Anger and Self-Pity: The Shortest Road to Misery

Your frequent indulgence in self-pity makes people want to spend more time with you. Not.” This internet meme pretty much encapsulates the state that self-pity can reduce you to. Now couple self-pity with the element mentioned in this statement by Luceus Annaeus Seneca – Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. What this means for you is that one of these is toxic enough by itself, but both together? A quick ticket to the land of misery.


Ah, but who doesn’t like to live there? It may be sad, but it’s safe. There is no failure in this land because there is no need to try. The two corrosive elements that started and speeded you on your journey into this land tell you that it’s not your fault you’re here. You are the unfortunate victim of circumstance, or of somebody being smarter, faster, richer, better-looking or more talented than you.

So you don’t have to try. And since you don’t have to try, you also don’t have to worry about failure. You can sit on that couch, consume all the Doritos you want and moan about how life isn’t fair. And while you’re doing that both anger and self-pity are looking smugly over your shoulder because they have you exactly where they want you – in their clutches.

Anger: Negativity All Round

Of course, we all know that we’ll regret stuff we’ve said when we’re angry. We do. We hurt the ones we care about, all for the sake of letting the darkness out of us. Because most of us are basically decent human beings, we regret the outburst. The regret snowballs into misery and yes – you’re right back in Chateau Misery.

But think about how all that anger affects you. How much energy do you put into it? No wonder you have none left over to do anything but sit on the couch and gripe. After all, all the junk food and drink you just inhaled has to go somewhere. And where does it go? Into maintaining anger.

So you don’t have any energy left over. You can’t get up off that couch. You can’t go for the walk that is sure to reduce the beer belly you’ve been comparing to Fit Frank from next door. And you of course can’t deal with it. So you take it out. Or you keep it in and seethe – continuously.

Self-Pity: The Reason for the Misery

“Why me?” The constant refrain of the self-piteous. It does create a rather attractive state of victimhood, doesn’t it? If you aren’t to blame then none of your circumstances are your fault. Somebody else leads that charmed life, whereas you? You are just hobbled by how unfair life is.

Worse is when you compare yourself to someone around the same age and determine that due to some perceived advantage that they have, you will never be as good. “Oh Steve gets the girls because he’s so ripped.” “Melanie is gorgeous and so never has to worry about being cheated on.” Just a couple of examples to illustrate my point. These charmed people have something you don’t. And since you don’t have it you don’t have to take responsibility for not working towards something better because you can’t – it’s already pre-ordained that you won’t. So, welcome couch!

In the end

It is easy to get lost in the morass of negativity that anger and self-pity create. But you have to decide whether you want out or not. It may seem comfortable there because it’s what you know and you don’t have to worry about failure. But then you never will get to taste success either.


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