9 Steps to Overcome Self-Pity

We all have certain areas that are prone to self-pity. Those are usually the areas we can grow in the most, but self-pity will keep us from it.

This article is intended for those who really want to take their life back and manifest change. Self-pity triggers whenever a challenge in our life seems to be too much or we feel a victim to our circumstances. It will take a strategic plan of action to break free.

1. Ask the honest question, do I really want to be well?

Do I really want to be free?

Can I see myself living a life without this baggage?

What are the ramifications of me living a healed life?

What does life look like if I don’t feel sorry for myself?

Only you can answer this question, because at the end of the day, only you can kick out the toxicity of self-pity.

2. Honestly recognize where self-pity kicks up the most.

Self-pity wants to keep you trapped in certain patterns of your past. It wants to take your past and follow along at every stage of your present and future.

No games here. No more blaming others for your life. Yes, what they did was wrong. It affected you greatly, but you are now going to take your life back.

Start seeing the landscape of your life. Take note where self-pity has overridden your ability to hear from God or see situations better. Do you have the courage to admit where self-pity has had its way in your life in certain areas? It’s important that we honestly recognize where these strongholds are in operation. Do an honest assessment, not in guilt, about where this is affecting you.

3. From this day forward, take full responsibility for your life and growth.

By definition, a person in self pity can not and will not accept responsibility for their own life. Someone else must be responsible. (Or some errant part of me.) This in itself leads to a host of problems too numerous to go into here. Also, pity separates you. It separates you from yourself, from other people, from your world, and from your power. Pity is an enemy of choice. It’s hard to make choices when you’re filled with pity. And when you do choose, those choices lack any kind of strength. Very little changes when you’re in pity. ~ Mark Ivar Myhre

No matter what has happened, we cannot place our destiny in the hands of our circumstances or another person’s choices. An overcomer recognizes that his ability to choose is in front of him every day. You and I always have the ability to choose, especially what our attitude is going to be.

Letting go of the Story

Taking responsilbiity for our life means we have to let go of the story that we keep replaying, which tells the tale of why we cannot grow, change or break free. A new story needs to replace that old story, one that provides hope and a future filled with the possibilities that we can live transformed and well.

This can only be done when you take personal responsibility for your freedom. Victors have the mindset of “no one can want change for me more than I do.” Period.

Taking responsibility to change our story looks much like the following poem:

Autobiography Of My Life In 5 Chapters

Chapter 1.
I walk down the street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost…..I am hopeless
It’s not my fault, so I don’t take responsibility.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2.
I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I pretend I don’t see it
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place
But it’s not my fault or responsibility.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3.
I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I see it is there.
I still fall in……it’s a habit
My eyes are open. I know where I am
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4.
I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I walk around it.

Chapter 5.
I walk down another street.

Copyright (c) 1993, by Portia Nelson from the book There’s A Hole in My Sidewalk.

4. Break agreement with self-pity.

Breaking agreement is the work of repentance. It means we are turning from one way of thinking and into a new way of thinking. It’s a 180-degree move in thought and action.

In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, the word used for comfort is the same word that is used for repent. It speaks of having a sigh of relief. That’s what true deliverance does; it brings relief, allowing us to stop thinking in self-pity and to view life as a victor. The comfort of God comes in through repentance to relieve us of that which torments us. But remember, no one can take this self-pity off of us. It must be repented of and removed ourselves. This puts change into our hands and takes the power away from the traumas of the past.

In order to allow repentance to have its full work, we have to be willing to leave self-pity as a comforter for good. Self-pity can actually hinder godly repentance, because it likes keeping us in neutral. It creates a resistance to repentance because it always blames everything on life not being fair. Self-pity says that God is not good, yet the Bible says that a revelation of the goodness of God will lead us to proper repentance. (Romans 2:4)

5. Renounce living as a victim.

This can be a tough one for some, but when you are fighting for your life, you will have to take drastic measures for freedom. When you renounce, you are making a formal declaration of your heart’s intent to get out of living as a victim to life.

This has to be done out loud with your mouth. Your body and the spiritual world needs to know you mean business by hearing you declare your intent with authority.

I cannot do this for you and God cannot move your mouth for you. When I minister to people in one-on-one settings, I will have them stand up and make new declarations out of self-pity. It is the greatest way to remove the blockage. When we renounce self-pity, we are saying:

Today I renounce that I am not a victim!

