(Why) Is self pity a sin?

I haven’t heard that self pity is sinful until yesterday. Is it really? I have never confessed it… Why exactly is it sinful? Is there any Bible verse or quote from Church document that explicitly tells that it is sinful? Jesus told us to love our neighbours as ourselves. Than why is feeling sorry for ourselves sinful, while feeling sorry for others isn’t? When I am depressed, I think of what others would say to me when they would see me and how worried they would be. I posted a thread about depression here and everybody told me that it isn’t sinful, even though I told them that even though I have told them that thinking of heavan doesn’t cheer me up. Everybody told me that it’s OK because emotions don’t matter when it comes to is something a sin or not. I have the abbility of stoping self pity, but it is painful. Some say that it is connected with pride because we isolate ourselves from others, but when it comes to our head, we ARE isolated. If I am eating a dinner with my friends, I will mainly think about how that dinner tastes to me, because I am the only one whose feelings about that dinner I can fully understand and experience. Same is with life, isn’t it? I am the only one who can fully understand my feelings and experience them. It’s not selfishness, it’s the fact! When I hear about some tragedy that happened to people I don’t know, I would really like to help them, but I don’t feel as said for them as I would for myself at that situation,because I at the moment I hear the news, their feeling are in some way foreign to me since I have never felt that or, at least,I am not feeling that now. Am


That is a very good question. If we suffer misfortunes or have great anxieties, we cannot help but think of them. In fact, we need to give some thought to those things in order to improve our lives and perhaps solve some of our problems. The sin may be in self-absorption, that is, thinking only of ourselves and, as you wrote, isolating ourselves from God and from others. If you still have enough time and energy to love God and love those around you, then it cannot be very sinful.

despair is pride in disguise- St Therese of the Child Jesus
The deepest cause of despair is the lack of trust in God- Blessed Fr. Sopocko

Experience wise…it’s really bad. I mean, I’ve been depressed and felt many fears and anxieties. I just felt God was not pleased by what I am doing–it’s like telling him : I know what will happen God…so it’s kind of insulting to God. So I try my best to trust in Him. I have a friend right now who’s really depressed…and I carry her stuff with me…so I told her to stop it…because I feel that it’s causing more pain than healing…so I pray for her.

Jesus asks only for our trust. that’s how simple the Divine Mercy message is…yet how difficult to say sometimes : Jesus I trust in You

Because there is always someone who is in more need of things than yourself: people who are starving, dying, in pain, in terror. Why waste your time on self-pity?

I am living and feeling my life. I would lile to help people with bigger problems, but my sorrow won’t help them. What you are saying seems a little illogical because that would mean that it is a bad thing to express pain when you are punched just because there are people that get shot by a gun. Crying is just an expression of hardness of our life and I don’t see why would it have to be objectional, especiatelly when done privately. There are many useless things we do, but the question is is it sinful…

No you seem illogical. You are right, your self-pity will not help other people. But if you look outside yourself and see how much worse people have it than you, you will stop being so self-absorbed and feel grateful for the good things in your life.

I have said that not only my self-pity won’t help them, but my pity for them is not going to help them as well. Feelings are not always logical, especiatelly for people that are often depresed. The question is it sin. Not all of our imperfection is sinful…

Interesting question. I have to say, my depression’s always been more likely to lead to self-loathing than self-pity, but I can see how it might be the other way around if I had more external problems on top of the depression.

I don’t understand the responses that it’s a waste of time. A person experiencing a major depressive episode is going to waste time, often to the point of it interfering with their day-to-day life. Certain responsibilities and aspects of self-care may go by the wayside. This, along with persistent feelings of sadness/emptiness, is a sign of how severe the depression is, not a moral failing (and if either of those WERE a moral failing, it would be impossible to get a diagnosis for more than mild depression without sinning). If I’d realized that sooner, I don’t think I’d be in such a terrible academic position right now. :shrug:

Why do you care? If you are going to continue to be self-pitying, why would having it be a sin make a difference to you?

If depression is in the picture, it would be a good idea for the OP to seek the services of a doctor and a counselor. A spiritual director will also.be a great help.

True. The problem I can see is that many therapists don’t approach things from a catholic perspective, so it can be hard to believe them when they say you’re not doing anything wrong. But that can be solved by seeing a spiritual director, like you said. That will be the biggest help for the OP.

At the same time, it’s not a bad question. We could ask whether self-pity is a sin in the first place, (leaving the OP’s depression and possible reduced culpability out of it). My gut says it is, but that could just be because people have told me not to waste time feeling sorry for myself. :shrug:

The OP has indicated a willingness to stop if it is indeed a sin, but I get the impression that this will cost them energy, so they’d rather not worry about stopping if it isn’t a sin. That’s how I’m interpreting this bit, anyway:

I have the abbility of stoping self pity, but it is painful.

Never had depression and I think depression is something that needs a medical help.

