If you're facing challenging circumstances, feeling sorry for yourself is not only understandable but an important part of the healing process. It's when you use it as a crutch in the face of the everyday challenges that everyone else has to deal with too that you'll find your motivation bleeding away like it took a bullet in the jungles of 'Nam.
And once you've taken that bullet, it's hard to ... return to the country that sent you overseas and recover from the shock of how much the times have changed? Or maybe it's really you that's changed, and ... ugh, this is a terrible metaphor and I'm going to drop it now. The point is that once you fall into that rut it can be difficult to get yourself out. You know that change would almost certainly make your life happier, but change is scary even when it's good.
That fear is, as David Wong wrote, part of what prevents us from becoming better people. Self-pity is as reliable as a beloved dog, if that dog was secretly plotting to eat you. Misery offers routine, the same feelings and bad habits every day (if you're not trying to improve your own life, there's a lot of spare time for drunk Halo marathons). You don't have to deal with rejection, or the fear of failure, or other scary new emotions. You don't have to apply yourself, account for your own failings, or look at other people fairly. Self-pity's like a cozy blanket you can wrap yourself in to keep warm, except the only reason you're cold in the first place is because you're insisting on sitting outside naked in the snow.
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Then, at night, the frost spiders come.
Happiness, despite what Bobby McFerrin taught us, is tricky. I couldn't really tell you why I often feel lousy despite the fact that I now live in a solid-gold mansion and sleep in a solid-gold bed with women I've painted gold. Meanwhile, my gold polisher is the happiest man in the world, and I pay him in counterfeit reichsmarks. Many people who are chronically miserable never seek treatment, even though achieving happiness became one of life's main goals after America invented it. I don't know why this is, but I can tell you that feeling too sorry for yourself for too long can send you down a dark path that leads to nothing but misery. Oh, and wacky fart noises.
You can read more about wacky farts at Mark's website.
For more from Mark, check out 5 Things People Don't Understand About Only Children and 5 Everyday Groups of People Society Says It's OK to Mock
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