Words of Wisdom 026: On overcoming self-pity

A client I have deep respect for came to work with me because he struggled with self-confidence.

One of his deepest wounds is the wound of rejection. This wound was sowed through bullying and betryal in childhood. He was treated cruelly by people he thought were his friends and it shaped how he thought of himself.

Some time into our work together, he built up the courage to ask a girl out.

The courage to ask his friend out was no small feat for him, and he took a risk with a woman he had come to know and care for.

The girl wasn't interested. It cut deep.

His old self, the pattern he had long learned, would be to fall into morbid self-pity. He would beat himself up, and like drinking a toxic poison, his thoughts would confirm his worthlessness.

How he came to overcome this dungeon of shame would take too long to tell. But one key, one central foundation that he came to learn was so simple; and you might overlook it.

He focused on throwing himself into serving others.

Instead of being caught up in his thoughts of being unwanted, he focused on caring for others. He developed the practice, each morning, to get completely still and quiet and pray to the God of his understanding, asking how he could serve others that day.

In looking to contribute to others, he saw himself in new ways.

Some serve fueled by their pain or pride, which only causes more problems.

Others serve in a noble response to their pain. In the middle of uncertainty, they choose to give to others.

The only successful revenge for violence is a life of peace. The most powerful solution to shame is love, and the best answer to rejection is loving service.

A life focused on giving is the only way to get the life of meaning and fulfillment you seek.


"On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plan when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.

In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don't struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for awhile...we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.

We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only...

As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day "Thy will be done." We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves. It works–it really does."

Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 86-88


How can I contribute today?

Who can I serve?


Life is too short not to focus on what matters most. Prioritize your problems and develop practices to grow.

Live wisely,


P.S. We need all the wisdom we can get to flourish. Please help me share the Words of Wisdom with others by sending them here.

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