Let’s wander into some Compassion Focused Therapy as I have had a number of patients recently apologise along the lines, ‘I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t be feeling sorry for myself.’ To which my standard response is along the lines, ‘Hang on a moment. If you don’t, who will? And what’s wrong with feeling sorry for yourself anyway?’
The truth is that not feeling sorry for ourselves creates more problems than a good, well organised self-pity party! Why?
Grieving and Growing
You see, the issue here is that we all need to grieve and grow. I see many people haunted and disabled by their unresolved grief about different experiences years after they have occurred.
So what does a good self-pity party look like. Well, first, take some time to sit and think about what upset you. Writing it out can be very cathartic. Second, watch any tendency to beat yourself up, call yourself by judgemental names or invalidate your pain by saying ‘but others have it much worse.’
Finally, ask yourself, ‘What can I learn from this”.
My Guiding Axiom
My patients and readers of my latest book are familiar with one of the axiomsI personally find the most helpful for dealing with life’s vicissitudes: Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want. And all wisdom is built on experience – ergo if things are always working out for you – no wisdom for you!. The only tragedy is when we do not take the time to learn from our experiences and gain the wisdom that awaits us.
This is why we need to take the time to feel sorry for ourselves – from the most compassionate standpoint of all – in the service of our personal growth. As I also discuss in The Way of The Quest – true nobility is not about being better than others it is about a better person than we were yesterday. Taking the time to give ourselves some empathy is where it all begins.