Questions about Self-Pity


I am carrying some very heavy crosses right now. I have lost alot and other things. How do I know when I am feeling sorry for myself vs being deeply sad and emotional? It has only been a few months since tragedy struck and illness too. I do not want to feel sorry for myself,but I think I do. How can I tell? And, how do you stop feeling self-pity?


Hi Wings,
If you are carrying heavy crosses, and have suffered many losses, tragedy and illness, it’s very understandable that you feel sad. Except that you’ve said you’re disabled, and that you need to find an affordable place to live, I don’t know what crosses and losses and tragedies. It sounds like you are justified in feeling emotional and sad.

I guess when you can’t think of others in little ways, and fail to give little kindnesses to other, a smile, kind words when they need it that can mean you’re self absorbed…or depressed.

Please don’t be hard on yourself and deal with things the best you can actually manage, which may not be as much as think you should.

I hope that you have friends, family, loving support. It takes a while to adjust to losses and tragedies, in as much as one can, so don’t be impatient with yourself or judge yourself. You need kindness, even from yourself…“Love each other, as you love yourself,” Jesus said, so you do need to be kind to yourself as well as to others

I’ll keep you in my prayers.

Trishie :grouphug:


I recommend a good book called Arise From Darkness by Father Benedict Groeschel.


w i n g s 7. :heart:
i just want you to know that i am so sorry beyond words that you are suffering so deeply right now, and that i will definitely be keeping you in my constant thoughts and prayers. :heart: if you’d like to go into more detail about the crosses you have been given, please know that we are all here for you to love you, care for you, support you and lift you up, not ever judge you or tear you down, and that i will always be here and always care to help you as much as i can. of course, if you don’t feel comfortable sharing more about what you’re going through, you definitely don’t have to. just please know that i’m always here if you’d like to talk more personally, so please don’t ever hesitate to contact me, and everyone else on here is there for you as well, if you’d like to share anything else with us. :slight_smile:

i’m so sorry, again, that you’ve experienced loss, but please know that the fact that you are suffering is a sign that God is working in your life to bring you closer to Himself. i read somewhere that when we get to Heaven, we will look back and see that the greatest gifts we were ever given were the crosses that we received. God does not give us crosses to try to hurt us or drive us to despair, but when we receive a heavy cross, it is actually a sign of His great eternal Love and affection towards us, and is a sign that He is working within us to purify our soul and bring us to sanctity. please know that you have received this cross because God loves you so much more than you could ever imagine or comprehend, and wants you to be close to Him forever. :heart: :slight_smile: :heart: it is through enduring suffering patiently and with courage, offering up our pain for love of Jesus and for the good of souls who need Him, that we advance in holiness and grow closer to God. it is far from easy to endure suffering according to God’s will, and to surrender ourselves completely to His plan in our lives. i know that in the past, i have struggled with accepting my mental illness and the fact that i will probably be enduring my spiritual depressions and torments from the enemy for the rest of my life. but i have learned, mostly through suffering that has brought much growth and hope to my life, to accept God’s will for me and to surrender completely to all that He wants, needs and calls me to be for His glory. i will definitely pray for you constantly, that you are able to do this as well, so that you are able to experience the peace, hope, love, warmth and life that comes to us when we lift up our suffering and forget ourselves.

i think that the difference between self-pity and simply being emotional is that when we are drowning in self-pity, we tend to lash out at others while withdrawing inside ourselves, isolating ourselves from the rest of the world, focusing completely on our own thoughts, emotions and problems without thinking of anyone else. i have struggled with this in the past, but i am learning how to reach out for help and reach out to others even while i am suffering myself. i think that a big part of simply being emotional while avoiding self-pity is being able to ask for help and still be kind to others, reaching out to others while still taking care of oneself. if you are completely focused on yourself and your own problems (i say ‘you’ as a general term), then you’re probably in danger of falling completely into self-pity—on the other hand, if you are able to ask for help and reach out to others while you are suffering, i would say that you are simply experiencing the natural emotions that are a result of the losses you’ve endured.

