Miserable man, will you not see what opinion you pronounce on yourself? How do you appear to yourself? What manner of man in thought, in will to get and will to avoid: what manner of man in impulse, preparation, design, and the other activities of man? Yet you are concerned whether other men pity you?
'Yes, but they pity me when I do not deserve it.'
Is this what pains you? and is the man who is pained to be pitied?
Then you are not pitied without deserving it after all. By the very feelings you entertain in regard to pity you make yourself worthy of pity. What does Antisthenes say? Did you never hear? 'It is the part of a king, Cyrus, to do well and be ill-spoken of.' My head is sound and all think that I have a headache. What do I care? I am free from fever, and men sympathize with me as though I had fever: 'Unhappy man, this long time you have had fever without ceasing.' I put on a gloomy face and assent: 'It is quite true I have been ill for a long time.' 'What is to happen then?' 'What God wills': and as I say it I laugh in my sleeve at those who pity me.
Source: The Discourses of Epictetus, tr. by P.E Matheson,