Have you ever felt like you got handed the short end of the stick on something? Like you gave your all — 110 percent — and it went unnoticed? Like you are undervalued, underappreciated and maybe just misunderstood?
This has been a recent struggle. After an exhausting effort of giving and giving, I backed myself into a corner of feeling like I was owed something. It has been as if my inner child has been screaming “THIS IS NOT FAIR!”
And once my mind gets set on something like that, it is convinced that I am, in fact, owed something. Like I am being overlooked in all avenues of my life. Like I push and push and it never gives.
It’s a dark street to be on, self-pity. And can be awfully lonely as well. No one wants to hear about how “bad” I have it. Or, they listen and agree with me which only pushes me further into the hole of self-doubt.
Attempting to climb out is atrocious, like the muddy walls can’t hold my grip. Instead my mind takes over and the top becomes further and further away. If someone or some part of my life could just throw me a rope here, I would greatly appreciate it.
And when I finally got too overwhelmed to attempt to climb out by myself, I did what I should have done in the first place. I turned to God.
As He is always on time, He sent my rope in the form of four small words out of my 5 year old’s mouth. Echoing my own tone, she declared to my 3 year old who hadn’t gotten her way that, “Life isn’t always fair, Reagan.”
Hey! I taught her that. Wait a second here, I taught her that. The one wallowing, thinking that the obstacles in my day-to-day life should vanish and opportunities should be served on a platter.
Whoa. Talk about an eye-opening boomerang hitting me smack dab in the forehead. There I was throwing an internal temper tantrum no different than that of my 3 year old’s and yet trying to preach to my kids about life not being fair. What a hypocrite!
Thankfully, most of my fit throwing was internalized — or at least kept from my babies — so I didn’t completely chuck that lesson out the window. However, my sweet girl’s reminder gave me the opportunity to reevaluate my outlook.
No, life is not fair. Maybe I am doing twice the tasks, but as a trusted friend pointed out, that means I am getting twice as much done. And what an optimistic eye-opening thought that is, that I get to be the one getting so much done — accomplishing so much.
When I promoted the feeling of being owed something, I completely lost the feeling of accomplishment. Bitterness and distress outshone humbleness and humility.
I’d like to tell you that I had an epiphany that day, that I jumped right out of that hole of self-pity and embraced my blessings full on. While the trek out began that day, I feel like this may be a journey rather than a one-time lesson.
I mean, there are going to be times throughout my life where my “unfair” circumstances completely consume my core. If I let it overtake my thoughts, I can easily be thrown back down in that pit. I’m not going to say that this won’t happen again, that I have been cured of self-pity.
But I will say I pray about it daily. This has been on the top of my self-improvement list since my daughter unknowingly executed my own lesson. And thankfully, I am no longer seeking daily to get out of that hole, but instead, I am not letting myself get pushed back in so I can look around at all that I have been blessed with at the top.
Sometimes, being a magnificent mom, a wondrous wife, an exceptional employee, a devoted daughter, a stupendous sister and a fantastic friend (at least in my own head), will go unnoticed. The praise, the appreciation, the promotion may not come quite as quickly as hoped, it if comes at all.
But that doesn’t mean I cannot be better. Maybe, just maybe (and this is hard to admit), I can do more. Not for the justification of other people but for the pursuit of meaning, happiness, God’s love and eternal life.
And when I feel extra needy, I just keep reminding myself that my undeserving-of-death Savior, who could have played the self-pity card during the most unfair circumstance, gave His life so I could be blessed with this one. And I have certainly been given a good one — even if it won’t always be fair.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.