Shame and Self-Loathing

Huge problems happen when we embrace either extreme of pride. Let’s define the playing field and lay out the boundaries.

Imagine we are standing before the pride spectrum, front and center. It spans ten feet to the left, and ten feet to the right. Both are terrible places to be. Let’s walk over to the leftmost extreme.


The first extreme is shame and self-loathing. You end up here if you think too little of yourself. This is not good at all. Don’t ever confuse this with humility!

It is the feeling of worthlessness and disgust with yourself. Nothing is good enough and all you see are your failures. Everything you experience is miserable. You are in a dark pit and you refuse help from others because you feel most comfortable at the bottom, receiving pity from others.

You have some successes and victories, but largely you define yourself by your weaknesses, your deformities, your sad life experiences, and your failures.

This extreme is a bear trap of blame and victim thinking, holding you tightly.

Though the woman dwelling here is hopeless and ashamed to be there, she feeds on turning it into a stage with the spotlight focused only on her. If you had a bad day, her day was much worse. You have problems? She has many more than you do.

You are taking a vacation? She would love to take time off, if only she didn’t have three kids and a terrible income and huge student loans hanging over her head constantly.

She brags about her insecurities and awful experiences.

No matter what the topic is, it always comes back to her and her misery. She is secretly thrilled when good things don’t work out for others, because it pulls them closer to herself.

It’s tough to be around her. It drains those with hopes and aspirations. Friends who hang out with her trying to be her friend leave exhausted.

There’s no helping the person who refuses to take your hand — and is even proud of it.

Is it weird to think of self-pity as a symptom of pride? When are you like this?