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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Say No to Woe

We’ve all heard the phrase “Woe is me.” It’s so easy to sink into self-pity, and blame the world for all your problems. Large people definitely aren’t the only ones to fall prey to the lure of self-pity, though. I know plenty of people – some of them skinny as toothpicks – who have embraced self-pity and who have even devoted their lives to it.

I know a guy who’s in his late 50s. He has never had a girlfriend (and adamantly states he has never wanted one, will never want one, and no, he is not gay), has never left home, and has no friends. He works a menial job as a security guard, despises it, and feels it is beneath him. Yet he does nothing to change his situation. He feels that it is him against the world. The sad thing is that he is quite intelligent. He’s a little odd and could definitely use some social skills, but with some help and an attitude change, his life could be a whole lot better. He insists there is nothing wrong with him. He feels that he is perfect the way he is -- it’s the world that needs changing, not him – and that he will be the way he is until he dies. He will, too.

I know a woman who’s very similar. She’s in her late 40s, has never left home or had a real job, also has no friends, has only had one boyfriend, and that was about 30 years ago. She walks around with a floaty look on her face, as if she is another world, even when she is right in front of you. She never wants to talk about anything meaningful, and her life revolves around her elderly mother and doing chores around her house. She is also extremely afraid of, and resistant to change, and she will also be this way until she dies.

These people are both bone-thin.

Self-pity is a gigantic waste of time. I remember reading a quote somewhere that said pity is actually just a form of contempt, and I totally agree with that. Have you ever been pitied, and felt that quasi-sympathy from someone? That’s exactly what it is. When someone pities you, what they’re actually saying is: “Poor you. Too bad you can’t be like me. Thank God I’m not you.”

Turn that around: When you wallow in self-pity, you’re actually displaying contempt for yourself. You believe that you’re so hopeless you can’t do any better, that your life will never improve, and that you don’t have what it takes to change what’s bothering you or holding you back.

Why would you want to believe that? How can that possibly serve you?

One of my spiritual mentors, therapist Dr. David Viscott, said that hope is a killer. Hope is a wasted emotion because hope is just a belief. Hope implies that you are just sitting around, hoping for something to happen … but if you don’t get off your ass and take some action in conjunction with your thoughts, what good are they? Nothing is going to change or happen the way you want it to if you don’t take action.

A lot of us large people fall into the trap of sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves. Don’t do it. It is a huge, colossal waste of time. That doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to feel emotions. You can be sad about something, or feel lonely, or unappreciated, or ignored, and it’s okay to feel the feelings that go along with them. But don’t adopt them as your persona, and devote your life to being the one who got left behind.

It just isn’t worth it.

Mourn, grieve, rage, cry, shout, scream … do whatever you have to do to express those strong emotions (preferably in a safe, private way). But then get on with it. Take action. Nobody knows exactly what will make you happy better than you do. You know what you have to do … you know what needs to be done.

Don’t waste your life being one of those people everyone else feels sorry for.


  1. make me a sandwich pleaseAugust 9, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    adam faith was on parlophone records you learn something every day

    i dont know if is the way these people can cope with their lives its ok you cant force people to change the only people who could stand them are people like themselves opposites attract is bullshit people want to see themselves in the people they love change into me or else

    when you were talking about this gentleman i thought it was me self comtempt and hating everything until it gets homicidealy and suicidingly boring is how i cope its too late for me to change i didnt have the energy 30 years ago i sure as shit aint got it now

    apple is now the biggest company by value in the usa passing exxon mobil for pityes sake a tech company the iphone ipad ipod iupyourass
    people i feel depressed again

  2. Anyone can change if they really want to, and that is not just a meaningless cliche, it is completely true. It doesn't matter how old you are either. You always hear stories about people in their 70s or 80s going back to school or getting married ... obviously they decided their lives weren't over just because of their age.

    Choosing to do nothing is a choice. It's everyone's right to make it, but it is a choice. I don't understand people who are in that mindset because I have always been a fighter. But I respect everyone's right to run their own life the way they want to. I just think it's sad.

    And I totally agree with you: That opposites attract thing is total bullshit. If you want a harmonious relationship, stick to someone whose beliefs and values are similar to your own. Big lesson learned, for me.

  3. looks like jennifer anniston in the picture... why me why beautiful gorgeous me why brad why i know you are much pettier than me whats that bitch got that i havent my ass isnt that big thats no reason to leave... its not nice to sneer i know but i cant help it these people have no idea about real life could they live on less than ten million a year...i couldnt force myself to go see the tree of life because of bradd pitt and sean penn those two make me sick