I have an aunt, she is always so sad, even in good times you can see her long face telling you the story of her misery. Often at parties, she will pull one of us aside and the conversation that follows will be something like this:
“I wasn’t gonna come today, but I came anyways, these people have insisted that I must come. But you know what, I am so unwell, I am not able to eat anything, I have gone weak, even dressing for the party was a struggle”
I look at her, she was wearing a heavy silk saree, her hair was done by parlor, perfect makeup, her whole being was screaming that she had taken meticulous care while getting dressed. I sympathized with her, making sad faces, saying words of comfort, making her realize that I understand her plight. But to my horror, I saw her eating a very hearty meal, with all seven courses present. I dismissed the thought and placed my present on the table set up for gifts. She was by my side again.
“You see that gift, that is mine, it’s the smallest one here, but you know what? My husband’s business is not doing so well these days. Hardly any money is coming through, he is struggling so much. I am so tensed, he is under so much stress, I wonder from where will we pay next months bill.”
I was aghast to know that uncle was in a financial fix and was about to go to him and mention some loan schemes when I heard him telling his friends that he just bought a new Altis. My mouth fell open but I had to swallow my anger. Why would my aunt do that? Why will she call herself unwell when she was hail and hearty, why will she tell that uncle was in a financial trouble when his business was thriving manifolds?
The answer was simple, it was the presence of self-pity, to gain sympathy that in turn will lead her to get everyone’s attention, satisfying her narcissistic nature. People like her start to think the whole world should bend to their will and that they deserve everything (because maybe this will finally bring it to them). But just like the self-pitying individual, the narcissist will also find themselves unsatisfied. According to her, whatever she has is never enough, she deserved more, she deserved better.
Narcissism and self-pity are equally extreme and detrimental to one’s pursuit of happiness. Pitying yourself in front of others will only lower your self-worth and self-esteem. It might make you the center of attraction for a short while, but in long term, it will leave a very bad image of you in everyone’s mind.
My aunt needs sympathy but won’t give it to herself, she seeks pity from others by presenting them with all the sad facts they need to feel sorry for her. Those who feel genuinely sorry for themselves don’t need to talk about it. People like her begin to do some self-reflection and they notice the negative effects of their views and beliefs. But, in a fit of desperation, they go to the other extreme and begin to turn selfish and narcissistic.
Remember, you know how to reframe negative self-talk into positive self-talk. You alone have the key to unlocking your pride and honor, and you alone have that power to know, that to love yourself, you are not dependent on pitying yourself and asking other for sympathy.
Stay Proud, Stay Humble!