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How can you transform your thinking, and thereby your action and life


Frustration flows from our desire to be liked, right, understood or appreciated. Frustration can also occur when you want a circumstance to turn out a certain way and it doesn't. Frustration can quickly flip us into self-pity which walks hand-in-hand with selfishness.

Do you want to really fly in life? The one who commits themselves to seeing the positive in the midst of negative moments in life create for themselves a power position that leads to successful outcomes. Could an eagle soar if it fixated on its own wings? No, in order to fly we must forget about ourselves, our expectations and assumptions and focus on the opportunities for expansion contained in flight.

Think about this for a moment. When was the last time you felt frustration? Did you have an expectation on yourself for a certain outcome that you did not experience? Perhaps you felt misunderstood, overlooked or under-appreciated? Did you slip into self-pity? Frustration can be a spring-board into the quick sand of self-pity if you are not careful.

Self-pity is defined as a self-indulgent dwelling on one's own sorrows or misfortunes. When you wallow in self-pity you physiologically restrict executive thinking. Your ability to tune into possible solutions and opportunities in the midst of the misfortune are blocked. The quick sand of self-focus associated with self-pity swallows up your ability to tune into available resources for support and restoration and you become your struggle.

When I was diagnosed with advanced cancer one week prior to my final divorce court date with three young children I had my quick sand moments of self-pity that rendered me incapable of tuning into the light at the end of the tunnel. Thankfully I quickly learned that that nothing thrives or heals when I give the struggle the power to define what I am capable of overcoming and moving through.

What struggle do you face today? Have you given your struggle the power to define you and your attitude? If you are going to go to the trouble of throwing a pity party you might as well be successful at it.

Before you choose the path of self-pity I encourage you to reflect on several ways self-pity will keep you stuck in the struggle, revised from Nine Attitudes that Keep You Happy, Joyce Meyer Radio. Remember that you are the landlord of your mind. You have the power to evict those thoughts that fuel paralysis in the midst of pain.

One of the quickest ways to flip your thinking when life doesn't show up the way you want it to is to simply look for an opportunity to help another person who is struggling. Our greatest joy comes in the measure through which we serve. Is there someone in your near field (the relationships you have with other people) who can benefit from your time and attention? When I was able to help one of my children move through a struggle I forgot about my own pain.

The first sign that you are about to enter into self-pity comes when you refuse to receive a positive statement like: "Things will get better." Protecting your struggle is a sure sign that you (your identity, beliefs and capabilities) have become captive to the struggle.

When you recognize the disempowering ways self-pity slithers into your perceptions you can then take action and refuse to throw the pity party. Below are 8 ways that will help you throw a successful pity party and stay stuck in your struggle:


  1. Blame others.
  2. Be negative and pessimistic. Feed on the assumption of bad news.
  3. Resent cheerful people. If someone says, "It's not going to be that bad", respond with, "It's going to get worse I'm telling you. I've got it bad now and I know more bad news is coming."
  4. Seek out sympathy and talk about your problem as much as possible, pulling in evidence that things really are THAT BAD.
  5. Declare that your struggle is worse anyone else's. If another person says they didn't sleep well last night, you say, "I haven't slept in a month." If someone says they have a head ache and it's been a long day, you say, "I have had a headache for a week and worked 10-hour days for 7 days in a row."
  6. Refuse any advice that will help you get out of your situation, ruminate on the fact that no one understands you or what you are going through.
  7. Be insensitive to what other people are going through. Your own pain and struggle blind you to the needs of those around you. Selfishness and self-pity walks hand in: "I can't see you when I am focused on me." You don't have time to attend to other people's needs, you have enough to struggle with in your own life.
  8. Withdraw, be alone, don't engage in meaningful talk, stay at home. The more alone you are and the dingier your surroundings, the worse you can feel about yourself.

Remember this: You are not the struggle unless you choose to be. You cannot be powerful and pitiful at the same time. When you think a negative thought the brain actually releases a chemical that excites the brain, which is why you can become addicted to negative thinking. Persistence in firing positive thoughts to override negative thoughts leads to the creation of new messaging systems within your brain.

Your thoughts create your attitude towards life. Your attitude is your closest friend or worst enemy and you get to create it each day. Is life for you or against you? Your choice of response will either unlock the possible or lock you up in the impossible. Choose wisely, your life experience depends upon it.

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Lauren Miller

Lauren E Miller, has a masters in adult education with a certification in human resource development. She has personally conquered two of life's top stressors at the same time, advanced cancer and divorce. Now Google's No. 1 Stress relief expert, award-winning author, speaker and certified executive and life coach, Miller provides process driven programs with structure, guidance, support and accountability designed to create positive change in behavior resulting in positive impact on business (IOB) and life purpose. For more on her work in the world please visit her main website: LaurenEMiller.com .

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