Self Compassion versus Feeling Sorry for Yourself

­­ What is the difference?

To me “having compassion for yourself” means to treat yourself with loving-kindness. “Being sorry for yourself” is to pity yourself – to say “poor me”.

With self- compassion I experience a sense of holding oneself with gentleness and understanding: of loving oneself and caring about your own personal well-being. I experience self-compassion as a warm red, orange feeling, radiating warmth and protection.

There is a real sense of giving your power away when you are feeling sorry for yourself.  To me “feeling sorry for yourself” is about powerlessness, helplessness and hopelessness. “Being sorry for yourself” to me means to judge yourself and seek pity and sympathy. I am wondering if this is then a small step away from a feeling of disgust and distaste for yourself.  I experience “feeling sorry for yourself” as a heavy, dreary, gray feeling; a lack of energy and passion quite different from self-compassion.

When I was away working with a group recently I had a bout of stomach flu. I missed the final gala and dance and the celebrations the following day. Of course I was upset and sad that I couldn’t join in the fun but I decided I needed to treat myself with care and compassion. I mourned my loss and acknowledge the disappointment I experienced. I know life challenges us in every way and this was just another unexpected occurance.

In conclusion, “Having compassion for yourself” for me means to treat yourself with loving-kindness. “Being sorry for yourself” is to pity yourself – to say “poor me”. Please be compassionate towards yourself and give yourself some care and tenderness when in pain or experiencing disappointment.

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