Tag Archives: anger

How to stop self-pity, addendum

21 Jun

I came across a couple of good articles on how to stop self-pity (these are also, unsurprisingly, the first results on a Google search for “how to stop self-pity”).  For me, I have rather a case of self-hatred from time to time, but the concept is the same:  you’re wallowing in thoughts of yourself.  The articles present great long-term solutions (do things for others! think that you’re a great person!, etc), but somehow making a list of all the wonderful things about myself makes me more disgusted.  Because I’m still thinking about myself. So, I’ve discovered that the best way to immediately stop the self-pity and staunch the overuse of tissues is to just distract myself for a few minutes.  This could mean doing jumping-jacks (how can you cry while gasping for air?) or going on people.com and looking at pictures of pretty pretty people or musing about how printers work.  Then you’re back to your normal, rational, non-whiny self and when you look at the situation which set off the pity-party in the first place, you’re evaluating from the stand-point of a rational, un-biased observer.  The secret is to not think about yourself for at least 20 minutes–it does take that long to calm down–and to immediately switch your brain onto another activity, this takes discipline because you instinctively want to wallow or self-analyze.

This same philosophy also works for calming yourself down when you get angry and feel yourself turning into the Hulk.  If thinking rational thoughts such as, “Calm down.  You’re overreacting” do not help (they never help me, I like to ignore my little angel of rationality and listen to the Hulk devil), simply think about what you’re going to eat tomorrow.  Just remember, nothing is as bad as you’re making it, and treat yourself the way you would treat others.  Have compassion and forgiveness for yourself, because that’s what you’d probably feel for your friend if she/he were in the same situation as you.

None of this is easy though–I’m not sure if I can follow my own advice all the time.  They say it takes 28 days to make a habit.  So the good news is that if you repeat this continuously 28 times, you will have effectively changed your nature.

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