The choices we make determine the sum total of our lives. We all experience events that are out of our control, but our reaction to them is well within our control. In fact, we are the only ones who can choose our reactions.
When bad things happen, we tend to throw ourselves a pity party, and invite everyone we know to attend. We even indirectly invite people we don’t know, via the internet, when the festivities reach their peak. The pity party, in and of itself, is to be expected. It’s part of the grief process. But, as with all parties, the pity party isn’t meant to last a lifetime.
Some things to consider:
- People don’t like being constantly inundated with negative statements;
- People will be sympathetic and empathetic for a finite time;
- People expect that you will begin to make choices of change.
I know what you are thinking. You’re thinking, that’s cold, harsh, mean, and even somewhat cruel. Perhaps, you are even envisioning me as being akin to Meryl Streep in The Devil wears Prada. However,
More things to consider:
- Most people don’t want to be in the position of an enabler;
- Most people do want the best for others;
- Most people don’t enjoy attending life-long pity parties.
Are your co-workers having lunch without you? Are the people in your circle of friends beginning to avoid you? Taking longer to respond to texts? No one is listening to your diatribes of the unfairness of life and how the world is against you?
No one will spend an eternity feeling sorry for you; in fact many won’t feel sorry for you at all. Sure, they will be compassionate and empathetic, but their support will only last for so long, before they become exhausted. That’s when they will begin to migrate away from you, as quickly as they can.
Letting it Go
If it’s too much for you to handle, seek professional help. Just because you are overwhelmed by a life event, doesn’t mean you are crazy. It means your mental health is more important to you than a stigma attached to the counselor’s office. Gaining perspective through talk therapy is a far better alternative than lying in bed at night, staring at the ceiling, participating in negative self-talk. (Disclaimer: Crazy is an ugly word, and should not be applied to anyone with mental health diagnoses.)
Remember that whatever happened is in the past, and you don’t live there anymore. You live in the here and now, where every new day is an opportunity to make things different. The rising of the sun heralds in the better not the bitter.
Letting it go; whatever “it” is, is a process. Each person goes through the process in their own way, at their own pace. The point where others become frustrated is when the process stops, and they know it has stopped. They see you lying there in the basement of your soul, refusing to get up and try.
As long as you are trying, people will support you, and help you in whatever you need. But, if you are complaining for the sake of complaining, they will see it as an invitation to a pity party, which they will politely decline, and some will decline in a not so polite manner; and some won’t respond at all.
Create goals for creating better. Write them down on paper. Look at them every day. Take action every day to take a step toward accomplishing one of the goals. It has been scientifically proven that crossing an item off a list after completion releases the “feel goods” of our emotional world.
Don’t use the internet as a replacement for real life. The internet is filled with pity parties. The more you attend, the more you become comfortable in your own. The more you become comfortable, the less real life interactions that you have with people. We are social creatures by nature. We need real life interaction to feel good and mentally strong. The internet is great for support groups to an extent, but make sure you are getting support, and not attending someone else’s pity party.
So, go ahead and feel sorry for yourself, no one else will. Give yourself what you need, and then let it go.