I don't think anyone should spend too much time feeling sorry for themselves. Being "woe is me" all the time about everything is extremely tiring and horrendous to bear, not only for other people, but for the person who is getting in their own way by being a Negative Nancy all the time. But sometimes I do feel sorry for myself. It's a natural human emotion, and one you have to fight to get over when you feel it creeping in. It's okay to sometimes indulge that feeling, insofar as you might want to spend an evening on the couch crying and eating chocolates or whatever else it is you do when you've decided the world has constricted into a tiny bubble that includes only your head, and nothing else exists except your extreme sorrow.
Most of the time, indulging in a little bit of self-important wallowing is the best way to move on. I often feel that once I've wasted a day feeling sorry for myself, the next day I am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and ready to pick myself up by the seat of my pants and enthusiastically have at it again. Cleansing yourself of self-pity is important, because if you hang onto it it will make you unbearable and unproductive. My advice is, have a cry, and then get on with it. Do you think Beyoncé ever sat around moping about how her song didn't get to number one? No, she probably sobbed into her silk sheets for a bit, drank the blood of some baby deer under the light of the full moon, and then got back to trying to make a number one hit. Here are some things that it's okay to feel sorry for yourself about, for a little bit, from time to time:
1. When you stub your toe or hit a funny bone
Hitting an extremity in such a way that gives you immediate, mortifyingly sharp, overwhelming pain, entitles you to approximately three minutes of feeling sorry for yourself. Not only that, any loved one in your immediately vicinity must stroke you delicately, pretend like you might need ice on your injury but never actually get the ice because everyone knows you're actually fine, and generally feel briefly sorry for you also.
2. When someone does something awful to you for no reason
People are the worst sometimes, aren't they? Sometimes, completely out of the blue and entirely unprovoked, someone will hurt you. No one expects you to just be chill about that. And I give you complete permission to feel a little bit sorry for yourself when someone randomly blows in and ruins your life without warning. Don't feel sorry for yourself for too long though, the best revenge on people who hurt you is thriving despite the hurt they've caused you. Think Destiny's Child "Survivor".
3. When it's literally just raining crap on you
When I first moved to New York I had a minimum wage service industry job that just barely paid my rent and bills, and involved long hours and late nights. I couldn't afford to miss a shift, so when I was laid out with the flu, I went to work anyway. In the rain. Only to find out my shift was cancelled, but the manager had informed the wrong Kat. Meanwhile, they had given the wrong check to the wrong Kat too, so I had zero pay and rent due a few days later. They sent me home, and outside in the rain again, I cried in the street. It was very dramatic. Obviously nothing life-shattering had happened, but the incessant crap pouring down on me was very frustrating, and emotionally weak from being sick, I just had to let myself succumb to self pity for a moment, before taking myself back home to bed and chicken soup.
4. When something devastating and out of your control happens
Sometimes life gets tragic. As my mum would say, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going," but no one expects you to be a rock when true devastation wreaks havoc on your life. I don't think we should use these experiences as reasons to stop working hard at happiness, but at the same time, grieving is important. Whatever hardship befalls you in your life, don't let it define you. But take the time you need to feel as sad for yourself as you like. No one should begrudge you the process of mourning for whatever it is you're losing.
5. When you feel deathly sick (but are going to be fine in a day)
Man flu is the funniest to me because even the most stoic man is a self-pitying monster when ill. Meanwhile, if you're feverish, vomiting, or have any other temporary and minimally debilitating illness, you're well within your rights to throw up a little bit of drama. Just be prepared for your loved ones to have a little giggle to themselves as they bring you wet towels for your delicate little forehead.
6. When you're a clumsy idiot
I am constantly dropping things I need or love. I dropped my makeup mirror the other day. I ALWAYS drop my blush, and you know what happens when you drop a pressed powder. Moments of dropping are entitled to approximately one minute of deep, self-pitying melancholia. No more though, otherwise you're just being spoiled and superficial.
7. When you have your period (girls only, obviously)
No one gets to weigh in on this who hasn't had crippling period pain, or uncontrollable emotions, during their period. I don't want to pander to the stereotype that menstruating women are "crazy", but there are definitely challenges that come with bleeding out of your vagina for a week once a month and the haywire hormones that go with it. This is a good time to feel sorry for yourself, because you will probably wind up feeling sorry for yourself even if you don't want to. I always feel sorry for myself around my period because there's normally a day or two where everything makes me cry, and I feel sorry for the fact that I cannot stop crying.
8. When you let yourself down
I rarely feel as sorry for myself as I do when I let myself down. The most toxic thing to do when you've failed is to wallow in the misery of it. You need to pull your socks up, and not let yourself get into a funk. But personally, I find a good session of serious self-pity really helps me move on. Getting it all out makes it possible to move on without the baggage of uncertainty and fear of disappointment. So when you're your own worst enemy, beat yourself up about it, but only for a bit, because you're your own best friend too.