How to Stop Wallowing in Self-pity? (+5 Telltale Signs)

In this brief guide, we are going to discuss wallowing in self-pity and how to deal with it.

What does “wallowing in self-pity mean”?

“Wallowing in self-pity” refers to feeling excessive pity directed towards oneself.

Extremely exaggerated pity or too much self-indulgence, where one strongly holds the belief that one is a victim of circumstances or other people’s actions is a dangerous feeling, and efforts need to be made to fix it.

Wallowing in self-pity can also be a marker for deeper psychological distress and therefore this thought must be corrected to raise the condition of the person’s mind and spirit.

How is Wallowing in Self-pity a symptom of bigger problems?

Wallowing in self-pity can be a smaller symptom of a bigger problem, like depression or anxiety.

Someone who is scared of bad things happening may constantly have the thought that they don’t deserve good things or other people’s condolences or help.

Additionally, someone wallowing in self-pity excessively may be suffering from low self-worth, and they may be pitying themselves excessively due to that.

Furthermore, wallowing in self-pity may also cause someone to not come out of the sadness they are in, and it may make it much harder to accept any kind of happiness that is actually available to them.

Wallowing in self-pity is harmful

Bad things happen to everyone, it is how the world works, it’s how one chooses to respond that makes them unique and healthy and determines their character and eventual quality of life.

A person can choose to be lazy and wallow in self-pity and experience great sadness, or they can choose to put the loss aside and rise from the ashes like a phoenix and embrace life to its fullest.

Some people have bad luck more so than others and may experience a string of bad situations. In this case, sitting around and wallowing in self-pity solves nothing, instead it hampers growth.

They may wonder why their difficulties are happening to them and why not to others, again, this solves nothing but takes resources away from the individual.

What does Wallowing in Self-pity do?

For one thing, wallowing in self-pity provides you with an unnecessary excuse to not try harder to overcome adversity.

Depression makes you unable to do things in the day to day life, but it is not due to feeling bad for yourself, it’s more due to feeling such intense sadness and misery that you are unable to function.

You may have heard people complaining like, “I want to learn a new language but I don’t have the head for it” or I want to finish my homework but my professor hates me anyway so why bother”.

These excuses do nothing for the individual and keep them from being the absolute best they can be.

Self-pity and Failure

Wallowing in self-pity causes people to compare themselves to other people rather than look at their own previous accomplishments or even assessing their own strengths.

Instead of looking at how smart they are they may see another person and think they will never be as rich as them.

This kind of excuse-making helps no one, and the more one wallows in self-pity, the more sadness they feel, and it becomes a vicious cycle.

5 ways to tell if you are wallowing in self-pity

There are some definite markers of someone that is wallowing in self-pity:

·       You are unable to laugh at your smaller failures or mistakes and find it hard to take your life lightly. It’s important to treat yourself the way you would treat others sometimes.

·       You tend to like when someone sympathizes with you or understands your grievances rather than tell you to try harder. The tendency to seek support all the time can be a telltale sign of wallowing in self-pity.

·       Thinking about the past too much and an inability to focus on the present and especially the future. If thinking about the future makes you feel hopeless and you tend to live in the glory or misery of your past experiences, you may be wallowing in self-pity.

·       People with low self-esteem or low self-worth, in general, have a tendency of wallowing in self-pity more so than others. Also, if your self-esteem and self-worth are low, you may want to assess if you are clinically depressed.

·       If you have a tendency to believe that you don’t deserve the love of your family and friends or that you don’t deserve any praise or commendations, you may be wallowing in self-pity. It may also be stemming from a low sense of self-worth, which is quite closely related to wallowing in self-pity.

Coping mechanisms against wallowing in self-pity

Healthy coping mechanisms to replace the dysfunctional ones you are using may help you to stop wallowing in self-pity so much.

This will eventually be good for you in the long run and bring you true happiness and feelings of joy.

Feeling bad for oneself on occasion is normal, like when one has failed an exam or lost a loved one.

In such cases feeling bad for a while is healthy, but when you wallow in self-pity for every misery-inducing thing in your life, it becomes an unhealthy pattern.

However, sometimes it becomes a habit which could be due to many reasons like to avoid taking responsibility or action or to gain favors.

When you replace this maladaptive coping mechanism of wallowing in self-pity with something healthier like talking to a friend or trying to plan better, you start to see real changes in mood and a definite reduction in misery and sadness.

