Getting Out of Emotional Spirals

Years ago I loved watching a television show by British adventurer Bear Grylls, star of Man vs. Wild. In this TV series, he would confront certain elements in nature and show the viewers how to survive the most demanding of circumstances. In one of my favorite episodes, he demonstrated to the viewer how to escape if one is ever found trapped in quick sand. I went onto my computer, searched all the online references I could find and they all confirmed what he demonstrated.

As I watched Mr. Grylls demonstrate the precise technique to getting out of quick sand, something leaped up in my thinking: Sinking in quicksand is the same thing as feeling sorry for yourself. What quicksand does is what self-pity will do to you. 

A Counterfeit Coping

Self-pity is the quicksand of hell, but it can be hard to notice at first.

Everyone reading this has gone through some form of struggle and disappointment. Things get hard, with no immediate answers that will fix everything.

In the shadows of this heart-ache, self-pity comes in when we feel like no one is comforting us. We even believe the lie that God is not comforting us, so self-pity comes as a counterfeit to get us to feel sorry for ourselves. We believe the thought that says, “if no one will have pity on me, then I will have pity for myself.”

The problem is that when you enter this way of thinking, you sink further into your all your pain and struggles.

Self-pity will keep you from seeing hope or being able to access encouragement. It will block you from healing and from being delivered in any area of your life. It takes a handful of battles and then hits a domino effect to make it seem like EVERYTHING is going wrong.

Getting Free from Quicksand and Self-Pity

I noticed the steps in getting free from quicksand is the same in getting free from self-pity. I have listed the steps below with my own thoughts added.

1. Remain calm. (This is always helpful.) 

2. Shed excess weight. (Whatever spirals you or keeps you in self-pity.) 

3. Keep as still as possible until your feet touch solid ground. Most patches of quicksand are only knee deep. If you start going deeper than your thighs, lay back so that you will float better on the top of the quicksand. (Get some grounded thinking that is solid and steady. Gratitude, thanksgiving, love, peace, hope are examples of some.) I have found that thanksgiving is the greatest antidote to self-pity. 

4. Get out with slow, deliberate motions. This is very hard work! Extracting yourself from a larger patch of quicksand can take hours. (It is hard work getting out of self-pity and victim living. Take one step at a time and be determined to get free. No one can want this more than you.) 

5. Work towards the next known bit of solid ground. (One step of truth at a time. You may need to move back to the last things you know God showed you. Be obedient to that.) 

6. Pull yourself out. Once you’ve reached solid ground, pull yourself out of the mess. (God gives us what we need. People can encourage you. But at the end of the day, you have to pull yourself out of this mess! You can do it!) 

Question: Is feeling sorry for yourself keeping you from your next level of freedom?

The outline on how to get free from quicksand was from