(From the Life of Wellness Series)
To listen to radio broadcasts on this topic go to:
“Self pity – its dangers and its cure on the 7 Steps to Freedom radio network with Pat Buckley & Ann Windsor
In order to have a Life of Wellness, you must be healthy mentally and emotionally. Self pity must become a thing of the past in your life. If you have indulged in this destructive activity, read the following and take action:
Positive Pity (notice that this is for someone else):
the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others.
strong feeling of sadness or sympathy for someone or something.
Self Pity (negative):
A cause for regret or disappointment, shame, bad luck, misfortune, sadness,
a feeling of sorrow (often self-indulgent) over your own sufferings, pity for oneself, especially exaggerated or self-indulgent pity.
Here are some sayings used to describe self pity:
crying towel- An imaginary towel offered to the kind of person who chronically complains about ill fortune, minor defeats, or other adversities. The phrase can be used teasingly or judgmentally, implying that one who needs a “crying towel” is unnecessarily wallowing in self-pity.
cry in one’s beer-To overindulge in self-pity; to be inappropriately sentimental or maudlin; to feel sorry for one-self. This expression probably derives from the fact that many people tend to become sentimental, even teary-eyed, after a few drinks. The result of such self-indulgence is often sloppy behavior and a loose tongue.
cry on [someone’s] shoulder- To reveal one’s problems to another person in order to get sympathy; to assail someone’s ear with one’s woes in an attempt to win pity or to get moral support. Although the image is of a distraught person literally crying in another person’s arms, the expression is usually used hyperbolically and sometimes with a sarcastic edge undercutting the seriousness or gravity of the situation.
eat one’s heart- To suffer inconsolably; to have sorrow or longing dominate one’s thoughts and feelings; to be in a constant state of mental and emotional disquietude. Spenser used this expression in The Fairie Queene (1596): He could not rest; but did his stout heart eat.
More common today is the expression eat one’s heart out. It is often heard as a playfully sarcastic command, very different in tone from the earlier serious version of the expression.
sob story: A very gloomy story; a sad tale designed to elicit the compassion and sympathy of the listener; a tear-jerker. This common, self-explanatory expression often applies to an alibi or excuse. It also frequently describes the narrative recounting of the trials, frustrations, and disappointments of one’s life.
How anyone could heed such a sob story is beyond me. (Los Angeles Times, June, 1949)
tear-jerker A book, play, or motion picture designed to induce gloominess or weeping, a sob story; a speaker or performer who is able to obtain the audience’s compassion and sympathy. This common expression describes a work which dwells excessively on inconsolable grief, grave disappointment, tragic frustration, or excessive sentimentality.
Self pity is very dangerous and is a tool that the devil likes to use to initiate oppression in a person’s life and lead to more serious issues such as suicide.
Some signs you are being attacked and tempted with falling into self pity:
- · a sense of regret or disappointment
- · a feeling of shame, sadness or prolonged sorrow.
- · the feeling you have suffered more than your share of bad luck, misfortune.
- · a sense of condemnation over committing an ‘easily besetting sin’.
The devil wants you to wallow in self pity. To ‘cry on someone’s shoulder’ in an attempt to win their pity or to get their moral support for your position.
Check yourself: do you constantly share your story of calamity with others? Why do you do it?
If you will notice the definitions above, people usually cry on someone else’s shoulder to get moral support for their complaint or position in a situation, or you just want to have them comfort you in your affliction. Have you noticed that human comfort never lasts or remedies the problems?
Getting overly sentimental, suffering inconsolably or letting longing for something you don’t or can’t have, dominate your thoughts and feelings leads to a constant state of mental and emotional disquiet. This is exactly the state the devil wants you in. This can also be brought on by books you read, TV programs or movies you watch. If you have developed the habit of feeling sorry for yourself, do not feed those feelings of sorrow by indulging in the things that stir up those feelings.
Here are some expressions used about self pity: crying towel, cry in one’s beer, cry on someone’s shoulder, eat one’s heart. Today you hear the expression, ‘eat your heart out’, but that is not related to self pity. It is used more in a sarcastic manner. The phrase ‘eat one’s heart’ is very serious and can be life threatening.
What are the consequences of giving in to self-pity?
You get a spirit of heaviness..a major demonic spirit listed in the Scriptures. With him he brings all sorts of other manifestations: gloom, grief, heartache, hopelessness, insomnia, lethargy, loneliness, mourning, restlessness, unworthiness, crying, condemnation, broken heartedness, defeatism, despair, dread, laziness.
Isaiah 61:3 speaks of the ‘spirit of heaviness’.
The context of this verse says that Jesus is anointed to give those who have a spirit of heaviness freedom through giving them a garment of praise. Isaiah 61:1-3 is very encouraging:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me: because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound: to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that he might be glorified.”
Jesus used these verses when He began his ministry, Luke 4:18.
Another thing that self pity brought on by a spirit of heaviness can cause is suicide.
People who commit suicide are usually doing it out of anger, a sense of ‘I’ll get even with you for what you did to me (or didn’t do for me)’, or they are reduced by this spirit to a state of total despondency about life.
If you have been in the habit of feeling sorry for yourself (indulging in self pity), can the habit be broken?
You just have to recognize the symptoms of self pity coming over you, the temptation of self pity being presented to your thoughts.
If you will think about these definitions of self-pity, and the verse in Isaiah 61:3 that says a ‘spirit of heaviness’ seduces you into self pity, you will begin to recognize its symptoms and see it as an actual demonic temptation.
Jesus does not want you to have a broken heart, or be swallowed up by overly much sorrow. Tragic things happen in this sinful world, and maybe you have been affected by it more than others, but Jesus is anointed to heal and set free even you.
He wants to give you a ‘garment of praise’. To comfort you if you are mourning. To give you beauty for ashes. You may feel like your life has become an ash heap. He will enable you to rise from the ashes and walk in the ‘newness of life’ in Him.
Pray this prayer:
“Jesus, now that I see the dangers of self-pity, I ask that You forgive me for allowing it to get a foot hold in my life. Help me to recognize when the spirit of heaviness is drawing me into self pity. I don’t want to be swallowed up and brought into bondage to hopelessness and despair. Fill my heart with Your Presence. Help me to resist and overcome the temptation to pity myself. I renounce the habit of self pity that I have allowed myself to live with. I renounce the spirit of heaviness over my life. In Jesus’ Name, I will resist this spirit the moment I recognize his operations against me. Thank you, Lord, that through Your anointing, I am free from self pity. I deliberately receive the garment of praise that You want to give me. I will praise when I am tempted to complain or mourn over my life and situations. I will obey You and let You make me whole.
Is a Life of Wellness possible? Absolutely.
Through Jesus all things are possible!