self-pity? 

You tend to experience so much self-pity because you are not making progress in life, which fuels negative thinking.

What does it mean to wallow in self-pity? 

Wallowing in self-pity entails that you bask in your sadness.

What is the opposite of self-pity? 

Self-esteem is the opposite of self-pity.

What does to wallow mean? 

The term “to wallow” is an intransitive verb that means finding delight in something.

What does it mean to wallow in sorrow? 

“To wallow in sorrow” means that you enjoy feeling sorrowful.

How do I stop wallowing? 

  • Face your problems at once.
  • Try to catch yourself wallowing.
  • Challenge your thoughts.
  • Prove your negative thoughts wrong.
  • Focus on brain-stimulating or positive activities.
  • Be more grateful for your blessings.
  • Give back to others.
  • Stop complaining about what you do not or cannot have.
  • Stay optimistic about life, no matter how challenging it may seem.

Final Thoughts

The best thing I could think of to help my friend was to drag her to my charitable activities. For instance, I would call and ask her to come over and pack the lunches I prepared for the local hospital’s healthcare workers. Sometimes, we would drop by an orphanage to bring new clothes or toys for the kids. Those were little activities that took no more than eight hours, but after the fifth charitable act, Julia told me how guilty she felt for wallowing for being compared to others. 

“These people are genuinely happy about simple things. I need to be more like them. Perhaps that would change my life for the better.”