Feeling sorry for yourself sucks: it’s disempowering, passive, and unproductive.
The way to stop feeling sorry for yourself is to look back to find the cause and re-frame your thinking.
Feeling sorry for yourself is a visceral experience. It affects everything from your posture to your digestion and immunity. To re-balance your mind and body, it’s best to do the following process by hand with pen and paper.
Just for once, ditch the digital.
Step #1: Ask yourself, “What am I feeling sorry about?”
Write about every detail of what you’re feeling.
- For this practice to work well, get specific and granular. Don’t hold anything back. Keep going until you have nothing more to say.
- Become a detective and dive into the “woe is me” part of your story. Explore each of the disempowering, yucky feelings and thoughts that are part of your experience. But do this investigation from a distance with as much neutral observation as you can muster.
Step #2: Reflect on the events that lead to the negative feelings.
It’s time to retrace the steps that brought you to the point of feeling sorry for yourself.
- Describe the events, triggers, emotions, and thoughts that contributed to how you’re feeling.
- Go back in time to yesterday and the last few days: what events contributed to how you’re feeling? There might be nothing there, or this may have been building for some time. This is how you can better understand what triggers you and when.
- Do you feel positive or negative in relation to those events as you recount and observe them?
Step #3: Re-frame how you want to feel.
To stop feeling sorry for yourself, you need to re-frame your perceptions of these past events.
This is not about re-writing history or concocting a lie. You are re-framing your experience and feelings into positive learning experiences.
This is the action step to improve how you’re feeling.
- Ask, “What can I do, right now, that will make me feel better about this situation?”
- Do that thing! Or if it’s long enough after the fact, consider if this is a regular trigger. Make note of your ‘positive counteraction’ so that you can practice it the next time you are feeling sorry for yourself.
A gentle caveat: This is not always easy.
Finding the positive in situations can be challenging — sometimes downright daunting.
But this isn’t about faking it. You need to find the truth of what’s good — the learning experience, no matter how small — in your situation. Even if you only improve how you’re feeling by the tiniest amount, that’s a win.
What happened, is fixed. How you think and feel about it, is flexible.
If feeling sorry for yourself is keeping you from doing or getting what you want, let’s connect.