But from my personal experience, I stopped self-pitying after I started to realize that God has a right to do anything in my life. Self-pity is just inherently incompatible with “Thy will be done”

But I don’t want to condemn those who self-pity. Yes, self-pity has sinfulness in it but it belongs to a different category of sin than what we typically view as sin. It needs God’s grace(and consequent spiritual growth) to get rid of. You just have to prayerfully wait until you naturally “grow out of” it as you continue your walk of faith and IMPO relying on sheer willpower doesn’t really help.

ye agree…if your self-pitying is already a form of depression…I advice medical help and a spiritual director as well.

Perhaps it would help to define what we mean by “self-pity.” When we speak of self-pity as being sinful, I don’t think we’re really talking about being depressed, or disappointed when something doesn’t work out, or just feeling sad when tragedy occurs, or feeling pain when we get hurt. Those things are not really self-pity.

Self-pity as defined by Merriam-Webster:

: a feeling of pity for yourself because you believe you have suffered more than is fair or reasonable

: pity for oneself; especially : a self-indulgent dwelling on one’s own sorrows or misfortunes

So it’s not just normal sorrow, but more like being indignant or having a feeling of entitlement not to suffer as much as they are (or perhaps at all). It’s the idea that, “I shouldn’t have to deal with this,” and really meaning it–even when it’s the normal, expected result. It’s ignoring our blessings, and focusing instead on how “terrible” our lives are.

It is also often accompanied by the idea that “I’ve got it worse than anyone else.” Which means it’s very difficult to have empathy, compassion, or mercy for others.

Often, the self-pitying person also ignores the role they themselves play in causing their own suffering–that is, they don’t take responsibility for their mistakes (or act as though they could not reasonably have made any other choice); things are always someone else’s fault. Which means they don’t ever feel they are wrong or at fault–so they may even convince themselves (and try to convince others) that they are sinless.

OK, I could mention some things I expirience so you could have clearer picture:
-I would like somebody to see me crying and feel sorry for me and show care and love (this worries me the most)
-I am too disturbed to pray, but I am extreamly sad for my sins, especiatelly if I am in the state of mortal sin or when I am worrying I could be in the state of mortal sin. It seems like I am expiriencing God’s anger on myself and I think that God is very angry at me and that I have disaapointed him
-when I think of heavan, I don’t feel any better, but I do not denny God’s grace
-I would like to die, but I don’t allow myself to have suicidal thoughts. Sometimes I think about how others would be sad if I commited suicide and how they would have wantedthat they had an opportunity to treat me better (this doesn’t go on these who treated me good, but on those who did not)
-While being depresed I feel despair (I feel despair, but I know God’s grace exist, feelings aren’t always rational) and after that I feel complete emptyness, like all my feelings are erased. After some period, I find happiness in everything and I am usually really happy
-I feel better when I am crying, but when depression stops, before happy period, I feel weird and empty of all feelings so I am confused
-when depression end, before happy period, I feel weird and want to be depressed again
-I feel relief in crying
-I bite my arm and feel like my arms are too full with blood so I feel a need to stabb myself with a knife in the arm and lett the blood out. I have never done it, nor seriously thought about doing so.
I am seing profesional help, but psyhiatrist can’t tell me if action is SINFUL or not so I am asking you.

Depression is NOT a sin.
Despair IS a sin.

Definitely continue therapy and always listen to your therapist.

Honestly, the only part of that that sounds sinful is the self-harm. Your body is God’s creation, and you shouldn’t purposefully hurt it. God would want you to take care of yourself and get better. Despair is a sin, but I’m not sure exactly how you’re using that word.

Feeling better after you cry is understandable and not concerning. I get why you’re scared of wanting other people to see you cry and feel sorry for you, because it would be selfish and manipulative to bait people like that. But on the other hand, you’re in a really dark place right now. It may be that you need someone to take notice of your pain, and try to cheer you up or take care of you a little. If you have any close, trustworthy friends, you might consider sharing these feelings with them, so they know that you want/need some attention and interaction. We all need to be reminded that people care every now and then.

I really think you should see a spiritual director or priest if at all possible, if only to put your mind at ease. What you’re describing doesn’t sound like what CatholicRaven laid out when talking about self-pity; these are just the symptoms of an illness. They’re worrisome and need to be treated, but most of this doesn’t sound sinful.

Remember that God loves you and wants you to get better. No matter what happens, He is waiting for you with open arms and loves you like the precious child that you are. :slight_smile:

Have a comparatively nice rest of the day, lifesoldier! And since you sound like you need a hug right now, here you go. :hug1:

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee to we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

I say this prayer every night before bed and I pity everyone living in this world, including myself.

LOVE! :heart:

I agree with janiruchan. I’m surprised some don’t think despair or self-pity is a sin. Despair speaks of a lack of faith in God. When in despair, you are basically affirming that you don’t expect God to help you through whatever you are facing. Despair and self-pity signifies that you have not surrendered yourself to God’s will. Someone who has surrendered himself or herself to God’s will, will fully accept and embrace the current situation as part of His plan for him/her instead of wishing for more. Thirdly, despair and self-pity insults God, because you are essentially pitying one of his creations. Your life and its obstacles do not belong to you. They belong to God. Therefore, you don’t have the license to pity yourself. Similarly, if the cause of your despair or self-pity is due to another person, or group; you are viewing them, who are also creations of God, as lacking in something.

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