In his critically acclaimed book Dance Dance Dance, my all-time favorite existentialist author, Haruki Murakami-sensei, asserted that “some folks get upset seeing miserable examples of humanity.” He was never more correct – at least in so far as my context is concerned.
I happen to be one of those folks.
There are many non-selfish people out there but that doesn’t mean they cannot prioritize their dreams and necessities when the situation calls for it. One thing I cannot swallow, however, is the presence of miserable people who refuse to get out of the rut they chose for themselves.
If it carries on too long, I become annoyed at people who wallow in self-pity. My blood boils every time someone bothers me in the middle of the night, desperately seeking for emotional advice, and when I offer one in good faith, I’m told: “You do not know what it feels like to be in my shoes.” Of course, no one can be 100% certain of anyone or anything, but we all have an inkling of what others are going through particularly if they’re the ones who willingly exposed themselves.
Okay then. If you want to dig your own grave, suit yourself.
Isn’t it ironic how people seek advice even though they have no intention of parting with their pain? There’s no overnight cure to the “stains on your soul” but won’t you at least make an effort to explore the brighter side of life? Do you enjoy being in pain so much?
A Whole New Level of Selfishness
So here’s my conclusion and you enablers and condoning folks can throw pebbles and boulders at me for all I care: SELF-PITY IS SELFISHNESS. Yep, a great way to destroy the essence of your being.
Why? Let us enumerate the reasons:
- Because you’re so caught up in your pain, you forget there are people everywhere who are suffering more than you are. Your boyfriend dumped you and that’s certainly painful. However, if you continue to grieve over your failed relationship even after 3 months, then what does that make a person with cancer? Is a broken heart more painful than a life that’s hanging by a thread? What about parents who have to struggle everyday just to put food on their family’s table? Think about it. Seriously.
- You’re basically inconveniencing loved ones. It’s normal to cry and be sad over something. But it’s never normal to overdo it. Yes, different people have different coping mechanisms but if you go to extremes such as not eating for days, attempting suicide and drinking alcohol day in and day out, you ultimately become a bothersome individual who worries parents and friends, making them feel inadequate because no amount of understanding and tender loving care could calm or comfort you. Spare a thought for them too, why don’t you?
- It’s a repetitive cycle but no one seems to have learned a lesson. There are so many cases of suicide and stories that more or less reflect the problems and negative circumstances we constantly encounter. Who hasn’t been depressed? Who hasn’t lost a friend, family or lover? Who hasn’t failed? Who hasn’t been shamed or bullied? You know for a fact that it’s not just you. You are well aware that what you’re experiencing now has also been experienced by thousands – even millions – of people everywhere. So why do we glorify our miseries like it’s the first time we’ve ever been miserable? There are no simple answers to such questions but you get my drift.
How to Deal with the Propensity to Exaggerate Pain
If you’re still grieving and would need some time to “stabilize” then do not bother people. They too have issues you know nothing about. Deal with your pain silently and thoroughly without dragging others down. It will be over before you know it.
How about we take a leaf out of Murakami-sensei’s book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and start adopting a more sensible method of dealing with pain? As the author bluntly puts it:
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you think, ‘Man, this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The ‘hurt’ part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand anymore is up to the runner himself.”
And the brutally candid Mr. Stephen Fry would like to add insult to injury so if you’re thick enough, read his words at your own peril:
“Certainly the most destructive vice if you like, that a person can have. More than pride, which is supposedly the number one of the cardinal sins – is self pity. Self pity is the worst possible emotion anyone can have. And the most destructive. It is, to slightly paraphrase what Wilde said about hatred, and I think actually hatred’s a subset of self pity and not the other way around – ‘ It destroys everything around it, except itself ‘.
Self pity will destroy relationships, it’ll destroy anything that’s good, it will fulfill all the prophecies it makes and leave only itself. And it’s so simple to imagine that one is hard done by, and that things are unfair, and that one is underappreciated, and that if only one had had a chance at this, only one had had a chance at that, things would have gone better, you would be happier if only this, that one is unlucky. All those things. And some of them may well even be true. But, to pity oneself as a result of them is to do oneself an enormous disservice.
Need I say more?
Well I can only tell you to get over yourself if you can help it.
Even Jigglypuff agrees with me. 🙂