Stupid Girls

Monday, September 26, 2011

why is self pity so discouraged?

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Why does "pity" mean "compassion," but "self-pity" means "self-indulgence?"

I have a theory about this. I think language, especially language about emotions, is very androcentric. I think men decided showing compassion for one's self in a crisis is a sign of weakness, that "real men" should just suck it up. And I think women have adopted this value, as well: if we feel compassion toward ourselves, we're not tough enough for a "man's world."

I think it is absolutely essential, especially in a life-altering or -threatening crisis that we be able to give ourselves aid and show ourselves mercy. By the latter, I mean not getting trapped in guilt and self hatred.

I think the fact we are so strongly discouraged from this process of feeling compassion and mercy toward ourselves PREVENTS us from giving ourselves aid (because we think we don't deserve it) and SERIOUSLY disables us psychologically.

Therefore, I hereby call for a reclamation of the concept of self-pity. I am not calling for self-indulgence; I am calling for a gentle state in which we can heal ourselves.

[pit-ee] Show IPA noun, plural pit·ies, verb, pit·ied, pit·y·ing.
sympathetic or kindly sorrow evoked b
y the suffering, distress, or misfortune of another, often leading one to give relief or aid or to show mercy: to feel pity for astarving child.
a cause or reason for pity, sorrow, or regret: What a pity you could not go!
verb (used with object)
to feel pity or compassion for; be sorry for; commiserate with.

self-pit·y (slfpt)
Pity for oneself, especially exaggerated or self-indulgent pity.