Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

- D.H. Lawrence

What is self-pity? Dictionary defines it as a feeling of sorrow over one’s own suffering. Each and everyone at some point of their life are bound to get such a feeling. Why is it that human beings, who are among the most evolved life forms, are the only species that practice self-pity? As the thought provoking poem mentioned above suggests, the concept of self-pity is not within the range of thoughts of smaller and lesser evolved creatures. Human beings live life partly in their minds itself. They form problems, reasonings, faults and remedies in their thoughts which occupy them while other lesser evolved forms live their life via each passing moment. Thus, there exists self pity when the mind is unable to find a remedy for a continuing personal sorrow. There also exists self pity when a person dwells on his past life…his mistakes and missed chances…’If only I had grabbed that opportunity, I would have been far away from this mess’. It is also a practice to blame fate or luck for a person’s sorrow, thus deepening his feeling of self-pity. ‘luck was never the dame I shared court with’. Another line of thought deals with mortality. It is believed that human mind is the only one among its contemporaries to know about its mortality. Another feeling peculiar to the human mind is regret. Regret about past actions or inactions form a deep rooted seed for self-pity.

Having formed a general idea about self-pity, I want to delve into the aftermath of a long bout of self-pity. Though self-pity is something on every person’s thoughts at some point of their life, it affects idle minds the most. Within boredom lurks self-pity and this self-pity will be the longest in terms of duration. The simple reason being that there is no other source of distraction. It will also be the most dangerous feeling. For, self-pity during prolonged boredom will eventually lead to self-hatred, which is the cornerstone for suicide attempts. The 2 most important factors contributing to self-hatred might be Blame and Shame. Blame being an external factor…making its presence more so due to other peoples inputs, while Shame is the internal feeling of abdication. There is self-hatred in every person…mostly dormant and in many cases absolutely inactive. When a person is involved in some activity which gives work for his mind, this dormant or inactive feeling is well and truly buried. It is when the mind is filled with boredom that the sprouts of self-pity raise the abeyant plant of self-hatred.

So, it is better to train our thoughts to look forward in life, rather than revisiting the parts of it already done and dusted. By doing so, the feelings of Self-pity and eventually Self-hatred can be kept under control if not completely blanked out.

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