“I had a mother who would never allow herself to be a victim no matter what happened… Never made excuses, and she never accepted an excuse from us. And if we ever came up with an excuse, she always said, ‘Do you have a brain?’ And if the answer was yes, then she said, ‘Then you could have thought your way out of it.’” Ben Carson, One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future
I stumbled onto this quote while researching yesterday’s blog post quote by Dr. Carson. No wonder he’s the man of character that he is today. His mom didn’t make excuses or put up with excuses from him. He obviously learned well.
None of us do our families, friends, and ourselves any favors by throwing or joining pity parties. It’s okay to say we’re having a tough time, but then get up and do something about it.
Addiction, prejudice, labels, disabilities, mental illness, sickness, relational problems, emotional issues, and abuse are rampant these days. There are articles and books about overcoming them. Counselors specialize in one or more of them. Family and friends let us drown in them to keep from looking at themselves.
The list seems filled with legitimate reasons to feel sorry for ourselves except there’s someone out there dealing with the same problem and they’re not feeling sorry for themselves. In fact, they’re blowing by our sad selves and living their lives.
Nicholas James Vujicic came to mind when I was in the throes of self-pity. He’s a husband, father of four, evangelist, and motivational speaker who was born without arms and legs. Comparing myself to him only made me feel sorrier for myself. Why couldn’t I be positive like him? How ridiculous is that on my part?
I lived with self-pity as long as I gave into depression. I’d like to list 10 definitive ways I overcame it, but I’m not sure when or how it happened. A friend said, “That’s how life works – get busy with something besides your problems and they vanish.”
It’s tricky, though, because I didn’t know how to stop focusing on what was wrong in my life and how I could fix it. Even when I knew it wasn’t helping, I kept on. The craziest part was I tried to convince others and myself that I was getting better. A friend straightened me out when she said, “Victims never heal.”
“Better” only happened when I spent time with Jesus, stopped staring at my problems, and served others, and I couldn’t even do that on my own. I needed His help to get over myself.
If you’re like me, you can think up some excuses, but you’re better off when you don’t. I hope you’ll join the conversation.
In This Together,