I received an interesting comment to my blog Going Out on a Date Shouldn’t Be So Much Work.
“… I think if Irene really wanted to go out with her neighbor, she would have been able to find a time they could both agree to, like Wednesday. But, she didn't. I think, at some point in the conversation, she changed her mind. Probably not so excited about a man that takes his laundry that seriously. …”
I agree. In many ways it is an accurate assessment. I too believe Irene didn’t want to go on that date. And she did change her mind about it. But the reason for this was not what it appeared to be on the surface.
She believed it was the guy’s fault and that she had really wanted to see him. Otherwise she wouldn’t be complaining to me about a failed date, but instead tell me something like “I heard his voice and something just turned me off.” Or “his laundry shouldn’t be that important, I lost interest when I heard that.”
Here is the underlying reason for her behavior.
As we saw, Irene did everything for the date not to happen, coming up with a reason to say “no” to the man every time. And though her sabotaging of their date wasn’t conscious, she did sabotage it.
The deeper truth is that Irene had a hidden agenda. Hidden from herself, because she wouldn’t look at herself closely and with an eye to understand what was behind so many of her disappointments in so many areas of her life.
For example, she has been looking for a new place to move for over a year, but she still can’t find it. She believes “she works too hard and makes too little money.” She is in her mid forties and hasn’t had a good relationship with a man in many years, something she claims she really wants. In fact she complains about her life all the time. She also sighs a lot and says nothing.
Does she remind you of someone you know? Someone who never gets what she wants? Probably so. I would also bet that you are beginning to avoid that person.
And who can blame you? Self-pity is a very unpleasant energy. And we try to stay away from it as much as we can.
Yes, Irene’s hidden agenda is self-pity. More than agenda, for her it has become an addiction. She has been feeling sorry for herself for so long, that now she just needs to swallow a dose of it periodically. And if she has no reason to feel it, she will create a reason.
She will create being disappointed. It is not that hard.
Thus in the story I told you, she got exactly what she wanted. Disappointment. Or more precisely – another excuse to feel sorry for herself.
The agenda of self-pity is not benign, harmless or innocent. It is one of the most destructive things we can do to ourselves. It is also behind every problem we have in our lives. Individually and as humanity.
I wrote a lot about it in my book The Power of the Possible.
Just look at anything in your life that is not working and see if there isn’t self-pity lurking behind. If there is, tell yourself the truth and get rid of it as quickly as you can. Often just becoming aware of it is all it takes to let it go.