Please note: I had this post written out earlier this week, but because I was dealing with a few things, I did not have a chance to actually post this. So here it is now, semi-edited to be more relevant to today. I hope you enjoy!:
Bad habits die hard. Bad habits that you aren’t fully consciously aware of die even harder. I’m all too familiar with the habit of throwing pity parties. And although, I didn’t quite know that they had a name, I definitely knew the behavior very well. My life has been a bit stressful lately, especially these last few weeks. I’ve been throwing myself multiple pity parties. I allowed myself to be consumed with my worries and anxiety. I sat there in the depths of my sorrow and I whined and complained about how everyone around me was at fault, when all the while, it really has always been in my control.
Thanks to my boyfriend for leading me to a principle in a Wayne Dyer book called, Your Sacred Self, and after doing some research on my own, I’ve opened up my mind to learning how stop throwing pity parties and instead taking responsibility for my own happiness and progress in my life. and some research on my own.
Although I was too caught up in my shroud of misery to actually learn the principle last week when he was telling me about it, I’ve now learned that we are in control of our own happiness and our reactions towards the happenings in our lives. Nobody else. To quote Mr. Dyer himself he says,
“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.”
To sum it up, Mr. Dyer is basically saying: GET OUT OF YOUR PITY PARTY AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN EMOTIONS.
Was that a bit too much?
But it was apparently loud enough for me to hear as I was trying to pull myself out of my own pity party and snap me back into progress mode.
Now what is a pity party, you say? It’s basically a few things. First it is being excessively self-absorbed in our own unhappiness and troubles. It is taking on that victim mindset of “why me?” or “what did I do to deserve this?”. It is seeking out condolence from everyone by whining about our circumstances and blaming external sources for our own despair.
When I learned about this definition, my first thought was, “what, no. I don’t do that. Right?” But then I realized it is EXACTLY what I do. But because I am so self-absorbed in my own sadness, anger, or frustration, I don’t realize that I am consciously doing this. I know there are a ton of us who are guilty of this bad habit, and many of us are not aware that we are even doing it.
Think about the last time something went wrong or was stressing you out excessively. Were you quick to blame outside circumstances as the cause of your unhappiness? Did you want to talk about it relentlessly to anyone who would listen and secretly enjoy when they would give you their compassion? Did you go on and on wasting time blaming things or people, when all the while you could’ve easily just changed the circumstance or done something about it to better the situation?
All signs of a pity party attendee.
Self-pity is a selfish response. It is one where we are so focused on ourselves and why we are so unfortunate, that we become ignorant to the fact that we have any real control or say over the situation. We look to others to solve our issues or to at least make us feel better.
The other little known fact that I learned was that self-pity is actually driven by pride! Who knew?! Pride makes us feel that we deserve better and when we feel unhappy and are pitying ourselves, we are basically lamenting over the fact that we have sacrificed so much or have done so much that we just don’t deserve the kind of sorrow that we feel.
See how easily it is to think that we are not throwing ourselves a pity party. In my mind, I would have never guessed that this was all driven by pride or selfish reasons. In my mind, I was simply venting out my frustrations, hoping that by doing so, something would resolve. But then I realized, what actually got resolved? NOTHING!
All I ended up doing was blaming all of these external circumstances for my own stress, when I could have easily taken responsibility for my emotions or actions and lessened the feeling of distress.
The cure to self-pity is humility. It is taking responsibility rather than blaming outside things or people. Of course, there may be times when outside things or people do cause us pain, hurt, or frustration, and I’m not saying that you should not feel those emotions, but what I am saying is not to continue living in them so that you are paralyzed into believing that you are stuck and there is no way to get out of the despair that you feel. There is always a way out of everything, even if it seems like an incredibly hopeless situation.
So what else can we do to stop throwing ourselves multiple pity parties and instead start living lives full of abundance and happiness? Here’s a few principles I’ve come up with.
Instead of blaming others or outside circumstances, realize that you, too, are part of the problem in some way, even if you may not see it. Take a good look at your own actions. Maybe there is something that you might have done or said that contributed to the issue. Usually in every problem, we are partly at fault. Don’t stay in that victim mentality that only enables you to feel stuck, instead take control by understanding you do have that choice.
2.What can you change?
Once you realize that you can change your circumstances, figure out what is the root cause of your stress or unhappiness. Are there toxic people in your life that you need to cut out or create stricter boundaries with? Do you have any destructive habits that need nixing? Can you change or improve in an area in your life where you may feel stuck in – a job, relationship, personal issue, etc? Maybe it is the way you are reacting emotionally – are you a bit negative? Take little steps to create change so that you will feel that you have control over your own happiness.
3. Realize that Life isn’t fair and it was never promised to be.
Stop comparing your life to others. Just because one person has something you don’t have (yet), doesn’t mean that you need to feel that it is unfair and begin to feel sorry for yourself that you don’t have it. Life isn’t fair. And the quicker you are able to believe this truth, the less stressed or upset you will feel. Remember that you are worthy of good things and that these good things will come into your life when you are ready for receiving them. The reality is there will always be good and bad days, but just because the bad ones exist, doesn’t mean we should give them more weight in determine our happiness.
4. Remember you aren’t special.
Ok. You are special, but only to yourself (and to those who love you.) But as far as the universe goes, you aren’t the exception when it comes to facing adversities. Just like everyone else, you will face hard times and you will go through troubles. Just because you feel that you don’t deserve something, doesn’t mean it’s going to stop it from happening. Take the good and the bad. Learn from the bad. Make the best of the bad. But don’t feel bad just because something bad is happening to you. Its power over you will pass as soon as you learn to accept it and choose your reaction towards it.
5. You will survive.
Last but not least, you will survive because that’s what you are built to do at your most primal self. Remind yourself that you have gone through tough times before, and even though you believed you couldn’t possibility make it through, you are here – so obviously you survived. And just because it feels terrible right now, doesn’t mean it always will be. It will pass and you will survive until it’s passing.
So there you go. Do me a favor and don’t go throwing yourself any more pity parties. It’s not good for you. It’s not good for me. And it’s not good for the rest of humanity, because honestly, ain’t nobody got time for that. Take charge of your own life and your own happiness. If you feel a bit down, remember, you can change that. You can change your attitude or you do something that might make you feel better, but don’t go around complaining about it and not doing anything to make it actually better.
The Self Love Daily Challenge:
No more pity parties. Follow the five principles to beat the habit of self-pity. And start living a better life where you take control of your own happiness.