Ninety per cent of the world’s woe comes from people not knowing themselves, their abilities, their frailties, and even their real virtues. Most of us go almost all the way through life as complete strangers to ourselves – so how can we know anyone else?
Sydney J. Harris
The act of feeling sorry for yourself for no particular reason, save for the fact you have nothing to keep your mind off your past
They say that there are only two absolutes in life. DEATH and TAXES! But I must disagree with this. And while I can actually think of a hundred other things to add to a list of “life’s absolutes”, I think sorrow ranks right up there at the top! A heart that is wounded in some way can be a terrible thing to bear or to bear witness to. But I think you have to agree that sorrow is an essential part of living life! The more living and loving you do as you travel the road of life, the more likely it is that you will experience the heartache of sadness and loss. Yes, sorrow is very much proof positive of a life well lived! The key is seeing sorrow for what it is, learning from it and then using that knowledge to enrich your life. Unfortunately so many people are content being rooted in sadness as evidenced by the sheer number of “pity parties” we see every day! Yes, they have become a charter member of the “woe-is-me” brigade!
In my humble opinion, self-condemnation is absolutely the worst way to atone for those mistakes we might be responsible for, which may have contributed, in some way, shape or form, to the sorrow and despair we feel. And while we may not always be at fault for the events that lead to our heartbreak, when you think about it, there is absolutely no difference in the depth of the sorrow one feels, whether we believe we have failed another, or ourselves, in our personal life or our life of faith. But all that perpetual “pity party” accomplishes is to erode self-esteem and create continuing self-doubt. Self-condemnation keeps you mired in the quicksand that is sorrow rather than freeing you to learn from the experience, and to grow in body, mind and spirit, as a result! The Bible says in Colossians 2:23 NIV, “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.“
Why doesn’t feeling sorry for yourself help? The author of the best seller, “Letting Go”, Guy Finley, has come up with a list of things that a perpetual state of sorrow can burden us with! Read them and then really spend some time thinking and looking deeply within, and then decide if you see your life reflected in any of the things listed here!
The only thing feeling sorry for yourself changes about your life is that it makes it worse.
No matter how you look at it, you involve yourself with whatever you resist!
Being wrapped up in self-pity completely spoils any chance of being able to see new possibilities as they appear; besides, no one likes sour milk!
The only thing that grows from cultivating any dark seed of sorrow is more bitter fruit.
Feeling sorry for those who want you to feel sorry for them is like giving an alcoholic a gift certificate to a liquor store.
Anytime you embrace a dark inner state, you increase the size of its stake on your heart and mind.
Feeling sorry for yourself is a slow acting poison; it first corrupts, and then consumes the heart…choking it with dark and useless emotions.
You cannot separate the reasons you have for feeling sorry for yourself from the sorry way you feel.
The heart watered by tears of self-pity soon turns to stone; it is incapable of compassion.
Agreeing to live with sad regrets only ensures they’ll still be with you tomorrow.
Now this list does not really focus on the positive things we can do to move past the unhappy times in life that leave us asking the question, “what should I do”. The answer, in fact, is a very subjective one, because what might work for one person may not work for someone else. But there is one universal absolute that I do know can help. We are all afforded the opportunity of turning our ponderous burdens over to one whose shoulders are broad enough to carry them all for us. God! However, there is another huge lesson God asks us to understand and to remember. I think of it as God’s “Yin-Yang”! Without sorrow, there can be no joy or rejoicing! So give Him thanks and praise for helping you through the dark moments. “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall”. (Psalm 55:22 NIV).
Yes, we are all at risk for becoming enslaved by the effects that sorrow brings to our lives. But I do have an answer to the question of “what am I supposed to do”! Within each breast beats a heart that has the capacity to love others unconditionally, even as God loves us unconditionally. That love is a remedy for sorrow. Also, choosing to find the center of joy and harmony that exists in every human heart, is another. We all have the power to decide which direction we will take when those times of sorrow come knocking! Do you know which direction you will choose?
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Matthew 25: 31-40 ESV
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