Are You Feeling Sorry for Yourself?

Robert Terson

A middle-aged  woman I know has been going through some tough times lately; everything fell apart all at once: she lost her job as an inside salesperson; broke up with her latest boyfriend again (there are only so many sports events on TV a 55-year-old woman can tolerate before going stark raving mad, to say nothing about dealing with a man who can’t separate himself from his cellphone while they’re, supposedly, out socializing), which caused him to get so angry he—figuratively speaking—threw her out of the apartment they shared.  He came to his senses two days later, told her she could come back (she did), but has been treating her like she’s the Devil incarnate since then; she can’t get out of there fast enough, is out looking at apartments as I write this.

When I spoke to her on the telephone, she was in full panic mode; I could barely understand her through her crying and choked up voice, so worried is she about the soon-to-be ex-boyfriend, finding suitable living space, another job, money, etc. She felt like the world was closing in on her, crushing her, and that she was, seemingly, helpless to do anything about it.  She was, in a phrase, feeling sorry for herself,  consumed by fear.  “Why me?” she wanted to know.  What had she done to deserve this “total collapse of her life?”

I tried to reassure her.  I told her everything would be okay, it would all work out for the best.  I told her life never is good as it seems, or bad as it seems—this too shall pass.

Alas, I just as easily could have been talking to the wall; she wasn’t having any of it, couldn’t even stop crying.  When human beings get to the point they’re feeling that sorry for themselves, completely devoured by fear, all reason goes out the window and not much is going to get accomplished—the exact opposite of what is needed.

Here’s what you need to know, folks: When things go terribly south, like they did for my middle-aged friend, you need to remember the old cliché “when things get tough, the tough get going.”  When your world fall apart you’ll need to be at your best, mentally strong, all faculties working in sync 100%.  Choking up in panic, succumbing, not only won’t help the situation any, it’ll freeze you up to the point you won’t be able to function, accomplish what must be done to turn things around.  In other words, you’ll be self-destructing, heading south when you need to quickly move north.

I’ve quoted Shakespeare many times in this blog: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”  Remember—it is never the event, or series of events, that matters; it is your interpretation of the event, how you think of it, see it, that matters.  Once you decide you can handle anything that comes your way, you’re home free, nothing will have the power to bring you to your knees, cause you to panic, feel sorry for yourself.

You have a choice; you always have a choice.  Decide to be mentally strong and you will be.  The winds of misfortune will blow your way and you’ll methodically take care of things.  You may even laugh about it.  Laughter is so much more power enhancing than a woe-is-me attitude.