I don’t know how many of you have seen the movie “Big Eyes” about the artist Margaret Keane and her Big Eyed Waif paintings. It is an amazing story of a woman who found her saving grace in painting out her feelings, often of sadness, grief and anger. While you may not know her name you will be able to recognize her paintings.
Margaret gave up her identity as creator of the paintings. She painted in secret, allowing her husband to take credit for executing the works. For 15 years, her husband reaped accolades as the most popular painter of the time. Margaret spent hours fulfilling commissions and painting away. She was prolific and had a genuine, expressive style which her husband Walter capitalized on, making him famous and forcing her to live a life of lies, but as Margaret has mentioned…it was her choice. Which, no doubt, brought her great sadness.
Beside having big eyes in all of her paintings, her style carries an inherent sadness and often tells a story. Especially her paintings before her divorce from Kean in 1965.
Sadness, is part of life. I have been dealing with some sadness in my own life. What I have discovered is that sadness can turn into self-pity.
I happen to think that self-pity “SP” weaves a very tight trap, a sort of fence around things like grief, sickness, loneliness, anger. Self-pity is clever, in that it seems “right”. It’s one of those “I DESERVE IT” emotions. I deserve to be pitied, I deserve to spend my time thinking about poor pitiful me. It’s also one of those “I DON’T DESERVE IT” emotions.
Sadness and Self Pity
Now I know that some folks aren’t going to like this post, because SP is a much vaunted and loved emotion for Americans. We have a right to SP! Don’t we? I guess it does make you feel better…or does it? Self pity is a self indulgent attitude concerning life’s hardships. While self pity is a big topic, here are a couple of things I’ve seen in my life and others about SP. Some are helpful and some will be bell ringers for you.
1. Don’t make a habit out of self-pity, it makes you unpopular. Self-pity is a choice.
2. Your drama life becomes boring to others; crying wolf too many times makes you a laughing stock behind your back.
3. Find a way to shine, a creative outlet, a way of helping others.
4. Start a gratitude list nightly; you may find this practice hard, but I promise it gets easier.
5. Remember that no matter how difficult, strengthen yourself with joy– the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Neh. 8:10
6. Recognize your worth to God – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
7. Keep looking for the good of what you will learn and the strength of character you can develop out of this SP circumstance.
8. Remember you are not in total control, but you do have choices – He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. Deut. 32:4
Sadness to Joy….and you?
By the way Margaret is 87 and still painting! You can see her originals and prints displayed here. I would love to hear a story about how you have dealt with sadness and self pity in your life.