i think that a big part of stopping self-pity is to appreciate the amazing gift of Love that a cross in our life truly is. God doesn’t like it when we suffer, but a lot of times if we didn’t carry our crosses, we would fall away from Him and be lost forever. He gives us crosses to keep us close to Himself, to purify our souls and to show His great Love for us. please don’t think that God has abandoned you or that you are alone in this—God is always very close to us when we suffer, and He loves us so much that when we hurt, He hurts with us. He is looking at you even now with eyes of deep Love and affection, and waiting with open arms to receive you. i think that it’s essential that you accept that God has placed this cross in your life, realize that it is not a burden but truly a gift and a sign of His passionate Love for you, and begin to offer up your suffering for love of Jesus and the good of souls who need Him. this is far from easy, and it took me a very long time and countless failures until i was able to do this. but during my most recent spiritual depression, as soon as i offered up my pain to Jesus for love of Him, offering it for the conversion of sinners and the release of the souls in Purgatory, i immediately felt better, and i haven’t fallen into a depression since. (the enemy probably doesn’t know what to do with me now!)


Jesus once said to me: “Do you know, daughter, for what reason I send crosses to souls dear to me? I desire to possess their souls, entirely, and for this I surround them with crosses, and I enclose them in sufferings and tribulation, that they may not escape from my hands; and for this I scatter thorns, that souls may fasten their affections upon no one, but find all content in Me alone. My daughter, if you do not feel the cross it cannot be called a cross. Be sure that under the cross you will not be lost. The demon has no strength against those souls who for My love groan under the cross. 0 My daughter, how many would have abandoned Me if they had not been crucified. The cross is a gift too precious, and from it come many virtues."
I prayed then to Jesus that He would not concede to me any grace except that of loving Him very much, and Jesus said: “Oh soul dear to me, if you truly love Me, behold My chalice; you can drink it to the last drop. On this chalice I have placed My lips, and I want you to drink it.” I told Jesus to do with me as He would. And then He said to me: "I have sent this cross to you, you do not appreciate it; rather it is contrary to your desire, but the more it is contrary, the more it is like Mine. Would it not seem to you a dreadful thing to see a father in the midst of sorrow and the children enjoying them
selves? When I shall be your Spouse of blood, I will come to you, but crucified; show your love to me as I have shown it toward you, and do you know how? By suffering, pains, and crosses without number. You ought, therefore, to consider yourself honored, if I lead you on paths hard and painful; if I permit that you be tor*mented by the demon, that the world despise you, that persons most dear to you afflict you, and with daily martyrdom, I permit your soul to be purified and tested. And you, daughter, think only of practicing great virtue; run in the path of the Divine Will, humbled, assured, that if I hold you to the cross, I love you.”

Epistemes was the one who posted this beautiful quote, so if you’d like to know its source, please ask him.]


Conversation of the Merciful God with a Suffering Soul.

Jesus: Poor soul, I see that you suffer much and that you so not have even the strength to converse with me. So I will speak to you. Even though your sufferings were very great, do not lose heart or give in to despondency. But tell Me, My child, who has dared to wound your heart? Tell Me about everything, be sincere in dealing with Me, reveal all the wounds of your heart. I will heal them, and your suffering will become a source of your sanctification.

Soul: Lord, my sufferings are so great and numerous and have lasted so long that I become discouraged.

Jesus: My child, do not be discouraged. I know your boundless trust in Me; I know you are aware of My goodness and mercy. Let us talk in detail about everything that weighs so heavily upon your heart.

Soul: There are so many different things that I do not know what to speak about first, nor how to express it.

Jesus: Talk to Me simply, as a friend to a friend. Tell Me now, My child, what hinders you from advancing in holiness?

