Compassion or Pity | The BridgeMaker

Compassion or Pity

By on Dec 29, 2013


If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. – Dalai Lama

I was recently asked if self-compassion played a role in getting past the mistakes I’ve made in my life.

First, let’s clarify compassion or pity. Pity seems to be what most people go to first; being the easiest way to not take all the blame for something that is or was your own doing. There may be others involved, but remember you and only you made the choice to do what you did.

For me, it was the first instinct to have the “poor me” attitude. Not only is that of no help, but it makes it that much easier to make the same mistakes again. Without a doubt it is hard to pick yourself up after your actions have devastated everyone around you.

But it can be done!

Sure, you can feel bad, even horrible, for what you’ve done, but you have to try to feel better about what you’re going to do.

Have a Little Compassion

Having self-compassion is a great tool for any situation, not just what I’ve gone through; the idea of saying, “Yes, I’ve make some mistakes but it is ok, I can make it better.”

Self-compassion can be spread out across a wide plain: from how you feel about yourself, how you look at yourself, even how you think others look at you.

By no means am I saying what I did was ok, but at some point I had to stop beating myself up for it and say “I’m not that guy, I’m better than that!”

Admitting your mistake and knowing its fixable and taking steps to do so is a great start. Be aware the mistakes you make trying to fix things are ok too. Have a little compassion.

The compassion for a child or elderly person is the same you should have for yourself. You’re pretty much doing what they are doing, learning something new or again. Either way you would not yell at a child or elderly people, so why do it to yourself?

To be able to fix and get past what you’ve done and the mistakes you’ve made, self-compassion is a much healthier approach than self-pity or worse, self-abuse. It’s quite ok to know that you’re not perfect.

Even at my age, I still have to be compassionate. I don’t always make the right choice or say the right thing…just ask my wife.

I would have to say that keeping your heart and mind open and realizing your mistakes can be fixed are the most important things in life.

Know that the road you’re on may be a long, slow ride but it’s so worth the trip. Always push for better, but know it may not always be better. Don’t be so hard on yourself when things don’t go as planned.

As long as you stay focused on your goals, keep your head up and don’t get discouraged, you’ll do fine. I have to keep in mind what I did was absolutely not ok, but knowing the uphill road to repairing what I’ve done will have its roadblocks, potholes, stop signs, and detours is ok and worth it.

I’ll get there, I’m not giving up. It’s not too hard. Instead of, “I’ll never get there,” “I’m giving up,” or, “It’s too hard.” This to me is the difference of self-compassion from self-pity.

Stop punishing yourself for what you did, and have some compassion for what you’re about to go through.

Pete Giannini (@chasereight) is the drummer for original, female-fronted rock group Chaser Eight. He is a recovering drug addict and struggles everyday with staying sober and keeping his mind on positive thoughts. Living where the band is based in West Haven, CT, Pete has been sober for over four years and with Chaser Eight he has just completed his second studio album "At The 426." You can find out more about Pete and Chaser Eight at

  • Although what you are saying makes perfect sense, how do you help someone who is having a pity party? How do you make that person understand that they must take responsibility for what they have or have not done? How do you make that person understand that nothing will get better until they take take that responsibility?

    • Chaser Eight

      I think you just show them compassion and love. And support them on the journey of understanding it for themselves,

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