In my raw, unchecked thoughts, self-pity threatens to overtake me.
I want so desperately to have the life I once enjoyed before our family was ravaged by Krabbe disease, and it is far too easy to look at other people and envy what appears to be a life free of intense hardship. I begin to see my entire existence through a bleak lens, and though these destructive thoughts are probably somewhat natural in grief, they threaten to take me captive.
I want to be liberated from self-pity.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that to find freedom from this destructive attitude, I must deal with the consumptive patterns that are fundamental to the issue-mainly comparison and ingratitude, which happen to go hand-in-hand.
I have long struggled with the issue of comparison, recognizing it is a cancer to my soul.
By nature, I am extremely competitive, but competition is a moot point if there is no one with whom to compete. For instance, you cannot compete in a tennis match without someone to play against. So in the nature of competition one is pressed to compare themselves to another. Unfortunately, this theme of comparison has sadly spilled over into many areas of my life.
In my current circumstance I find myself comparing my life (filled with suffering, loss, and grief) to that of others. This inherently leads to self-pity and discontentment because I see families all around me who do not have to deal with the loss of a child. Of course, I would never want this path for someone else, but in my honest moments, I am also jealous of their path, wishing my life, like theirs, had been able to carry on without the affliction and death of my beloved boy.
However, in reality, my situation is what it is, whether or not other people are dealing with something similar. Measuring my life against that of someone else does not change my circumstances, but what it does change is my disposition toward my situation. It leads to jealously. It breeds dissatisfaction and a craving for something that is not my own. This in turn, produces an ungrateful heart.
Ingratitude, as I have reflected upon before, is central to faith and wholeness, and self-pity is void of the thankfulness necessary for healthy living.
Self-pity indulges dissatisfaction concerning my difficulties and hardships; it is reflective of a disgruntled heart. And though some may say that I have reason to be disgruntled in my loss, this type of attitude makes it difficult for me to be grateful for all that I have been given. It keeps me from having eyes to seeing the blessings in my life. And when I am unable to see the blessings bestowed upon me, I sink into greater sorrow and discouragement, finding it even more difficult to cope with my grief.
I am, once again, reminded that the key to a life unbound by self-pity and so many other dark shackles is a heart of thanksgiving.