Soul: Poor health detains me on the way to holiness. I cannot fulfill my duties. I am as useless as an extra wheel on a wagon. I cannot mortify myself or fast to any extent, as the saints did. Further more, nobody believes I am sick, so that mental pain is added to those of the body, and I am often humiliated. Jesus, how can anyone become holy in such circumstances?

Jesus: **True, My child, all that is painful. But there is no way to heaven except the way of the cross. I followed it first. You must learn that it is the shortest and surest way. **

Soul: Lord, there is another obstacle on the road to holiness. Because I am faithful to You, I am persecuted and suffer much.

Jesus: It is because you are not of this world that the world hates you. First it persecuted Me. Persecution is a sign that you are following in My footsteps faithfully.

Soul: My Lord, I am also discouraged because neither my superiors nor my confessor understand my interior trials. A darkness clouds my mind. How can I advance? All this discourages me from striving for the heights of sanctity.

Jesus: **Well, My child, this time you have told Me a great deal. I realize how painful it is not to be understood, and especially by those whom one loves and with whom one has been very open. But suffice it is to know that I understand all your troubles and misery. I am pleased by the deep faith you have, despite everything, in My representatives. Learn from this that no one will understand a soul entirely - that is beyond human ability. Therefore, I have remained on earth to comfort your aching heart and to fortify your soul, so that you will not falter on the way. You say that a dense darkness is obscuring your mind. But why, at such times, do you not come to Me, the light who can in an instant pour into your soul more understanding about holiness than can be found in any books? No confessor is capable of teaching and enlightening a soul this way. **

**Know, too, that the darkness about which you complain I first endured in the Garden of Olives when My Soul was crushed in mortal anguish. I am giving you a share in those sufferings because of My special love for you and in view of the high degree of holiness I am intending for you in heaven. A suffering soul is closest to My Heart. **

Soul: One more thing, Lord. What should I do when I am ignored and rejected by people, especially by those on whom I had a right to count in times of greatest need?

Jesus: My child, make the resolution never to rely on people. Entrust yourself completely to My will saying, “Not as I want, but according to Your will, O God, let it be done unto me.” These words, spoken from the depths of one’s heart, can raise a soul to the summit of sanctity in a short time. In such a soul I delight. Such a soul gives Me glory. Such a soul fills heaven with the fragrance of her virtue. But understand that the strength by which you bear suffering comes from frequent Communions. So approach this fountain of mercy often, to draw with the vessel of trust whatever you need.

Soul: Thank You, Lord, for Your goodness in remaining with us in this exile as the God of mercy and blessing us with the radiance of Your compassion and goodness. It is through the light of Your mercy that I have come to understand how much You love me.

[from St. Faustina’s diary, **Divine Mercy in my Soul



[please understand that most of these are not Catholic quotes, but i feel that they still get the point across very effectively and beautifully.]

There are no crown bearers in Heaven that were not cross bearers on earth. –Spurgeon
If you love, you will suffer, and if you do not love, you do not know the meaning of a Christian life. –Agatha Christie
The deep meaning of the cross of Christ is that there is no suffering on earth that is not borne by God. –Dietrich Bonhoeffe
Courage would be impossible in a world without pain. –Lee Strobel
Christianity has always insisted that the cross we bear always precedes the crown we wear. –Martin Luther King, Jr.
If you suffer, thank God. It is a sure sign you’re alive. –Elbert Hubbard
*None of us can come to the highest maturity without enduring the summer heat of trials:

