Is self-pity the same as self-compassion?
Self-pity is not the same thing as self-compassion.
Self-pity sets in when you feel like you are the only one suffering the way you are.
Self-pity might sound like this: Poor me. Why me? Other people have it so much better than I do. I am the only one home on a Friday night. I am the only one being bullied at school. I am the only one who can’t do math. I’m the only one whose parents are getting a divorce. I am the only one that is sad in this family. No one knows how badly I feel.
Self-compassion recognizes that what you are feeling is part of the human experience. It honors that other people suffered in this same way. Self-compassion helps you see that you are not alone.
Addressing your pain with self-compassion sounds like this: I know other people feel lonely too. I am not the only one in human history to fail a math test. I am not the only mother who has snapped at her children for spilling something. I am not the only person who feels abandoned. I am not alone in this experience of pain. I am hurting, but I am not alone. Other people have had this same thing happen to them.
Self-pity makes a person feel isolated, alone, and offers no way out of the suffering. Self-compassion offers a sense of shared humanity, a presence of being united to others who are similarly suffering, and brings a sense of hope for the future.