Home Mindful Living What if self-pity was a choice?

What if self-pity was a choice?

by Vidya Sury September 19, 2016 18 comments
Self pity is a choice. Why water your weeds? Vidya Sury

There comes a time in your life when you have to let go of all the pointless drama and the people who create it and surround yourself with people who make you laugh so hard that you forget the bad and focus solely on the good. After all, life is too short to be anything but happy.

There are days when my mind feels super-crowded, what with a million things to be done, mingling with thoughts of overwhelm and fatigue. My brain freezes into inaction, with apparently no scope of thawing.

Sometimes I transfer my thoughts, which, these days, usually revolve around my ever-growing (too-much) to-do list, on paper. I jot down multiple lists: work, blogs, home, errands to run outside, book to read and review, craft projects and on and on and on. Then, when I read what I’ve written, I just end up feeling rather victimized. Oh, I know that is a rather strong word—and probably not even the right word, but it did sound very soothing for a moment! Like a big fat sigh!

Then no sooner than have I ticked something off the list and feel like celebrating with a big mug of coffee, than something new comes up, begging to get on that list.

A bit of exasperation sets in.

Do you ever feel like that?

While I love the pressure and am usually overenthusiastic, there are days, especially these days, when I wonder how I am going to tackle it all.

Self-pity has a nice ring and can taste good when one feels overwhelmed. I certainly go through brief phases when I enjoy wallowing in it, just a little.

I then shake myself out of it quickly and turn to my favorite task, which is organizing, and re-organizing my to-do list, as though it will magically change things. It does too, sometimes.

After all, I am quite an expert at managing the list, even though, of late, I am not so great at implementing tasks with the enthusiasm and speed that I once used to be.

Too much digital noise and a sense of feeling suffocated. My mind now wants to spiral down that staircase where, at each step, there’s something to pull me down deeper into that not-very-nice place. I even indulge in feeling a bit sorry for myself when this happens.

Then, just like in the movies, I hear a heavenly voice echoing in my head—I am sure it is my Mom—saying, “Self-pity is a choice”.

That’s the truth.

But you know how truths are.


Especially if you are not in the state of mind to accept them.

“Problems exist only in the human mind.” – Anthony de Mello

Okay, de Mello, you and my Mom both!

My Mom was a firm believer of this. She had a policy which she often thrust at me—and it went something like “If you can identify the problem, you have the ability to find the solution”. Nice attitude for someone who was a teacher for over forty years and greatly adored by all the lives she touched.

Not surprising then, that I turn to her whenever my mind is in slight chaos, because I know that in that direction, I will find sense and sensibility.

My Mom was my best friend, and I cherish our relationship. I miss the wonderful camaraderie we shared as mother and daughter. I smile now to think how very “complementary” we were, to each other. It was probably because she was only eighteen years old when I was born, and the bond became stronger, thanks to her being a single parent.

I get a warm feeling thinking about the little things—the clothes we shared, the argument over who would wear a new sari first. My mind goes all mushy thinking of how we would surprise each other by finishing off chores either of us didn’t quite feel like doing, and then feel thrilled when the other appreciated it.

My Mom had an extra-special way of doing these things. If I did the washing up on a day when she was tired, she’d wake up in the morning and say, “Looks like an angel visited our home. I am making a strong cup of coffee for my favorite angel.”

Yes, I know I meandered a little there, but my Mom is my favorite source of motivation. Sometimes I wonder how she was so good-natured all the time. She did not have an easy life, yet she was constantly cheerful. Considering what she had gone through, anyone else in her situation would have so different, introverted, and complaining. But not my Mom. She simply emerged stronger through her negative experiences.

“What is the point in wallowing in misery,” she would reason.

I’d be crazy not to be inspired by that.

Oh yes, we do live and learn. And I am grateful she passed on much of that strength to me.

People often say that as time passes, the void she left in our lives will heal and fill. Except, I really don’t want that. I cherish all our moments together and appreciate how fortunate I am to have memories that will remain fresh, forever.

I remember her most when my head feels about to burst with all that freakish stuff going on inside. Recalling incidences and happy moments, fills my mind with good thoughts. Slowly, I try to let go of the mental restlessness, and consciously calm my mind.

I know that this too shall pass.

I know that right now, I am in the right place.

I will appreciate it.

I will once again review my daily routine and ensure that I enjoy it.

I will squash that whine before it surfaces.

I will take stock of what matters, what must be done.

I will not agonize over my list.

I will not get tired even before I begin taking action.

I will prioritize, segregate, focus, and get started.

As I finish each item on the list, I’ll strike it off and celebrate, and move on to the next one.

If I cannot finish something, I won’t let it stress me out.

I will set my mind free and embrace myself.

After all, why should I water my weeds?

The time has come in my life when I must let go of all the pointless drama and the people who create it, and surround myself with people who make me laugh so hard that I forget the bad, and focus solely on the good. After all, life is too short to be anything but happy.

Self pity is a choice. So why not let go of the drama?

What do you think? Would you agree?

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Shailaja Vishwanath September 19, 2016 at 8:43 pm

As my dad would say, self-pity is the most useless emotion 🙂 It does nothing for us. It doesn’t allow us to celebrate our differences, our flaws, our shortcomings. The one thing my dad can never tolerate is self-pity. He’d walk away until we got over it and allow us to come to him when we were ready to receive his love and wisdom. I am so glad you decided to bounce back from self-pity and strike it off the list.

