January 23, 2015

Combatting the "Why Me" Syndrome: Don't Let Self-Pity Hold You Down


We have all suffered from the "Why me?" syndrome at some time in our lives. It's easy to fall into self-pity by comparing yourself to others. Once you fall into that endless victim hole, it's extremely hard to pull yourself out. No one can convince you your thinking is wrong. All you can see is that you are not as good or as smart or as far along as those around you.

The only way out is to stop digging yourself further into the hole. Stop comparing yourself to others and only compare yourself to the you from yesterday. You can keep digging, but only dig for accomplishments, no matter how small. When you get a shovelful of accomplishments, put it under your feet. Every accomplishment will lift you up and one day you will look around you and say "Wow, I never thought I'd be here!"

Digging yourself out of this hole isn't simple. It's isn't accomplished merely by having a "Can Do" attitude, or reading affirmations, or even forcing yourself to think positively. It's only accomplished by putting on blinders to everything outside of your own journey. Forget that the house next door is bigger or your best friend has a better job or your co-worker has a fancy new car. In fact be happy for them, because they have done exactly what you need to do. Instead of being jealous, watch how they are accomplishing these things and emulate them.

But first, figure out what is really important to you. Do you really need or want a huge house, tons of money and a fancy car, or would you be happier with just being financially secure and being able to provide for you and yours? To reach your own personal "top," you have to define what the top is.

As for me, I don't need much. I'd be happy to be able to pay my bills and have some left over for things I'd like to do. I'd like to travel, but I don't need to. I'd actually like a smaller place to live so I don't have to spend so much to care for or support it, and I'm moving toward that goal. I would like to have a small pickup truck one day, but I don't need a big 4-wheel drive mudder -- just something I can use to haul thrift market finds or curb shopping freebies. In the meantime, I'm fine with using the bus or Zipcar. I'd like to have an emergency fund, and I'm working on that too.

So little by little, I'm putting dirt under my feet to dig myself out of my hole. Once I reach that top and climb out, I'll figure out if I want to build a hill or a mountain to go even higher. I'm not reaching for the sky, simply for solid ground. You can only climb a ladder one rung at a time.

So sit down and figure out what your solid ground is. If you are already there, figure out how much higher you want to go and start building that hill. Don't feel sorry for yourself because someone else already lives on top of that hill. There is no shame in living at the bottom of a mountain if that is where your happiness lies.


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