Nothing destroys a person like self-pity. We have all experienced this feeling in one way or another. It instigates depression, inhibits development, makes a person “short-circuit” on himself and closes the doors to heaven.
The consequences of such false compassion are resentment, remembrance of wrongs, rancor, despondency, laziness, and so on. Self-pity is rooted in pride and conceit.
Self-pity is a sign of cowardice and weakness; it is evil in its purest form. A strong-minded person deliberately eradicates such malicious pity from his heart. A strong spirit always serves good and never supports evil.
The famous weightlifter, publicist and a world famous Olympian Yuri Petrovich Vlasov is an example of such a strong person in all respects. He was the idol of several generations, not only in the Soviet Union, but also abroad. The Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example, dreamed of meeting Vlasov from a young age.
Yuri Vlasov was distinguished by amazing honesty, sincerity, conscientiousness and decency. He did not look like an average athlete; he was smart, erudite and has written several dozen books. Yuri trained during the day and wrote books at night. He aroused admiration in everything that he did.
Yuri Vlasov, with all his heroic appearance, was extremely delicate and shy; he was afraid of offending a person and treated everyone like a crystal vase. In the 1960s, he was considered the strongest man on the planet.
The multiple world champion said that strength should affirm the greatness of the spirit and the beauty of overcoming. According to his belief, that constitutes its great justice.
Not every person can discover this power in himself. Vlasov went through the mill of betrayal, colleagues’ envy, injustice, abandonment of sports, serious injuries and surgeries, oblivion and the loss of loved ones. He was able to overcome unbearable pain and immobility and managed to break through the darkness. The athlete’s success did not come soon; it took him several years to understand what was keeping him in chains. His body practically disintegrated before everyone’s eyes. In Yury’s own words, a feeling of self-pity was corroding his soul and body and taking all his strength.
Seeing his main enemy, Vlasov declared war on him and won. His life began to improve. Soon he regained excellent shape and returned to big-time sports as a coach. Yuri Vlasov was the kind of person who always remembered about the eternity in everyday life. During his training, and the sleepless nights that he spent reading and thinking, he analyzed the connection between the spirit and the body and eventually came to the conclusion that the spirit controls the body, and not vice versa. Yury’s strong spirit and conscience, as well as his personal will for the good and justice helped him realize his potential becoming a champion and a true man . He never let his glory do any evil for his soul.
Vlasov was a model of strength and unbending spirit. But his strength was never merely for the strength’s sake. Once he recalled: “Things have been different for me at different tomes of my life. I cannot say that my health has always been excellent. I underwent three serious surgeries (a tumor after a barbell hit me in the arm and two operations on the spine, when my family was warned that I was unlikely to survive). I did not die after the operation only thanks to sports, which had trained my will and gave me strong spirit. But sport has never been the goal and the only meaning for me. Rather it has always been the means to achieve some overarching goals.”
These goals included staying true to himself, not compromising with the spirit of the times, never acting against conscience and protecting the weak. He taught others not to give up in the face of difficulties, no matter how great they seem.
Vlasov remained in the memory of millions as a knight of spirit and strength.
Self-pity is a trick that the devil uses to prevent a person from unlocking all the potential given by God. Self-pity produces fear. Vlasov’s example shows the incredible heights of self-actualization and the ability to overcome difficult life conditions that can be achieved by a person who is not afraid or feeling sorry for himself.
The Lord has awarded us with an extraordinary potential that we can hardly imagine. Many of us have not even fulfilled a tenth part of it. Fears and self-pity keep us within the narrow framework of human logic, which does not allow the Divine to enter our life and give it the necessary impulse for maximum realization, development and salvation.
The minute we accept the thought that we are underestimated or offended, we immediately lose and slide down to the foot of the mountain, ascending which constitutes our life.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds