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Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself

It can be a constant "dark cloud" that you never realized could be influencing your daily life or future – maybe even since you were a child. Feeling sorry for yourself is a habit that can  create gloom in your life; but it doesn't need to be there.

Consider this: As a child you had to stay in to do your homework while all your friends were outside playing. You've been told you must do your homework first. In that child's mind you're missing out – feeling deprived and that it's not fair. Your next thought might be "Why me?" This is an example of feeling sorry for yourself.

Consider another example. Your friends go to the movies, but you're not allowed to, can't afford it, or have no transportation. The whole situation seems overwhelming. You start to think, "I'm never lucky" or "All my friends are doing it!" There's that dark cloud again, hovering over you whether you realized it or not.

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Picture of a woman sitting on a park swing alone
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While that dark cloud can lead to sadness, placing undue blame, and feeling resentment, you don't have to live with it. You can choose to change this negative thought pattern and make sunshine instead of finding clouds.

Consider these alternative thoughts: Luck has nothing to do with this situation. If everyone has to do homework, then it is fair. If I can't go out today, perhaps I will over the weekend.

Feeling sorry for yourself quickly becomes a habit. It's natural to try to assign blame or make sense of a situation. It's like a puzzle your mind wants to finish. Unfortunately it often ends up with disappointment in oneself.

Let's look at one more example. You're carrying all the groceries into the house and wonder why no one comes to help. "Can't they see I need help?" That's the beginning of poor me thinking. It's that dark cloud again.

Maybe you're assuming everyone can see that you have a lot of groceries to  bring in. But maybe they haven't seen you. Maybe they want to help, but are in the middle of something important. Dare to question your thoughts!

Have you ever seen people smiling even though you know they have a hard life? Have you  ever wondered how or why they seem so happy in the face of what they're  dealing with? The answer is that they've found inner peace, a happiness that from the outside seems so natural and easy to come by. Maybe it's time to give yourself permission to feel that way also.

First, recognize that dark cloud so you can push it away. This is key. You can't fight back against something if you don't recognize its presence. Consider your situation in a new and positive light. Choosing homework over recreation for example becomes an achievement, possibly leading to an A on your report card. That's something that that other person may not be  able to enjoy. You can also remind yourself that going shopping or hanging out at a mall can always be done another time. It's not imperative to go right now. The mall will still be there next week, but by then it may be too late to pass your test. It takes effort to focus and redirect your thoughts, but reaching a new attitude will bring about a new you and put aside that poor me attitude.

The second step is perhaps the most important. Count your blessings each day. There are things that you have that others do not. So many people are not happy, but you can be. If you'll take the time to look you'll find your very own blessings. You may not have one thing that someone else has, but you likely have plenty of blessings of your own.

Before you know it things will start to change and other people may be comparing themselves to you. These two simple steps may take time and  practice, but they can make a world of difference. Decide that you're worth it and that you deserve to be happy.

Written by guest author: Susan Davis

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