Awakened Recovery - Self-Pity
We all have a different journey and a different path. There are some similarities that we all share and some things we all have in common with each other. I have always said we are on our own journey and as we cross paths with each other it’s our duty to not only help those we meet, but it is also our duty to learn from every individual we meet. Therefore, while I looked back on my time from jail to rehab, I wanted to find some of the main points that I came up with that have helped me obtain and sustain a beautiful recovery. The first one I want to discuss, which I have not been shy to talk about in the podcast and past blogs is, “Self-Pity”. In the next 3 blogs I will discuss the other points, as I feel like it is important to spend some time on each of them.
When I was laying in jail this flood of guilt and shame smacked me in the face like an angry girlfriend who just caught you cheating. I could literally feel it in my heart and bones. The gigantic list of messed up things and mistakes I have made, pre and active addiction, were the only things I could manage to keep in the forefront of my thinking. A failed marriage, the lying, stealing, and manipulating, where exactly was I supposed to start in order to get over these things. I knew I had to learn self-compassion, self-love, and self-forgiveness, in order to accomplish anything, but where exactly does one start on this introspective expedition?
The further I investigated self-pity the more I realized that there is absolutely nothing good that can come from its prison. It keeps you chained to the ground and it keeps you looking at the world through a lens of expectation, as if everyone and everything owes you something. I believe you can find or create something positive out of anything and everything in the world except for self-pity. As I started paying attention to the constant bombardment of the negative “poor me” and “I’m not good enough” thought track, I realized that this became habitual from constantly thinking like that. And if this was a learned way of thinking it can also be an unlearned way of thinking. I started to notice how I was talking to myself; when I would knock over a glass of water, I would observe myself saying things like “Sean, you idiot” or “Sean you’re so stupid”. Although there are lots of times when we say these things in a “joking’’ manner, the fact of the matter is when we continuously talk to ourselves like this our ego will start to identify with these adjectives. When our ego starts to identify with this language, we start believing it, and when we start believing it, well, we start living it. So I started stopping as soon as I caught myself in this negative track of thinking and telling myself, “you may have done some messed up things but you still deserve love, you still deserve acceptance, and you still deserve forgiveness.” I would swap my learned negative thinking for some positive thinking. It sounds so simple but when you have many years of trained negative thinking this task can prove to be challenging.
As I continued doing this, I found the time between stopping myself, in negative thinking and switching it to positive thinking, got shorter and shorter. When it started it may have been days before I stopped myself, then hours, and now minutes. It just takes constant awareness and discipline to keep yourself from the darkness of self-pity. It is so important that we our constantly reminding ourselves that we deserve love, acceptance, and forgiveness. When you start feeling like life is unfair and that you were dealt a bad hand always remember, if you are in that state of mind nothing can or will be changed. Self-pity is the blinder that keeps us from seeing the light in every situation, and when we cannot see the light we cannot grow. Blogs are far too short to give you all the answers. The point of this blog is to get you to at least start being aware of how you hold conversations in your head. Start paying attention at every possible moment. Pay attention to the names and phrases you use when you describe yourself. When it is just you and there is nobody else around, what are you saying to you? Show yourself some love. Show yourself some patience. Show yourself some forgiveness. Do not let self-pity keep you from seeing all the beautiful qualities, characteristics, and traits you have. Break down the walls in the prison you have put yourself in and start changing the world.