Say goodbye to self-pity

Dear Daughter,

Last week I shared with you Benjamin Button’s letter to his daughter. There’s just one more part in that movie that I wanted to discuss. (And then no more BB references, I promise!) This particular part contains a valuable piece of wisdom for every girl—for every human being, really.

There’s a scene where Daisy (Brad Pitt’s love interest (lucky girl)) is swimming and she sees a younger woman walking around in her bathing suit. This is enough to make any woman cry, and Daisy does, lamenting that she’s getting older, which is ironic because Benjamin is getting  younger. Anyway, she’s crying because she knows she’ll never look like that young woman again and, in her mind, her looks will only decline as she ages.

In the next scene, she’s sitting outside watching the sunset when Benjamin comes to comfort her. And then she says some very powerful words that honestly changed my life: “I promise you I’ll never lose myself to self-pity again.”

As you go through life, you’ll find a million and one reasons to feel sorry for yourself: you don’t have enough money, your job stinks, you have a crappy car, you’re having a bad hair day, blah blah blah. But dwelling on such things will only make you miserable. Self-pity is one of the most destructive of all human behaviors. It eats you from the inside out. It multiplies at a rapid rate as it finds more and more reasons for you to hate yourself. And while it starts internally, the effects of prolonged self-pity begin to show on the outside. Soon enough, when others look at you they’ll see only bitterness and despair.

As Daisy said, you cannot lose yourself to such a beast. You will have times when you’ll be upset about your circumstances, of course. That’s unavoidable. But there will come a point in those times when you choose to either linger in your misery or brush it off and decide not to let self-pity get the best of you. Hopefully you’ll choose the latter, and then won’t look back.

When I first saw this film, I was a single mom with no boyfriend. At that time I was wallowing in the dark and greasy pit of self-despair. But Daisy’s wise words helped snapped me back to reality. I realized that in feeling sorry for myself I was being weak, and such weakness is both debilitating and unattractive. From then on, whenever I start to dive back into that dark and greasy pit, I think of Daisy’s words. And then I shift my focus to the many blessings in my life, all of which I don’t deserve.

I encourage you to do the same, Daughter. Self-pity gets you nowhere. But the strongest, most attractive women are those who avoid self-pity and instead embrace life’s many ups and downs with grace.



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