I have an older friend, a guy, who is in his forties. I consider our friendship uncommon, as he has a wife and children, and we confide in each other. He is one of the friends who listen to me when I need to talk and unburden my mind, and I do the same for him, sometimes giving him advice. We work well together, but there is something I do not like about my friend: He indulges in self-pity.
There are two sides to pity; the one you have for yourself (self-pity) and the one you have for others. None of them leaves a good taste.
Back to my friend, his indulgence in self-pity leaves him with a wrong sense of entitlement where he rides on his believed impoverished estate. This belief leaves him expecting that anyone and everyone should do something about his situation.
He portrays himself in the worst light possible and hopes that people have pity on him and help him. This happens most times, and he has begun to lose respect in the sight of all these people.
No one likes being with someone who always has a pity party going on, everyone needs some sunshine. When you wallow in self-pity, there is no sunshine in you, just some black hole waiting to suck out someone else's sunshine.
The other side of pity, the one we have towards others might sound innocent and even positive, but it's not.
Here's a thing: pity rarely, if ever, walks alongside respect. I believe that respect is one of the pillars of the best relationships; if it is lost, that relationship is going down.
When we pity others, we rarely see them as equals, we rarely see them as dignified humans. Instead, we tend to see them as a burden, a liability or a charity case. We believe we are doing them some favour, but that is not always the case.
Another friend of mine shared her experience on Facebook. She shared how, when she was younger, her mother would send her to get things from the market. She would get the sick produce and other things she wasn't supposed to get because she pitied the sellers who were usually old women.
As expected, this put her in trouble a lot of times. She revealed that now that she was older, and has learnt to always get the best when she goes to the market. If she can help the seller, she would, while ensuring that what she needs is obtained.
Pity can make you 'help' in the wrong way, thereby shooting yourself in the foot and not helping the other person improve. I could relate to my Facebook friend's narration because I do that too: get something I know is not good, because I want to help and I end up grumbling when it is time to use what I bought.
There are many ways to help people, and the best of them don't come from a place of pity.
When you put pity as the first emotion towards anyone, be it yourself or others, you tend to lose respect for such a one. You tend to see them as mediocre without dignity. You tend to see them as a burden, and that is not a way to feel towards another human.
To avoid pity towards self, always look on the bright side of your life, always focus on what you can do for yourself as opposed to what you can't. Concentrating on your capabilities helps you view yourself in a better light. Even though you might go for help, you don't go there as being helpless, but you go there as someone who needs some extra help.
Self-pity is selfish and addicting and it is not a mindset for winners.
To avoid pity for others, avoid them coming to you as a saviour. Ask them how you can set them up so they can sustain themselves. Ask them what would make them stop depending on you and help them just as much as you can. You can only do as much as you can. If you go overboard, that pity turns to bitterness and anger and then grumbling sets in.
Always try to dignify others. Search for ways to help them stand tall. There is no way this can be done in pity. No way.
Compassion and empathy help you move to help others with the dignity you would have wanted for yourself, and that is what makes them a better option to pity.
Do away with pity for yourself and for others.
Stand up with head held high and do your best. Help others do the same for themselves.
Pity erases respect.
Pity promotes a sense of entitlement.
Pity promotes mediocrity.
Pity can lead to grumbling.
These are dangerous things about pity.