Feeling Sorry For Yourself Is Okay
Sometimes Life Just Sucks
Or How to Give Yourself a Pity Party To Maintain Emotional and Mental Health
According to Wikipedia, there are 400 to 600 recognized methods of coping; and I quote:"Coping has been defined in psychological terms by Susan Folkman and Richard Lazarus as 'constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing' or 'exceeding the resources of the person'. Coping is thus expending conscious effort to solve personal and interpersonal problems, and seeking to master, minimize or tolerate stress or conflict."
When I was younger and living far from family, I would often get homesick. I'm not one for feeling sorry for myself and I think I have great coping skills. (If I didn't I would have been institutionalized years ago.) Despite those qualities I began to realize that feeling sorry for yourself is cathartic and even necessary for good mental health. So what did I do? I hosted Pity Parties for myself.
They were grand affairs. I'd spend a nice afternoon cleaning house (for some reason I can't sit still when I'm upset), sniffling, and basically wallowing in every little mean or bad thing that I felt anyone had every done to me. That lady who stepped on my toe and didn't say excuse me. That rude person on the phone. The fact that my mom favored my siblings over me. That raise I didn't get. The fact that I was always broke. Had a crappy boyfriend. And could really stand to lose 10lbs. That I was always the last one picked in school. My boring job. The lousy routine day after day of getting up, going to work, coming home, cooking dinner, watching TV, going to bed, and getting back up to do it all over again. Life sucked. It sucked big time. It sucked balls and I wasn't having any fun. No slight was too small to mull over.
I used to imagine that there was cake, ice cream, and party favors. This was the grandest party that had ever been held. It was one for the history books. Tears and snot were dripped everywhere, but I knew I would have one heck of a clean house and I would feel much, much better. The lousy boyfriend was kinda cute and the sex was great. At least I had job, some people didn't. I could lose 10lbs in a week. And rude and mean people were sending out bad karma that would boomerang around and smack them one upside their heads. I would just let karma take care of them.
After about an hour of this self-pitying "nonsense" (I'm too pragmatic to wallow for too long), I'd sniffle back some tears and get on with the business of living. The great thing about it (to my mind) was I didn't involve anyone else. I wasn't being an annoying drama queen in front of anyone and I was taking care of myself.
So the next time you feel low or put upon or unappreciated, throw yourself a pity party. Sob uncontrollably until you get the hiccups and can't catch your breath like you did when you were a kid. Light some candles, bake yourself a cake, hang streamers if you want. Pull down the shades, put on a blues record, get yourself a box of tissues, plant your butt on the couch and just let it all out. Then pour yourself a glass of wine and get some sliced cucumbers for your swollen eyelids and take yourself a nice long hot bath. Nobody ever needs to know.
I haven't had one of those parties for many years. I use other coping techniques now. So what do you do to get yourself emotionally back on track?