  • as the sycamore fig does not ripen unless it is bruised
  • as the corn does not leave the husk without threshing
  • as the wheat makes no fine flour unless it is ground
    so we are of little use until we are afflicted!* –Kimber Kauffman, pastor: College Park Baptist Church, Indianapolis, IN
    Come to me O blessed trial, I need you. For you always draw me to the arms of the Saviour. –George Whitfield
    I’ve never heard anyone say the really deep lessons of life have come in times of ease and comfort. But, I have heard many saints say every significant advance I’ve ever made in grasping in the depth of God’s love and growing deep with Him, have come through suffering. –John Piper
    The greater the difficulty, the greater the glory. –Cicero
    What doesn’t destroy me makes me stronger. –Martin Luther King, Jr.
    I believe the hard-heartest, most cross grained and most unloving Christians in all the world are those who have not had much trouble in their life. And those that are the most sympathizing, loving and Christlike are generally those who have the most affliction. The worse thing that can happen to any of us is to have a path made too smooth. One of the greatest blessings the Lord ever gave us was a cross. –Charles Spurgeon
    Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved. –Helen Keller
    You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do. –Eleanor Roosevelt
    I had to be healed of my desire to be healed. –Joni Eareckson Tada
    Everywhere a greater joy is preceeded by a greater suffering. –St. Augustine
    Where are the marks of the cross in your life? Are there any points of identification with your Lord? Alas, too many Christians wear medals but carry no scars. –Vance Havner
    The deeper our faith, the more doubt we must endure; the deeper our hope, the more prone we are to despair; the deeper our love, the more pain its loss will bring: these are a few of the paradoxes we must hold as human beings. If we refuse to hold them in hopes of living without doubt, despair, and pain, we also find ourselves living without faith, hope, and love. –Parker Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life
    Real faith is refined in the fires and storms of pain. –Eugene Peterson
    God uses our trials to prepare us for greater blessings. –Charles Stanley
    God cannot use mightily the man whom he has not wounded deeply. –AW Tozer

two websites that i definitely recommend, that i hope and pray will help and encourage you, are:
they’re not Catholic, but i still feel that they teach about the meaning of suffering effectively and beautifully.

please know that you are in my constant thoughts and prayers, wings7, and that you are far from alone in this. i hope and pray that my post was able to help and encourage you in at least some small way. stay strong, stay safe and take care of yourself. God bless you! :slight_smile: :heart: :slight_smile:

in the peace and love of Christ,
alison :heart:


There is no substantive difference between self-pity and an undue regard for one’s emotions. Both are flaws. It is important to remember that Christ calls one to pick up one’s cross and follow Him. He never asks one how one feels about this because it doesn’t matter. If Christ doesn’t care how one feels about such things, then one ought recognize such emotions for the diabolical, trivial distractions that they are, grow up and get on with one’s work.


I have found that completely abandoning myself to God works when extra tough times come. Try the spiritual classic on this link- it’s a masterpiece-
**Self-Abandonment To Divine Providence
**By: Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade Self-Abandonment To Divine Providence. Probably the greatest classic on surrendering our wills to Divine Providence (God’s will). Filled with beautiful, penetrating insights, an incredibly rich store of Catholic wisdom. Shows how sanctity is to be attained amidst our common daily activities when performed to perfection and for the love of God. Written to help those who despair of ever becoming holy. A great and famous classic! 449 pgs, PB

You should make a long list of all your blessings too. And think about what you have that is good, not least of which is the promise of eternity in bliss with God and the angels and saints if you persevere. You have blessings and a wonderful destiny. Try to be positive even if it’s hard. We all have problems and struggle. A prize awaits us at the end of this journey though. The Lord will provide. God bless.:slight_smile:


I disagree. I think God cares about how one feels,however,we are not to let our emotions control us. God gave us emotions.So, they must be good. And I think greiving is normal. I have many heavy crosses. I reach out to others. I try and improve my situation time and time again. I am getting sicker and sicker physically, and I am being persecuted by family and not understood. I am living way below poverty level,alone in a place I can soon not afford. I am often in a wheelchair. IT takes much prayer just to have the strength to take a shower. I have heat,lung,intestinal and nuerological illnesses that are growing rapidly worse. I have no means to get to doctor or pharmacy or grocery shopping. I have called my parish and still no help.
I need a place to live soon. I need rides. I want not to be so isolated. I am so sad that family yell at me and tell me I have been a loser all my life,even though I loved them with all my heart,and yes being human made mistakes,yet asked for forgiveness from them.Yet what I get is attacked and put down and thrown aside. I am very sad about this most of all. This is what makes me wonder if it is pity or sadness? All the health issues I do not pity me. It is the issues of how I am treated from family and some others.I recently made some boundaries and said I will not be treated like that. So this one person said,then I quess I won;t be in yur life. this person was the only one who did anything for me…like pick up medicine,etc. however always at the cost of being put down ,criticized,etc.
I am in physical pain,emotional pain,spiritual pain,mental pain…no matter how I try to improve all seems to get worse and harder on me this past yr. I DO offer up myself,my life,everything to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the conversion and salvation of souls and for intentions of those who ask me to pray for them.
I always have been a sensitive type and deeply emotional and deep thinker. It is part of my personality. SO when I feel…I feel strongly. However, as I have aged, I do not allow my emotions to dictate my behavior. I am honest,open and loving the most I can be.
Right now I am very very sad. That is why i am not sure the differnece between sad and pity. I have lost every family member except one…the one who attacks me. I have lost my house,all bellongings,car,animals…everything. My heart and lung desease is getting worse,and I have bleeding in intestines. I have almost no blood circulations in more then half my body. I think when a person is as ill as me and as isolated as I am, and deep feeling and big hearted, it is even harder to deal with losses in every area. I do surrender everything to God everyday.Sometimes I seem to need to do this through out the day.
SO, from what most of you have written…it is not pity if I am reaching out, praying for others, love others when I am around people. I am doing that. and I was thinking it is called suffering because it IS Suffering…and suffering is hard,sad,etc.right?
What is undue regard for one;s feelings? Isn’t that placing your feelings about God’s will? I do not do that.However, I feel passionately when I feel. born that way. Also, to judge someone as having undue regard for ones emotions seems like playing God. We can not judge aa persons heart. To tell someone to grow up is a pat answer with no love or compassion.Now, if someone knew me well,in person, then positive criticism is welcomed. But, someone to tell me to grow up when i am going through so much and facing death…,well that appears heartless to me and lacking love. God is love. accusations seem evil to me…especially now that i am getting accused of all sorts of things…things I did not do and things in past I have done and repented of. Even one of my children said…aren;t you responsible how how I feel? I said NO, not now that I have ask your forgiveness for past things when I was raising you and I am not doing those things anymore and your an adult. It is time now for your forgiveness. I have been forgiven by God. and moved on.
I agree, all these crosses…in the long run the good will be seen. But sometimes I despise this pain.


xAlisonx Thank you for your posts. They really help me. In your posts you show me that Jesus DOES care what I am going through which includes my emotions too.
I do not get how some people think they can talk for God and say God does not care about a persons feelings. In my life listening to my emotions and talking to God about them has always led me to my heart and the thoughts behind my feelings. This is how GOd works in me…and how with the grace of God I have been able to repent from so many things in my life and still on this journey.


I’m afraid I must disagree with this statement, too. Yes, we are to pick up our own crosses… and follow in the footsteps of Our Beloved Lord. But that doesn’t mean He is unconcerned about our difficulties, sadness or hurts. That is why He became one of us. He died, for LOVE of us. When you LOVE… you CARE.

Sacred Scripture says…

“Yet it was our infirmities that He bore, our sufferings that He endured, While we thought of Him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. But He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon Him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by His stripes we were healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Dear “wings”… my heartfelt advice to you… take your troubles directly to Our Good and Loving Lord. He loves you so much! And yes, He DOES care about the trials you are now suffering.

May you find peace, comfort and healing in His loving embrace. You are in my prayers.


Thank you for your support and advice. I do take my troubles directly to God and I agree,(I think you were suggesting this)that I do not post questions. Thanks


Everyone has moments in their lives when the burdens they carry seem to outweigh their ability to cope, I can attest to that.

I think the key is to give yourself permission to feel what you are undoubtedly going to feel; sadness, depression, and, yes, self pity. Feeling are what they are.

