Today I want to talk about a party that all of us enjoy (yes, that includes the JOMO kids). You could be an introvert, an extrovert, young, old - or fall under whatever other categories you can think of - I can tell you for certain that you’ll enjoy this party. Are you ready for the party of the millennium?
It's the PITY PARTY!
The thought of the Universe™ being against us while we persevere might seem upsetting at first, but isn’t there something so addictive about feeling that way? Picture yourself in this scenario: I’ve been trying my best ‘to do my best’ and yet here we are; me against the world. I hate what’s happening! Should I reach out for help? Maybe text a friend? Nah, they won’t get it. Is there something I can do to get myself out of this mess? It really doesn't look like it (or maybe I don’t want to). Should I perhaps listen to my playlist of sad songs so I can cry a little more while I just sit here? Absolutely yes.
This is the broad summary of a pity party that I occasionally enjoyed, and yet for the longest time, I hated admitting to myself. How could I (a lucky, healthy, privileged, mentally fit person) think like that? But more importantly, how could I (a flawed, confused, sometimes easily upset, and unfairly wronged person) possibly not?
I was certainly not going to call a friend when I was in that phase; if I’m not allowed to pity myself then how could they? In fact, I realised I used to get irritated with people who called me in the middle of their own pity parties. “We've all just gotta get it together,” was my solution to end all pity parties until I realised that no one has it together.
Yes, not a single person.
So I started letting myself stay patiently in my pity parties without telling myself to get it together and leave. See, I do leave when I’m ready, it's just that now I do it without constantly berating myself (staying even helped me enjoy the process of getting out of it). In fact, I ended up becoming more patient and liked staying back in other people’s pity parties.
Sometimes we feel stuck in cycles of self-pity the more we try to push ourselves to get out of them. But here’s the thing: these pity parties are just pit stops before we can actually sort of get our life together (that’s the new goal now, the ‘sort of’ is the most essential part of it).
We tend to suppress these moments of emotional overwhelm because we may be socialized to do so (“don’t be a party pooper” ; “learn to handle yourself”). Interestingly, our bodies are designed to respond to these emotions by going into action mode where we may act on the feeling impulsively (and often destructively) or numb out the anxiety of not being able to act through distractions. So then, do you want to know what to do next?
Just let yourself stay in your pity party for a bit before you’ve gotta get out and be a person again.
You’ve earned every bit of it.
Disclaimer: Feeling this way sometimes is a normal part of life, but if you feel like you’ve felt down, upset or overwhelmed for really long periods of time, please reach out for help.