Good Evening, God
I just finished reading Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. In it she raises the specter of “self pity”. As I read it I thought about what a common theme this is in our society. My mother — who was a kind and gracious soul — was horrified at The Self Pity in a book by a breast cancer survivor. Odd, I thought, as my mother was herself a survivor.
But, more and more I am feeling that this Cultural Fear of Self Pity is injurious! When I suggested to my daughter, the Challenger, that I would appreciate an occasional “Poor Baby” from her — she waxed indignant! That would be to see you as weak and powerless!
Well, no. It would just be to see me in an occasional pool of fears and self doubts. We all fall into them from time to time. And a loving There There . . . There There . . . would be appreciated.
Actually, self compassion seems to be an incredible cultural No No! Which is tragic as there are any number of benefits from learning to extend compassion to ourselves as listed in the The Net and The Butterfly. Among them are:
• decreased anxiety, depression and self-criticism;
• improved relationships and satisfaction with life;
• increased ability to handle negative events;
• and improved immune system functioning.
Jesus clearly says that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. But, loving ourselves seems to be limited to retail therapy or gastronomical delights. Really, God, this problem needs to be addressed!