This past week I was at a church event and one of the participants seemed to, during an important segment, talked about how much of “hard life” this person had. This person didn’t just say it once, but noted it again, and again, and again, during this person’s single moment of speaking. Needless to say, I was rather annoyed by just being there.
Whenever I went into a stage of self-pity living at home, I had a decent enough father (back then) to wake me the up out of that bologna. He would remind me by saying “Nobody likes a pity party.” That has always stuck with me and so I find any form of wallowing to be extremely uncomfortable. And when other people get into that stage of awful self-pity, I much prefer to pick up my things and say, “Ciao!”
There is nothing less attractive in personality traits than engrossed self-pity (it’s not effective at all), because it saps the energy out of a room and brings the cheer of the entire room down to the depths of despair. As Robert A. Fryling says in “The Leadership Ellipse: Shaping How We Lead by Who We Are”:
The most obvious reason seems to be that self-pity is so unattractive and debilitating that we don’t even want to associate it with leadership. It is like a contagious disease that we don’t want to get near. Self-pity falls into the category of sniveling, of whining, of cowardliness, and any other pejorative characteristic that defines people who can’t lead. We are embarrassed to it or be identified with it. Self-pity is just not something we associate with leadership, and it even symbolizes the antithesis of a leadership that is bold, sacrificial, visionary, and confident.
“I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.” ― D.H. Lawrence, The Complete Poems