I have a confession. I showed up for a party with my invitation in hand feeling very righteous about being there.
It was a good ol’ fashioned, self-induced pity party!
One night while traveling in Vermont, I found myself alone on a bench in a beautiful town feeling bummed and disillusioned and sorry for myself. And it wasn’t long before I felt the hangover of too much pity partying.
I felt an ache in my heart, and a heaviness in my being and disconnected from everything. I sat there
Deep down I knew this wasn't the first time I had spent ( and wasted) a large block of time simply feeling sorry for myself. I'd allowed thoughts of disappointment to sneak in and rob me of WHAT IS because the picture in my head of what I thought would make me happy didn't match my reality. It wasn't “going” the way I thought it should and so I slipped down into the tub of unpleasant emotions and soaked there until everything felt wrinkled and shrively (ok, that’s not a real word, but it’s how my fingers look when I stay in the bath too long, so go with me).
But isn’t it all perspective?
We make up a story. We choose to wallow in it. We choose to use it as evidence to support the negative thoughts, beliefs, and stories about how it’s not happening, we can’t do it, it won’t work, it’s our last chance, we aren’t ever gonna be good enough, or how we can't trust anyone. Perhaps it’s how we aren’t ever appreciated, or we’ll always be struggling. Whatever it is I eventually picture myself with my arms crossed singing a childhood song- "nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I'm going to go eat worms" ( Anyone else remember that?)
As I sat there on the bench, I realized how my feelings of disappointment and sadness were exacerbated by this fight to prove that essentially, I had earned this victim position better than anyone else. And as I sat there feeling sorry for myself, I was missing the spectacular sunset that was happening right in front of me.
When we stay focused on what isn’t, we miss the beauty of right now. We miss the part of the story that illuminates the moment as the first step toward what we are searching for. Every hero’s journey includes obstacles, disappointments, sometimes a point so low that is the precursor to the hero rising.
And although there may be fear, doubt, sadness, and uncertainty surrounding taking the next step, it won’t happen if we are stuck in self-pity and if we fight for our right to be victimized by our circumstances.
So, what do we do when we have a pity party hangover?
We start by allowing ourselves to feel what it is we are feeling and then to ask "what is the belief this feeling is validating for me?"
Then we take good care of our heart and our body. We eat a nourishing meal, we take a long hot shower, we go for a walk, we curl up on the couch, we talk to our best friend, we get a good night’s sleep.
Then, we find appreciation for what is right now. What is the beauty of right now?
This will help you go within to conjure up our courage through a new mindset. We find our determination by deciding…NO MORE.
I no longer choose THAT. I no longer choose that way of being, I no longer choose that limited view of myself, I no longer fight for the victim position. I no longer choose to focus on that old story.
Instead, I CHOOSE to get up ANYWAY. I choose to be proud of myself anyway. I choose to connect with an open heart anyway. I choose to love and celebrate anyway. I choose to take a step in a different direction (even when I don’t know if it’s the right step.
Pity has no place here anymore. It's time to leave that party.
There is a beautiful sunset to watch.