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How to throw a pity party for yourself
When you feel sorry for yourself...
When you are feeling sorry for yourself, you go through two phases. The Pity Party Phase and then you move onto Poor Me Syndrome. The Pity Party and Poor Me Syndromes are all essential parts of life. When your energy is all sapped out, you've been let down by something or someone and everything becomes too much for you, you throw a Pity Party. Initially, you are the only person invited to this party, as you feel so sorry for yourself, you don’t think of inviting anyone else. You believe you are so worthless, nobody would want to come and join in the ‘fun’. We feel so sorry for ourselves, mope around as if we have the world on our shoulders, look so down and depressed. People constantly ask us what’s wrong, and we always reply, “Nothing.”
Many of us, caught up in the current global credit crisis, might find ourselves spiralling out of control, as things fall apart around us. This is a normal reaction to something bad that happens. It doesn't suddenly mean that you are bipolar or suffering from clinical depression. When things are bad, we get down. This is a fact of life. It's understanding why you are down and steps you can take to get back to your normal self again, which is the key thing here. Part of being in the Pity Party mode, is being a martyr. Everybody can see that something is wrong, but you are brave and strong and can carry the world on your shoulders. I’m surprised that people don’t have to spray air freshener when we walk into the room, as the smell of a burning martyr must be bad!
Okay, so you're all upset and need to throw yourself a pity party just to get the sadness and sense of defeat out of your system. That's all right as long as you know when to stop the pity party, send the sad ‘you’ away and then move on and get on with your life. The important thing is that your pity party is controlled and doesn't get out of hand. It is normal to feel sad and sorry for yourself when things get too much or go wrong. It is good to let go of those emotions, rather than holding onto them and bottling them up inside. So, here's how to arrange a pity party for yourself.
DO NOT TRY THIS IF YOU ARE CLINICALLY DEPRESSED OR ARE ON MEDICATION FOR DEPRESSION.
1. Let a close friend know that you are planning a pity party. Invite them over to just be a presence in your home, but not sit with you while you have your party. Alternatively, arrange a time that they'll come round or phone you to help you end the party.
2. Remove any medications or potential weapons from your room.
3. Close the curtains and put on some mournful music.
4. Focus on all the things in your life that make you unhappy.
5. Think of all the little things that bother you.
6. Suspect everybody and think of what ulterior motives they might have.
7. Condemn yourself and others for not being perfect.
8. Get yourself a good worry and focus on it.
9. Compare yourself unfavourably to others.
10. Take everything people have said to you personally.
11. Blame yourself for everything that went wrong.
12. Have a good cry about everything. Make sure you have a box of tissues handy.
13. Get everything out of your system. Make sure you concentrate on everything that's made you unhappy in the past, so that unhappiness appears to be the aim of your life.
14. Now, change your focus and start thinking about what brings you joy, hope and happiness. What makes you laugh out loud? Think about plans you can make to change whatever caused the pity party in the first place. Brainstorm all the pros and cons of all the options that you think would change the situation you are in. Have a pen handy and write them down.
15. Think about good things that have happened to you, however minor.
16. Open the curtains and let in some natural light.
17. Turn off the mournful music and put on some loud, energetic, dance music. Ppreferably one you know the words of and can sing along to.
18. Have a lingering bath or a shower and imagine that you are washing all the unhappiness and misery away.
19. Contact your friend you spoke to at the start of your pity party. Let them know that you're okay and arrange to share a coffee, slab of chocolate or wine or two with them.
20. Steer the conversation to happy topics and keep a smile on your face, however idiotic you might think it looks!
Pity parties are a good way to get rid of all your bad feelings. People who tend to bottle everything up inside themselves, do tend to explode at a later date, usually at an inappropriate time. If you think of yourself as a kitbag, then all your past hurts, bad feelings and sad thoughts are all the ‘junk’ you stuff into the kitbag. Sooner or later that kitbag will be so full, that no more hurts can be stuffed inside it. It really is a good idea to empty it out occasionally. The trick, though, is not to stay in the pity party mode for too long. You don’t want to end up with everbody avoiding you as they think you are a ‘whining poor me’ type of person! Because, let’s be honest here, people tend to gravitate towards happy positive people. They’ll be patient and listen to your whining up to a certain point, then they’ll put you in the ‘too hard basket’.
The Poor Me Syndrome follows the Pity Party. The Poor Me Syndrome is where you simply just have to tell everybody about what you did to help somebody, or what just went wrong in your life, how it all turned against you, and how you’re suffering as a result. The listener will look at you with an incredulous expression, tell you how marvellous and fantastic you are for trying to help someone who didn’t deserve to be helped in the first place or how unlucky you are in life or love, and sympathise with you now for the predicament you’re in.
Poor Me Syndrome isn’t about getting people to feel sorry for you, that’s just one of the side-effects of the Syndrome. Poor Me Syndrome is all about getting people to recognise you for what you tried to do, people to admire you, respect you. You usually tell your listener to keep it in confidence, and blah…blah…blah…you blurt out everything. They empathise, tell you how wonderful you are, and subconsciously, you know that it’s human nature to spread the news. The listener will tell everybody what sacrificial things you did to help someone, or how brrave you are for trying to endure through a bad period in your life, and everybody will be so supportive towards you for what you’re going through now. This is the reward you look for when you go into Poor Me Syndrome – universal acknowledgement. “Look at me, poor me, look what I’m going through as a result…”
When you pick yourself up, recharge your batteries and move on and become strong again, everybody will admire you even more. People think that Poor Me Syndrome is all about you wanting people to feel sorry for you. They are so wrong, Poor Me Syndrome is wanting people to recognise you for your true worth. You want admiration and all this is, is an ego building thing. It has nothing to do with pity That is reserved for the Pity Party phase. Even then, it’s not really pity you are after. You just want to be seen and recognised as someone special. In a nutshell, you are wanting to build up your self-esteem.
Listeners fall into the trap of getting caught up in the whole drama, and they think it’s their role to offer the Poor Me Syndrome people advice on how to cope with the drama, what do to about the situation, and how best to rid themselves of the problem. What they don’t realise, is that people with Poor Me Syndrome aren’t after their advice. They are not interested in it and nine times out of ten aren’t going to even use it. People with Poor Me Syndrome are just feeding off the Listener’s energy and sapping them dry, using their energy to recharge their batteries and regain their strength. Luckily, Poor Me Syndrome is just a short phase that won't last long if you've thrown yourself a proper pity party.
Unfortunately, on the down side, many good friendships end during this phase, when the listeners get tired and frustrated of listening to problems, giving advice that isn’t taken, and hearing the same stories over and over again. It can be tedious for them and is definitely exhausting and energy sapping. No matter how wonderful a friend you are in reality, the Poor Me Syndrome can kill a good friendship.
So, throw yourself a Pity Party following the guidelines above, so that you can rapidly progress through the Poor Me Syndrome back to your normal, happy, 'fun to be with kind of person' again. Because, as it says in the Bible time and time again, "This too shall pass." And it will. You'll look back and wonder why you ever let that situation get you down the way it did. Feel sorry for yourself, have a cry, tell everybody about it, then start working on plan A, plan B and plan C to get you out of the mess. Take solace in the fact, that yes, you will get out of the mess. We always do.
Adapted from the book I wrote called Fear, Phobias and Frozen Feet.
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