Self-pity makes feel-bad seem feel-good
Normally, when we are in physical pain, we do whatever we can to free ourselves from that pain as soon as possible. While this is a natural behavioral reaction in all living beings for protecting themselves from pain, this is distorted by our mind when we experience pain at the emotional level.
Self-pity is a peculiar emotional state wherein we feel bad and feel good about feeling bad. What that means is we parade our distress to the world and most certainly to ourselves so that our being victimized and traumatized becomes the way we feel good about how bad we feel. Indeed, we humans seem to have a deep-rooted need to complain and to blame. And perversely, doing the things that make us feel victimized and to thereby justify our sorry state is the distressful way we subject ourselves to unnecessary pain.
The Bhagavad-gita (18.35) states that negative emotions such as fearfulness, lamentation and moroseness — all of which are typical of self-pity — characterize a perverse determination afflicted by the mode of ignorance.
Understanding the deadly trap into which we may fall in our mind, knowing that it can become like a black hole to consume our consciousness, we need to ensure that we don’t pseudo-medicate ourselves by feeling good about feeling bad. The best way to protect ourselves is ensuring that we have access to processes by which we can not just feel-good but also become-good. Gita wisdom explains that the all-pure, all-powerful, all-pleasurable ultimate reality, Krishna, is our greatest well-wisher, and we can connect him by the time-tested process of bhakti-yoga. When we habituate ourselves to connecting with Krishna, we get a steady inner shelter t
han enables us to identify outer situations more discerningly and thereby do what it takes to either tolerate or transcend that difficult phase.
Think it over:
- How does our mind make us feel-good about feel-bad?
- How can we deal with the mind’s black hole?
- How can spirituality help us avoid pseudo-medicate ourselves?
18.35 And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness and illusion – such unintelligent determination, O son of Pritha, is in the mode of darkness.
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