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Why Me? – How To End Self-Pity!

self-pity, pessimism, optimism, explanatory styles, attribution, existentialism,
self-pity, pessimism, optimism, explanatory styles, attribution, existentialism,
Why Me – How To End Self-Pity With This One Technique

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the simple technique to end self-pity.

First a quick update:

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Now, let’s talk about the simple technique to end self-pity.

“Why Me?”

That’s the question that plagues almost every victim of a bad experience – an illness, a loss, an accident, abuse, molestation, betrayal, a death of a loved one, and so forth.

“Why me? Why did this happen to me?”

The question isn’t unreasonable – if the intention is to determine if there is anything you could have done to avoid the bad experience, or to learn from it for the future.

Unfortunately, though, the question “Why me?” often devolves into self-pity or self-blame: “It must have been my fault…I must have done something wrong…there is something wrong with me…I am to blame…I am bad…woe is me…life is always bad…it’s like that in every area of my life…”

From there the focus shifts to sorrow and dwelling on misfortunes; from identifying one isolated bad event to concluding that your entire life is bad.

We ask, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ when something bad happens but we don’t ask the same question when something good happens – unless, of course, you are someone who believes only bad things happen to you and therefore you ask “Why me?” in disbelief or because you believe that you are not worthy of good things.

“We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.”
– Author unknown

You empower yourself when you choose to seek to understand the things that happen in life; you weaken and destroy yourself when you choose to blame yourself or blame others and conclude that you are the eternally helpless, victim who is damaged and/or is always wronged by the world.

Seeking to understand leads to compassion for others and yourself and helps to reinforce your values and strengths; blaming yourself or others, or playing the victim, removes all of your power to create what you want and leads to cynicism, lack of belief in your capabilities, and self-sabotage.

The way to end self-pity is to change your mindset, your perspective – are you pessimistic or optimistic about life’s events and situations?

Let me explain.

First and foremost, please understand and accept that there is not always an answer or a clear or reasonable answer to the question, “Why me; why did this happen to me?”

How can I answer the question, “Why did this happen to me?” when a client tells me that at age 5, she witnessed her mom being raped by her mom’s boyfriend?

I can explain to her all of the possible problems of the boyfriend at the time – be they drugs, mental illness or rage. However, that won’t answer her question. Instead, I can help her to have compassion for herself for the pain she experienced and help her to release the pain and trauma.

Self-compassion is not self-pity. Grief is not self-pity.

Self-pity is ‘woe is me, I am helpless’; self-compassion is “I was a helpless and innocent child who suffered a terrible experience, and I can release the pain now.’ Self-pity states that you are powerless. Yes, there are situations in life where you do not have control, but that does not equate to being powerless. Your response to whatever happiness in life is where your power lies.

“The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.”
– Voltaire

The pessimist asks, “Why me?” and believes it is always bad, it is his fault, and believes that this happens throughout his life and in every area of his life.

The optimist, if he asks, “Why me?”, will believe that there were specific things outside of his control, and will identify in what ways he may have contributed to the negative outcome, and then, will learn from it and take positive new action.

The optimist will not believe or conclude that because of this one event, he is innately bad, doomed or eternally helpless or powerless.

The optimist will not engage in self-pity because he will distinguish between what is within his control and what is outside of his control. The optimist believes that he can generate positive results based on his belief in his own capabilities and resources.

The optimist will take credit for positive outcomes he has created and will constantly express gratitude for all the moments of happiness and blessings.

The optimist will never engage in denial, and will continue to look for ways that he can sculpt and reshape his life; he will never believe that he cannot generate a positive outcome.

If you need help to transform and let go of old habits of powerlessness or victimhood, or if you need help with fear, anxiety, trauma or the past, book a one-on-one session with me.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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