Lists are lovely because the good news? They will still be there tomorrow. And so will you <3 Big big hugs to you and of course your amazing mom.
Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…4 Simple Ways to Stop Multi-Tasking

Vidya Sury September 19, 2016 at 11:49 pm

Thank you Shailaja! A big long sigh is as close as I get to self-pity. The concept of wallowing in it is ridiculous 😉 But I really missed chatting with my Mom today, so went with some free writing. Your Dad is wonderful!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Delicious cold pressed juice #KentColdPressedJuicer

Varsh September 19, 2016 at 9:03 pm

It is indeed. We overburden ourselves and then feel sorry for being overworked. We gauge our worth through others’ eyes and then wonder why we aren’t perfect.
Life would be simpler if we thought less of what didn’t happen and focus on what can. Isn’t it? ☺

Roshan R September 19, 2016 at 9:55 pm

I wish I could say I had gotten rid of this demon entirely but it does surface every once in awhile… i cant deny that. I usually look to engage myself in anything – literally anything – so that I can drown out my own voices during those times.
Roshan R recently posted…Can I Convince you to keep this Note in your Wallet?

Vidya Sury September 19, 2016 at 11:25 pm

That is usually the best way, Roshan! I’ve learned to just get up and do something outside or around the house. As my Mum used to say, sigh a little, rant a little and then dust it off and move on! So nice to see you here!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Delicious cold pressed juice #KentColdPressedJuicer

Jen @ thehollyhockdoor September 19, 2016 at 11:03 pm

Lovely post! Such a powerful idea! #mg

Angel Stew & Devil's Brew September 20, 2016 at 12:09 am

I let go of things and sometimes people, daily. I do what I can do and leave the rest to God. Worrying solves nothing, throwing pity parties solves nothing, anger solves nothing. Letting things be and embracing the moment, making that moment whatever you wish it to be. I can do that.

Obsessivemom September 20, 2016 at 9:56 am

Sometime a post is so well-timed that it is just what you need to read. I needed this today. I get sucked into this spiral of self pity somedays. I wish I could tear up the to-do list and do nothing. I end up angry and dissatisfied and I can see how it affects the children. For their sake I need to keep being happy and for my own sake too.
Obsessivemom recently posted…Clearing my head

Vidya Sury September 20, 2016 at 11:07 am

You know what, Tulika? No sooner than I wrote this post, I just set my to-do list aside and lost myself in a book and felt so much better afterwards. Of course I took essential breaks: cooking, sleeping, eating etc etc. – but I realized that what I really needed was to get away from a screen. I felt much happier to return to the list, and was also in a better frame of mind to strike off the things that could be ignored 🙂 Hugs!
Vidya Sury recently posted…What if self-pity was a choice?

Asha September 20, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Agree completely Vidya. Self pity never can get us anywhere other than making us feel even more miserable. Your mom sound like an awesome lady, you are fortunate to have somebody like her in you life !
Asha recently posted…That Day After Everyday

Lisa Pomerantz September 20, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Oh Vidya, it sounds as though your mom was a gift, a gem that you cherish. I feel lucky that you are sharing her thoughts and her wisdom with us, like a mitzvah (a good deed). You came along with this post right when I needed it. Sharing smiles with you my friend. And the beauty of a smile, is their contagion. TY! 🙂 <3 <3 <3 #mg
Lisa Pomerantz recently posted…Swimming Upstream

pranita deshpande September 20, 2016 at 8:35 pm

Vidya you have given very nice message to everyone with your post. & you have changed everyone’s mind set Thanks for nice post. visit my site also.
pranita deshpande recently posted…How To Empower Mind?

upasna September 21, 2016 at 3:23 pm

I stopped making timely to-do lists for myself these days as I was doing the same as you did- self pity followed by stress. I have the things in my list but if I forgot, I do not fret rather wait for next opportunity. This post is must read for all who tend to overburden themselves. Your Mom is a lovely Lady. Memories should stay forver not fade with time -rightly said #mg
upasna recently posted…You can be a writer at Huffington Post

Birgit September 22, 2016 at 4:58 pm

What you wrote here and in other posts are powerful and inspiring. I agree with you because it is a choice. Your mom was one strong lady because it’s hard to do. We think it would be easy but it isn’t and, in fact, it is tempting to wallow in it. If someone calls you on it, you can actually be angry at that person. It’s funny how it works but so true and we have all been guilty of it. We have to learn to change the way we think and these wise words are a start.
Birgit recently posted…Thursday Movie Picks-Teen Angst.

Mackenzie Glanville September 25, 2016 at 11:14 am

I love when you talk of your mum, I can see why you are so amazing and inspirational, you get that from all she has taught you. And now you teach us, your readers. Much love to you xx #mg

Vidya Sury September 25, 2016 at 3:31 pm

Awww thank you Mac! Hugs.
Vidya Sury recently posted…Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

Mindful Leadership December 19, 2016 at 10:50 am

I really enjoyed your article. Just came across this while I was searching for ways to defend self-pity. Self-pity is the worst enemy for women in our society

Vidya Sury December 19, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Thank you! And I love the name of your website! Do keep in touch!♥
Vidya Sury recently posted…A Special Mamaearth Gift for Your Baby #Giveaway #MamaKnowsBest


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