But at the same time don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to seek out some support and find someone to talk to when you need to. Create a net, if you will, so that the feelings don’t overwhelm you.

And also, don’t be afraid to just let it out either. Heck, just the other day I was feeling overwhelmed by stress and shame and was very much feeling sorry for myself, so I went into my schools chapel, sat down in front of the altar, hugged my knees, curled up into a fetal position and cried right there in the church for a few minutes.


I totally can picture me doing that in church. THank you for sharing. I think I was feel alot of shame for not being so strong…and not changing things I have worked so hard to change…for example …relationships…some friend some family…not changing them…but rather changing me. And even though I can look back over the yrs and see so much spiritual growth…I also feel I failed in my whole life. My kids who I love with all my heart are grown and one told me I was a loser all my life,even though I did everything I could for my kids. I am trying to set boundaries now so I will not take that treatment. At the same time it makes me doubt myself and feel shame and guilt over things already confessed and repented of. So I know I should not feel shame,etc. but I am.How many times can you ask someone to forgive you? I have a few times with my children. But even though they are pretty old now they keep bringing it up and trying to find things wrong with me even now even though I am nothing but loving to them. And I feel like I am in a communist country where my kids are concerned…I am not allowed to say anything.It is very isolating and sad to me. I know I do not have much longer to live and they know this too. They even asked me why hasn’t God taken me yet? The sense was, I have no value now so why am I alive. I was told by my priest he hears this often from parents of adult children. It is a sign of the times. Because I am older, sick,poor…they see me as useless and needy.And one said I was always needy…even though I raised them and they never did without one thing materially,my attention and love,etc. I just do not get how they can see me in such a bad light? It is heartbreaaking to me. I feel like I stunk as a mom since they turned out this way. I am still yelled at for when I made them clean, pull weeds for discipline. and for hitting them. Well,back the hitting them was not abuse. I had a spoon to hit their butts with. No matter what…I am never good enough to my kids then or now. Yet I remember ALOT of good memories and fun too. I feel like I am being super attacked the sicker I get and the closer I get to Jesus.
I am so ill I am homebound mostly now.So, I do not know how to reach out to many places. Any ideas? Thanks for being here for me.


Dear “wings”. No, I wasn’t suggesting that you “do not post questions”. That is what a public forum is for, my friend. :wink:

I only pray that everyone who answers (anyone’s questions)… myself included, will do so in a spirit of charity. God bless.


OHHH…,.thank you for explaining!


The Church nowhere characterizes emotions or passions as good in themselves. Rather, each emotion one experiences can either be good or evil according to the end to which that emotion directs its subject. Thus, for instance, the anger of a child at his parents due to a discipline that has been justly imposed is an evil. The affection a young man may feel for his bride is a virtue.

Saying that the emotions are good simply because one happens to be born with them is obviously fallacious. Man inherits any number of disorders both genetic and spiritual which he is obliged to resist by the loving command of God. Saying “God made me this way” as an excuse to make an end-run around the Moral Law is nothing more than an attempt to avoid one’s responsibilities. Such an attitude can justly be said to draw upon such vices as sloth, presumption and despair.

While I can sympathize with some of the difficulties you are experiencing at the moment, I remain firm in my opinion expressed earlier. There is no tragedy God exposes one to that cannot be borne with strength and patience. To allow oneself to be overwhelmed by one’s emotions to the point where one begins to publicly doubt one’s resolve is characteristic both of despair and scandal.

You accuse me of lacking love in my assessment, yet sometimes the love Christ calls us to have for each other means making others face up to grim reality in no uncertain terms. True love does not play the part of an enabler, with soothing words of comfort designed to excuse whatever loathsome level of self-centered pity one has allowed oneself to descend into. At times such as those, the best remedy is often the one that one might expect to hear from a drill sergeant: to grow up and be reminded what it means to be a soldier of Christ.



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