Monday, October 10, 2011

Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself!

I am done with it. I’ll have no more of it. I am finally old enough to freely think, openly speak, and indiscriminately choose my own course of thought and action. And that means, at long last, I can finally, without guilt or impediment, feel sorry for myself. As sorry as I want to feel. Oh yes, I can and I will.

Though having avoided such an exercise for a lifetime, when I test this new thing that I avoided doing in my past, how shall it be tested, developed, controlled, and instated? Am I suppose to weep, wring my hands, get a monster lump in my throat, or just do a mental laundry list of everyone’s injustices to me? I really don’t know since I’ve never been here before.

And if it is a good thing, and I somehow think it is, should I find comfort and recovery in it? I expect I will because I’ve never felt comfort or recovery in not feeling sorry for myself -- just utter frustration.

I still remember my Mother forcing me to have an afternoon nap when I was just a toddler. I ranted and roared, balled up my quilt, and fired it repeatedly out of my little bed, crying and loudly wailing all the while, “I am NOT tired. I do not need a nap.”

And her response was, “Stop feeling sorry for yourself. You are going to have a nap.”

What did she mean by that silliness? It had nothing to do with anything. The only thing that had something to do with anything is “I did not need a nap!” For all I knew maybe when you ball up your quilt and throw it on the floor, you are feeling sorry for yourself. Well, if that was the case, why didn’t she say so?

That’s when it started and I’ve heard it at every unfortunate moment in my life ever since. Whenever, as a child, an adolescent, an adult, even as an elderly, I have expressed a strong and true desire to do something that did not fit within another’s framework, [i.e. to nap, to leave the party early or avoid it all together, to eat, to knit, to withdraw], I was accused of feeling sorry for myself and badgered with the same old meaningless jargon -- “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.“ And I no more understand it now than I did back then.

I can only assume that if you feeling really bad and bite your lip, you are not feeling sorry for yourself. But, on the other hand, if you are feeling really bad and say, “Oh woe is me,” you are engaged in an activity more disgusting than playing with yourself.

The experts say that feeling sorry for oneself can lead to depressive and dysfunctional behaviour. Of course any sophisticated learned academia would never allow themselves to go there, so how could they know?

What could be worse than a depressed and dysfunctional academic? Particularly when splashing about in a puddle of their own specialty and expertise. God forbid.

As for me, I’ve never been there in that supposedly quicksand bog of feeling sorry for myself cause no one would allow me to be. But guess what, this is as I initially said, not going to continue. I am going to feel sorry for myself, because not feeling sorry for myself is exactly causing, you guessed it, depressed and dysfunctional behaviour.

Experts must be wrong, they have to be because they are theorizing these things, but I am living them and have been living them, this often woeful life without self-pity for more than fifty years.

And with that (my out loud confession of a ‘woeful life’) I slip into the comforting and nurturing halls of self-pity. It’s very nice here -- warm, comforting, nurturing. I think I’ll stay awhile.

I might even let you know next time we talk, how it’s working for me.


Anonymous said...

Hey, give me a call when you have a chance.
Vegas & Beanie Bird

Alan G said...

Glad to see you post again….of course I am one to talk about that!!

I’m afraid on the issue you discuss in your post that I wholeheartedly agree. Contrary to what “they” say!

All those people who would be quick to criticize those of us who would dare feel sorry for ourselves are the same ones who tell you to love yourself and be your own person. Just based on that alone it seems more than enough justification to claim the right to feel sorry for yourself! I would assume that loving one’s self would involve both in the good times and in the bad times.

Based on my experience with this issue, if you don’t feel sorry for yourself in those times of personal despair, no one else will. Instead of trying to understand the reasons for your despair, they are normally trying to trivialize or beguile us of our reasoning’s.

I suspect that many who find themselves a guest at someone’s pity party are more anxious to change the venue than offer a shoulder. I believe one could say that they themselves begin feeling sorry for themselves for feeling they are somehow being forced to console their host – rather than caring enough about them to want to lend an ear or lend a shoulder.

I can assure you that in my case if I don’t feel sorry for myself, no one else will! Oooops….there I go again, feeling sorry for myself?

Joy Des Jardins said...

Hey, you're back! I've had moments when I've allowed myself to wallow in a little self pity Roberta. Depending on how far one takes it....I think we all earn the right to feel sorry for ourselves once in a while. When you took your little hiatus from blogging...I felt sorry for myself that I couldn't enjoy your beautiful writing. Now that you've posted, I guess I'll have to take that off of my 'pity poor Joy list.' Welcome back dear friend... ~Joy xo

Pauline said...

Your post reminds me of the guy who, upon deciding to have a nervous breakdown, said, "I worked for it; I owe it to myself; and nobody is going to deprive me of it."

Periodically feeling sorry for oneself is, as you've discovered, therapeutic. After all, no one likes feeling sorry for someone else, so who else will feel that way for you, if not you? You'll be amazed how much better you feel when you've spent some time saying "poor me." It gives you a whole new perspective on what your life is really like! Eventually you'll come to see that it's not as bad as others make it out to be.

Roberta S said...

Anonymous - done

Alan G. - I haven't been on anyone's site for a very long stretch, but was very happy to see you had returned to writing. I enjoy your insights so much.

As for feeling sorry for myself, I do feel so much better and actually thought that in the midst of you doing the same (feeling sorry for yourself, that is), that you must feel so much better too. It's rather a nice thing to share for its own rewards.

Joy - Thank you Joy, thank you. Just know I'm still on a bit of a slippery slope and may not be posting with any kind of regularity. If I don't write be confident that it is a day, that if I did write, it would not be worth reading.

Pauline - You are my most solid rock and blogger standby. I read what you write, assured that you are on standby, and all is suddenly well with the world. And in future, I will pity myself, drown in it somedays, without remorse. Then I will rush to your 'site' read your thoughts expressed with such beauty and wisdom and all will be well.

joared said...

Glad to have you back! Haven't posted real often myself most recently -- a lapse many bloggers seem to take occasionally for a variety of reasons.

You're certainly entitled to feel sorry for yourself if you want to do so. I think it's essential to acknowledge our feelings, whatever they may be. Feelings simply are what they are -- logical or not. What we think about them is another matter -- but that's your choice. A little time in the pity pot can make for some interesting, even healthy, stew. But don't take my word for it, 'cause I'm just muddlin' along like everybody else.

Roberta S said...

joared, thanks for the comment. I'm taking your word for it because I don't believe with the wisdom you so often show that you are just "muddlin' along". Can't be.