Welcome to Hard Talk. I'm Isaiah. You're here for the hard truth, and I'm here to give it to you. Quit feeling sorry for yourself. Self-pity is a very common response to stressful events. Something bad happens, you feel helpless, and you feel sorry for yourself. That's how things play out way too often. The problem is that throwing a pity party does nothing to improve the stressful event you're facing.
Now a long time ago I used to deliver ATMs way back in college. These were the kind of machines that you put your bank card into and get money out of. These ATMs were extremely heavy. I remember one job that we had to deliver 14 ATMs all around the state of Delaware in two days. On our very first delivery, we dropped one of these machines on its side. An ATM, it's impossible to get back up once you drop it. We were able to do it, so we did the impossible, but it took hours to get it upright, so we wasted a lot of time.
Then things got worse. The liftgate on our delivery truck broke. That was the final straw. We gave up and just sat there feeling sorry for ourselves. We knew that if we didn't get every ATM delivered by the end of the next day, we wouldn't get paid. There was no way now that we could deliver 13 ATMs in one day. No way. Then, early the next morning, the phone rang at about 5 AM. It was the mechanic on the other end of the line. He told us that the liftgate was fixed. We got back in the truck. We started delivering ATMs. Along the way, the person I was working with, we got into a big fight. We both got frustrated, started getting angry, got really mad at each other. To our surprise, though, our anger fueled us and we actually were able to deliver all of the ATMs with two hours to spare.
Now feeling sorry for yourself is completely useless. Self-pity promotes inaction. It acts as a kind of gateway to learned helplessness and depression. Studies show that people who frequently indulge in self-pity see themselves as controlled by both chances and by other people, other people who are more powerful than them. That's how they see it. Now with respect to anger expression, self-pity is primarily related to anger in. People who feel sorry for themselves internalize their anger instead of expressing it. This is a bad thing. They ruminate or obsess over what went wrong and why it's not fair, instead of taking action to make things better.
Now while these pitiful thoughts might feel comforting at the time, they actually lead to bigger problems. The key is avoiding this kind of useless behavior. The only way to avoid it is to build up your defenses against it, against feeling sorry for yourself. Now the first thing you need to do is to stop apologizing for yourself. Everyone in life wants you to apologize for everything. That's just how it is. We're taught from a very young age that saying I'm sorry is the right thing to do. It's the adult thing to do. But this isn't always true. Always apologizing for yourself makes you mentally weak. Apologizing is a kind of breeding ground for self-pity. When you constantly apologize, you communicate to both yourself and the outside world that you're always wrong. This acts to lower your self-esteem, and it damages your integrity overall.
Now, of course, this doesn't mean that you should never apologize. If you did something legitimately wrong or failed to deliver, own up to it. Learn from it and move on. But if you're apologizing for your beliefs, your desires, your goals, your past, or who you are at your core, stop it.
Second. The second thing you need to do is to get comfortable with anger. This will help you to stop feeling sorry for yourself. Too many people worry about anger being a damaging emotion. It's poison. It will ruin your health. This is what they say, but it's complete nonsense. Anger is only damaging to you when you don't express it. It's only damaging when you don't know how to manage it and channel it productively.
Now self-pity, on the other hand, really is poison. Self-pity is poison, not anger. Other studies show that anger both encourages people to believe they can control their future and then motivates them to take risks. In other words, anger primes you to action. This is a good thing. When it comes down to either feeling self-pity or anger, choose anger and then channel it productively.
The third thing you need to do to stop feeling sorry for yourself is starting saying no more often. People who always say yes, they're pushovers. These people also rarely have solid goals of their own. Think about it, if you're always agreeing to help other people push their agendas forward, it means you have no time to push your own agenda forward.