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Pity

  • ... self-pity is better than none.

  • ... pity is an agreeable sentiment, uplifting like military music.

  • Self-pity is the simplest luxury.

  • ... self-pity had always been her sincerest emotion ...

  • I seem to be the only person in the world who doesn't mind being pitied. If you love me, pity me. The human state is pitiable: born to die, capable of so much, accomplishing so little; killing instead of creating, destroying instead of building, hating instead of loving. Pitiful, pitiful.

  • ... pity can bind you closer than love. You feel that you owe more to pity than you do to love. Love gives you joy; pity, pain. And isn't what pain says more to be trusted than what joy says?

    • Jessamyn West,
    • "Up a Tree," Collected Stories of Jessamyn West ()
  • ... too great pity is the greatest cruelty.

    • Catherine of Siena,
    • 1372, in Vida D. Scudder, ed., St. Catherine of Siena As Seen in Her Letters ()
  • Pity is love in undress.

  • We pity people too often for the wrong reasons.

  • 'You've totally taken all the charm and romance out of self-pity for me, I'll tell you that for nothing,' Suzanne's best friend Lucy told her one day.

  • It made him easier to be pitiful, / And sighing was his gift.

  • But human nature cannot be content on a diet of honey and if there is nothing in one's life that requires pity, one must invent it; for to go through life unpitied would be an unthinkable loss.

  • Self-pity shortens your life ...

  • Self-pity in its early stage is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.

  • ... I'm part of an old piety that suffers in silence and calls it virtue. And is the very devil to live with.

  • ... an ounce of help is worth more than a pound of pity any day ...

  • ... pity runs its course. An hour comes when no hand but your own can build your future.

  • [On her mastectomy:] Pity is delicious. I was crazy about the pity I got. It was the best kind, too. I did not get, nor did I want, the drooling, mewing kind. I preferred something more restrained but deep-felt. Quality pity.

  • I think some people cling to anger because to have been wronged makes them feel right. And they recite the horrors done to them as if they were saying a prayer inviting the gods to give them points for each wrong that they've endured. So important is it to them to confirm their rightness, that they dust off their hurts as often as they can and polish them until they gleam — feeling somehow that by so doing they have earned their keep. And they puff themselves up with their moral indignation like a child clings to a teddy bear for protection in the dark of the night. It's as if they feel that if there is a bad guy, there must also be a good guy, and the worse the other guy is the better that makes them. And like the person who needs a triumph a day to keep his angst about his own powerlessness away, the person who believes in good guys and bad guys always needs a bad guy to affirm himself.

  • Pity is exhaustible. What a terrible discovery!

  • ... nothing is so binding as pity.

  • All pity is self-pity.

    • Cynthia Ozick,
    • "Envy; Or, Yiddish in America," The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories ()
  • A rotten sterile business — pity.

  • It is extremely difficult to draw tears from blockheads, except when muddled; and then they talk of themselves, and are pathetic.

  • ... the teeth of self-pity had gnawed away her essential self.

  • Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while, a great wind is bearing me across the sky.

  • Pity is a corroding thing.

  • Self-pity is, perhaps, the least becoming of all emotions, and we often indulge in it only beause we are too exhausted to resist.

  • I'm not particularly keen on pity. Pity takes something away from grief. People think they're sharing it, but really they're just taking some. I prefer to keep my grief intact.

  • There are few human emotions as warm, comforting, and enveloping as self-pity. And nothing is more corrosive and destructive. There is only one answer: turn away from it and move on.

    • Megan Reik,
    • in Richard Shea, ed., The Book of Success ()
  • Pity is something only weakness wants.

  • Pity makes a thin drink, indeed.

  • I think I love most people best when they are in adversity; for pity is one of my prevailing passions.

    • Mary Wollstonecraft,
    • letter to George Blood (1785), in Janet M. Todd, ed., The Collected Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft ()