Monday, January 13, 2014

Three Ways to Defeat Self-Pity in the Pit of Humility

As previously stated, in the lowness of being humbled, my greatest enemy becomes Self-pity.

During the humbling, it SEEMS like the enemy is the pain or whatever is humbling me. But the real enemy is Self-pity which makes me too emotionally weak to handle the physical humility of pain.

So far there are three ways I know of to counterattack Self-Pity.

The first one is drugs. Whether synthetic like prescription anti-depressants or herbal like oils and foods, drugs are a common and popular remedy for Self-Pity.

It's a fallen world and wait till you are brought low; you will see your need for outside help.

Another one is thanking God. There is always something for which to thank Him. If it is true that he gives us grace upon grace, there is some gift, even in the pit. We must become seekers of these gifts so we can be thankful. In the midst of pain, I need to fix my mind on things above that I actually HAVE so that I am not consumed by what I don't have. Specific gifts, like a pillow. Or God's presence. Consciously naming these gifts keeps my mind swimming in what I DO have, thereby keeping me in a state of thankfulness.

You just cannot be thankful and self-pitiful at the same time.

The third counterattack on Self-Pity is company. Not in a "misery loves company" kind of way, where you sit with a friend and complain and wallow and be negative together. I'm talking about people entering into the pit of humility with you in one way or another. Hugs are the fastest way to do this, but sometimes with pain, physical touch can make it worse or more nauseating. One time a friend just held my hand. Another friend just sat in the room with me.

Now being an introvert, I have never craved hugs or company. In fact, I considered those things kind of shallow and unnecessary. I am prone to think, "Leave me alone so I can get through this and get back to you as my strong self again." But God does not leave me unchanged in this pit... Looking back, those times when friends have seen me in pain and just lingered there with me, those were simple yet life-changing moments. They were some of the best (worst) times I have had in the pit. Their encouraging words were heard at the most crucial time, when I was the most vulnerable.

You see, that is just what Love does. He comes down. Right into the muck.

Last month I had some lengthy times in the pain pit, and Shane asked me what I needed most. To my own astonishment, I said, "I just want people to hug me! Just BE with me. But for crying out loud don't just LEAVE me here like this!" (Then I thought, what is happening to me?! And this blog post was born...)

Being humbled, that's what's happening to me. Low to the earth. Humus. Human. I can't believe I'm saying this, but... I need hugs. When someone hugs me, I physically receive love. In that moment, the hugger is physically with me in the low, humilifying pit.

Here is the thing about having company in the pit. Self-pity thrives on aloneness. It tries to get you to say, "No one understands." But in the moment of being hugged, or visited, you are no longer alone in your experience. Someone has chosen to enter that darkness and they have understood -- to an extent -- for a moment. You may feel sorry for yourself, but when a person willingly enters that pit to be with you, you can no longer say, "Poor me. No one understands me."

You can only say, "I am loved, even in this pit."

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