Tag Archives: self-pity

A Tale of Self-Pity and Compassion

I woke up at four a.m.

Fifth morning in a row.

My little daughter had a fever.


This meant no day care for her, no working for me and a dilemma of how to get firstborn to and from school.

My husband sent me the following picture from his trip to Cape Verde, where he is, alone.

Cape Verde, detail, by Engineer.
Cape Verde, detail, by Engineer.

My to do list is two pages, written with font 10.

Do I manage to convey the enormity of my pity party this morning, at all?

The icky, slimy bug of self-pity started hissing in my ear. Thought by thought, my energy faded away. Powerlessness started seeping into my muscles. My ability to receive any nourishment from interactions with my kids or with my friends and family started receding, until I could feel the slippery frosting of self-pity, coating me from head to toe.

Now, rationally I know self-pity is an attempt to defend myself against overwhelm, expectations and demands. On an emotional level, it’s another story.

The thing is, while self-pity may feel like relief, or like self-love – it’s anything but. It shifts the locus of power on the outside of ourselves, puts us in the back seat of our lives.

Of course, the row of set backs continued. My friends couldn’t help with getting firstborn to school, the taxi driver was rude, there was less money on my account than I remembered, my website crashed… It wasn’t until I had sent my website provider an e-mail to ask for help, and they responded they couldn’t and I just had to google the answer, that I remembered Veronica Torres’ tool: “How ridiculous does it have to get?”.


What else would have to happen, until I took responsibility for my own thoughts and feelings.

Ah, well. I asked myself what would take me closer to self-compassion and loving myself in the moment. After a shower, a glass of water and a loving discussion with my daughter, I came back to the computer and easily updated the theme of my website. Now she’s sleeping and I’m feeling happy for the frolicking Engineer again.

I drew this picture to remind myself that there is a better way than self-pity. What would take you one step closer to self-love and self-compassion today?

Self-pity is not your friend, by Marie D. Tiger 2014.
Self-pity is not your friend, by Marie D. Tiger 2014.





Letting Go of Self-Pity

Self-pity, thought book 2013, by MDT.
Self-pity, thought book 2013, by MDT.


The one thing that has kept me from loving myself, creating what I dream of and being the person I want to be, more than anything else, is self-pity. Breaking up with drama was almost impossible while I was holding on to the pacifier of self-pity. I’m that good at pitying myself. The way this has worked for has been something like this: Because I’ve been so brave and _________________ (fill in the blank), now I can _________________________ (over eat, shop like crazy, be curt to my husband, yell at my kids or alternatively not go out for a run, ignore my budget, not take care of myself, not go writing). Self-pity always led me to the worst decisions, short term relief and long term grief.

The tricky thing is, self-pity is a [dysfunctional] self-soothing mechanism, which is why I and we all fight so hard to keep it, when someone tries to get us to quit. These days, I always know I’ve had a relapse, when my husband asks me: “What do you need now?” and instead of feeling an answer arise, I feel the impulse to snap at him like a huge crocodile. I’m still not an evolved enough person to behave graciously in that situation. But I do know that self-pity arrives when I start compromising my boundaries.

It is easier to give in to self-pity than it is to ask: “What do I need now?” and be compassionately present with the answers. It is easier to act on self-pity than to do some real self-care and go for a run, or take a nap, or listen to a mindfulness recording, or pay all the bills we can and ask for more time on those we can’t.

Letting self-pity go requires that we take responsibility of our power to create and how we can learn to use it with more awareness, in our inner world and our outer world.

What is your relationship to self-pity?

Ugly Self, I Love You

When a change looms ahead
and I feel the impatience-beetles
crawl under my skin
Entertain thoughts about moving
to LA, Bern, Edinburgh.
Meet an exciting man
build an exciting life.
Finally start the life I was
supposed to have
all the time.
But can’t because….

So I start following the clues
of self-pity.
When I find the end thread, I start pulling it
although it makes me gag.
(which is why I hid it in the first place)

I know I know I know (I hope I hope I hope)
that is where the strength and perseverance
is buried.
It is always
in the lies I tell myself
that the greatest treasure is to be found.
Authenticity is what makes my soul smile
and skin tingle.
This is why my lies are slippery
disguised as goodness and humility
or as weakness and fragility.

I love you, my Ugly Self.
When you come home
I’m that much less perfect
and this much more real.

Self-Pity in the Morning

Self pity
the root of all illness.
Attacks me early in the morning
and suddenly the world is filled with idiots,
they are all out to get ME,
my work sucks not to mention the work mates,
or my studies.
Art is just too hard and I’ll never succeed at it.
better not try.
and poetry –
just a goddamn yakking about things that
can’t be changed.
Change is impossible and everyone advocating it is
a liar, a fraud, and an imposter.

My antidote to your advice
is raw humor.
My mother is a beautiful drunk with

an amazing voice.
I love her.
Yeah, the kind that’s sand in your teeth.
But one pebble of sand can make a pearl,
and with all of this
fucking sand,
I’ll be a rich woman
when the pearls start dropping from my mouth.

And if mother ever learns to laugh again,
she’ll be the richest of us all.

Rush on, Tiger!

I opened all the doors
to let the stale air out.
The tiger awakened.
In a few years she grew
from a wild pup
to a calm[ish] adult
with awesome power.
Anger bursts out
scraggly and BANG
helps me carve out boundaries
from the marble of emotion.
It is the bitter roots
of cold hurt
that I want to get rid of.
The roots are buried deep
within my intestines.
Fat, white, shiny roots with small hooks
for better hold.