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Give up self-pity and give time to others

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When most of us experience tough times, it becomes difficult to see past our own circumstances. We may shut down and feel sorry for ourselves or even angry at others. I think this is a “normal” and human response to our experience of particular circumstances.

Trying circumstances can create tunnel vision where we see so narrowly that our whole focus is only on what we are going through. When our whole mental focus is on what is going so wrong for us, then we begin to feel this experience emotionally as well. Once we are seeing, thinking, and feeling what is going so wrong for us, then our actions follow suit. This is that powerful mind/body connection that I believe is always in operation in our lives.

From this restricted seeing, thinking, and feeling place, our actions might be to “hold onto” the things that are going wrong by speaking about them negatively or blaming others. We might withdraw from our usual activities and immerse ourselves in self-pity and hopelessness.

Have you ever considered though, what might happen if we were to reach beyond ourselves and touch the life of someone else? It takes courage to give past our losses and to show kindness past the cruelty others may have shown us. It takes courage to reach out and lend a hand, when both our hands are full.

How can we have our territories enlarged with our arms folded and our hands gripping tightly only our own wounds, defeats, shame, and hardship? We must be willing to reach beyond ourselves releasing not only our own cares, but also releasing the power of inspiration through giving.

This is such an awesome illustration of the power of giving of ourselves despite what we may be going through. When we lend a “hand” to help somebody else, something amazing happens. Some of our “stuff” falls from our “grip” because we now have only “one hand” left.

The worries we have carried around fall a bit further out of our awareness, freeing up some mental space and reducing stress and anxiety. Being a bit more removed from our “stuff” offers an opportunity to gain some perspective. Giving of yourself changes you and your experience of your circumstance is changed in the process. This is when we can mobilize to work toward bringing about solutions. We shift from being reactive to responding proactively.

Giving of our time, know-how, energy, words of encouragement, and prayers when we have our own things going on can be liberating. Suddenly, there isn’t any room to hold onto those worries that weigh us down. Suddenly, we have to climb out of that pool of self-pity and change our tune from the “why me” blues. But, also, we might notice that we suddenly have the “space” to receive and the opportunity to grow.

Loosen your grip and create space for change.

Be encouraged.

Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at