Other ways to stop wallowing in self-pity

Some other ways to stop wallowing in self-pity are as follows.

Be affectionate and compassionate towards yourself

When something goes wrong or does not go the way you planned it, don’t immediately start jumping into the next thing or trying to put a brave face on.

Instead, allow yourself to be a little sad.

Everyone deserves love, most of all you. You deserve your own love more than anyone else.

Being positive is great, but unnecessarily being positive in the middle of a rough time can lead you to stuff emotion that you should be feeling in a healthy manner down.

This is not a good way to deal for you or for others, because it will all come out at a later time and it will just be really ugly.

Be aware of your emotions and feelings

Being aware of what you are feeling and thinking comes under the practice of Mindfulness.

This practice allows you to be one with your mind and it serves people very well in avoiding self-pity and other negative thoughts.

It also brings about a great reduction in misery and sadness and allows a possibility for Happiness.

Feeling sorry for yourself makes others feel just as much misery as you do while you are doing it, so not wallowing in self-pity might bring about a change in mood for those around you as well.

Don’t be idle or lazy

Do something you love or do something that makes you feel nice in general.

When you stay idle or lazy for too long you’re just creating a breeding ground for unwanted thoughts to run around in your mind.

Make a list of minor things you want to accomplish in the day and accomplish them.

You will notice a major upliftment in mood and you will forget about wallowing in self-pity.

Make personal goals for at least one day out of every week. Don’t forget to commend yourself for doing it too, self-love is key.

Stop asking “Why me”

Changing the question you ask yourself over and over again about why bad things are happening to you or why bad things always seem to happen to you is not doing you any favors.

Not asking “Why me” questions open up the possibility of more positive thinking and allow you to embrace that life can be fair and unfair and helps you assess yourself more objectively.

Furthermore, always asking why I am a potential problem of casting yourself in the victim consistently, and when you call yourself a victim you tend to start acting like one as well.

Stop victimizing yourself

As mentioned above, casting yourself as a victim, or Victim mentality, can be very degrading and often comes about as a consequence 0f self-pitying behavior.

Experts call it a drama cycle and when we choose to blame ourselves for everything, it creates a pattern that can be quite addictive.

The drama cycle can feel good sometimes because as a victim you can expect a savior.

However, this mentality removes you from a position to take responsibility and become your own person,

Getting rid of the victim mentality and drama cycle will eventually get rid of the habit of wallowing in self-pity, and help you find better ways to express sadness and misery due to circumstances.

Am I hurting other people by wallowing in self-pity?

Eventually, people taking care of someone who is always victimizing themselves and pitying themselves will get tired of the burden, because it is very draining to take care of someone who refuses to take care of themselves.

In order to take care of yourself and your loved ones, it is crucial that you try to rectify the maladaptive patterns on behavior that are causing you to wallow in self-pity so often and try to find happiness on purpose rather than waiting for it to happen.

You might actually find that when you start taking better care of yourself those around you also seem happier and less burdened.


In this brief guide, we are going to discussed wallowing in self-pity and how to deal with it.

FAQ: Wallowing in Self-pity

How do I stop wallowing in self-pity?

Try these simple things to stop wallowing in self-pity

·       Give yourself time to recover from setbacks, it may sound weird, but you need to wallow a little in order to not make it a habit.

·       Talk to loved ones. Bottling things up is an easy way to wallowing in self-pity later. Discuss things no matter how bad or embarrassed you may feel about your problems.

·       Do something productive to feel a sense of usefulness.

·       Be proud of your achievements instead of degrading yourself all the time and getting hung up on failures.

·       Try to help others less fortunate than you, and it may bring about a healthy spirit for you as well.

Who indulges in self-pity?

People who are wallowing in self-pity are usually ones suffering from low self-esteem and those who may even be a little bit narcissistic and think they are entitled to the best things and nothing less. They may wallow in self – pity in order to receive attention or sympathy and feel worthy of being treated better than others,

What do you say to someone who is wallowing in self-pity?

You can ask someone who is wallowing in self-pity if there is something you can help at all, or what they might want from you. This may make them think about solutions to their problems instead of wallowing in self-pity and not achieving any results.

How does self-pity manifest?

Self-pity usually manifests as an ideology of being a victim causing the individual to not face their problems. It usually involves the person questioning all bad things that have ever happened to them and not focusing on the good bits.

The person’s perception is narrow, and they are not able to see beyond the bad experiences of the past or their shortcomings.


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