I renounce thoughts that God is not with me, He has left me or He has bailed out on me!

I refuse to live as a victim any longer!

Life will no longer just happen to me. I will happen to life!

I renounce loathing in self-pity!

I renounce feeling sorry for myself!

I will not be a victim to circumstances any longer!

I will not base my happiness on what is happening around me!

Stand up tall, look in the mirror and declare these with confidence. Even if you feel like you don’t mean it at first, I often find we sometimes have to “fake it til we make it.” Many times our words need to lead us into where we want to be.

You may be surprised to witness the power when you connect to what the declaration is saying. On one of my older teaching recordings, I had everyone in the room stand and yell out “I am not a victim anymore!” I have received so much feedback for how that one simple exercise set people free, empowering them to overcome.

The power of your mouth needs to be taken back, so that you can speak those things which breathe life and hope. Self-pity taught us to use our mouth to complain or project doom and gloom. God teaches us to use our mouth to speak life about those things which redeem and bring possibilities into every circumstance.

6. Let Go of the negative past that keeps replaying.

This starts by forgiving those who have mistreated you and left you feeling like a victim. We must disconnect ourselves from the poison of past hurt by forgiving those who have wronged us or did not love us properly. If we hold onto the grudge and refuse forgiveness, then a spiritual umbilical cord is still connecting us to that person and the garbage of the enemy. Ultimate forgiveness heals us and releases us to move on without the poison and baggage.

As a note of help, do not expect the complete feeling of release to come as you start forgiving. Do it because you know it is right. The feelings will begin to follow as you lead your heart towards forgiveness. Self-pity keeps us chained to what people did to us. Forgiveness begins to shut down that voice and takes our view off of the rear view mirror of pain.

God’s true love will come and heal, leading us towards moving forward in wholeness. In doing this, you may need to process through anger that you have had towards God, feeling He left you hanging or did not pull through when you needed Him. This is important, because we need to establish our walk with God based on a strong foundation of His love, or else we will forever question His motives and wonder where His presence is.

7. Embrace the habit of gratitude and thanksgiving.

If you want to know one of the quickest ways you can turn around from self-pity, it’s by becoming grateful.

Self-pity teaches us to become mired with ingratitude and complaining. Its focus is on everything that can and could go wrong, while fueling it with negative complaining all the time.

It is so much easier to walk through adversity when you have a grateful heart. I have told people for years, a grateful heart can never be defeated…ever! A believer’s life will never be absent of problems. The oppositions and trials of life do not get easier, but we can get stronger. We gain strength by learning to have gratitude in all things.

We are all going to have to deal with trouble at some point. We can’t get around it. So why not decide to go through it with a grateful heart and a good attitude? With self-pity, you lose every time. With gratitude, you win no matter what happens around you!

8. Take action to cultivate a new lifestyle.

This can encompass a number of things. I know breaking out of self-pity in my life needed a whole new ordering to my day, so I looked over my day and imagined a life without self-pity. What I saw I put into action.

I actually needed some personality restructuring. Many times self-pity can condition areas of our personality in ways that keep us from joy, calling it melancholy, moody or PMS. Most self-pity addicts need a personality makeover, with a new inclusion of joy!

This does not mean we ignore our pain. It means we don’t wear our pain as our favorite coat. Paul said it best, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 KJV). I love his expression. He didn’t deny the problems, like so many Christians do. He was well aware of the obstacles in his life. He faced them head on, but with a heart that allowed the healing power of God to take what the enemy would use against him for evil, to a place of empowerment and strength.

9. Seek to Grow in Every Situation

Instead of asking God to rescue you out of every trouble, seek to grow up and out of those circumstances.

One of the hooks self-pity latches on to is when your circumstances don’t seem to change. This can be very subtle, because most progress in life is gradual, and self-pity does not allow you to see the incremental steps you’ve made. The focus is on what has seemingly not happened.

When things don’t seem to change, my focus has become for God to change me, no matter what. I made a decision that if finances, friendships, opportunities and results don’t change the way I think they should, I am still going to grow.

I have made the decision that I am going to grow no matter what. At the end of the day, to the best of my ability, I need to be OK with myself, God and my neighbor! In this, I become my own biggest encourager. I move from loathing on myself to loving myself properly and letting God’s hope rest on my heart.