Keeping it real, today, I’m going to talk about an important (albeit, often misunderstood), aspect of our existence as social beings.
We are all blessed with the gift, freedom and ability to rant, vent, in other words, throw an unapologetic pity party for ourselves!
Exercise your freedom to party….
I know a lot of the ‘new –age’ and ‘ be positive all the time’ types of popular psychology promote the ‘avoid negative emotion’, and ‘see the glass half full’ mentality. Perhaps, a lot of them may even cringe in horror at my post (or rant)! By the way, when people avoid feeling all their emotions, they tend to become some of the most passive aggressive people you’ll ever meet! Humans feel, period!
It’s very much like being in a ‘church’ or ‘family’ or ‘team’, where everyone seems all lovey-dovey, with greetings of ‘bless you, sister’ and ‘bless you brother’ always in the air and yet behind one another’s back, they’re peddling vicious rumours, misleading half-truths and such malicious outright lies, that make you go hmmmnnn……very, very interesting!
Ever heard someone in pain being told ‘Don’t cry’, ‘Don’t be angry’, ‘Don’t do this or Don’t do that?’ Why are we, as a culture so bent on repressing our emotions? A good cry or letting off steam never really hurts anyone. On the contrary, there are actually 101++ health and overall wellness benefits of crying and letting off (I digress, that’s a post for another day).
Let’s just agree that in the debate of seeing the glass ‘half full or half empty’, my take is simply this: as long as you have clarity and awareness of why, how and what you see when you look at the glass, that’s a great enough place to start! I believe in simply letting the flow of life BE and then devising wholesome ways to navigate the waters.
The last time I checked, we’re still human beings with human feelings and not mere robots. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge proponent of having a positive attitude, however in my model of the world, I also accept that life can sometimes throw you curveballs and no matter what skills, resilience and mental tenacity you possess, ever so often, you may find yourself experiencing varying degrees of pesky, not-so-positive emotions: anger, sadness, disappointment, frustration, hurt, guilt, shame, despair, grief etc. My take is that healthy people feel ALL their emotions, period!
It is okay for us to accept that we cannot be happy ALL the time, because happiness is a ‘state’. States come and go! We can elicit different different states volitionally, by focusing on particular thought patterns and replaying certain movies in our head. We’re human beings, with human feelings, again, the best we may strive for is perhaps the ability and awareness to manage and navigate our different fluctuating states in a healthy, wholesome way!
The shift then should be from us blatantly avoiding (read, living in denial) or repressing our emotions to us learning new skills and strategies on managing our emotions in a healthy, holistic way. Warranted negative emotions are some of the key indicators of our ability to feel empathy and compassion, and even move us into positive action steps, hence the term ‘holy anger.’ In a nutshell, feelings are feelings, the critical questions are how do we channel them and manage the ‘charge of our emotions in healthy, non destructive ways?’
One of the key healthy ways to exercise your emotional muscles, is to accept your humanity, allow yourself the leeway to take a swipe and bitch at the world every once in a while, celebrate and throw yourself a damned good great pity party!
What qualifies me to give tips and strategies on throwing a pity party? Great question! I’m so glad you asked. 🙂 Well, for starters, over the past weekend, I threw a fabulous, rousing successful Pity Party for Myself!
So I’m going to share my tested 7 tips for a successful pity party:
- Have an awareness that you are in ‘pity party’ mode. Acknowledging and identifying it can be quite simple: anytime you find yourself in a zone of complaining, blaming, justifying, making excuses, having lots of ‘drama’, chaos, repetitious patterns (not-so-welcomed) and a general sense of feeling ‘shitty’ 🙂
- Set out a specific time frame well ahead of time. Is this party going to last a few minutes, one full day, a weekend (as was the case for me) or an entire week! Note: The shorter the time frame, the better for you (and all your guests).
- Pack lightly; this is akin to a very, very short vacation. You’re not going there to buy land and start building a retirement home or long-term investment property! Go in, enjoy it and get the suck out!
- You must inform your invited guests that they are there for your pity party. Give clear instructions that the role required of them is simply to be there for you, no judgments, no psycho analyzing, simply put, they just shut up and listen! So the invite can go like this: “I’m so angry, I just feel like letting off steam.” Or “I’m just tired of everything, I can’t believe I’m back here again! Do you have a moment to talk?”
- Your choice of guest-list is also vital. Rule of thumb, you want people you trust, people who’re not afraid to tell you the unvarnished truth (like when to end the party), people who are great listeners, who are not having their own pity party simultaneously with you! Make sure you’re the star, the queen, the center of ALL attraction. A big recipe for disaster is having more than one person as celebrant at a pity party…Warning Alert: That party could go on for years!
- Rant, vent, party yourself out to your heart’s content! No point holding anything back, it will just fester and grow bigger. P.S: If you don’t have anyone to invite, you can still have a party of two; you and your creator as an amused witness while you work it all out. Go boxing, use a baseball hat and trash out your angst, work it off at the gym, dance away all that energy, sit in your car roll up your windows and scream till your lungs hurt, face the heavens and ask very loud questions (I’d gently suggest you practice these last two ideas in an empty park, or else the cops may come visiting) 🙂
- Finally, after you’ve had your fun and cleaned out your system, take another good look at the whole situation and OWN your part of the sh*t. Yep, you have to own both your awesomeness and your crap. Take responsibility and focus on how to break the pattern. Replace old strategies that created and led up to the pity party event with new, healthier strategies.
Set clear boundaries for yourself and others. A quick note about boundaries: When you master the art of saying ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ from an authentic, congruent place, using your deepest intuition as your internal compass, life gets simplified, everyone and/or everything around you begins to open up in incredible ways.
Most conflicts in human interaction may be traced to lack of clarity with people’s deal breakers, what they really want, what they can settle for (and under which conditions this may happen) and what they define and accept as unacceptable standards. (Watch this space for a full blog post on Boundary Setting 101)!
Take RESPONSIBILITY. I cannot emphasize this enough. It doesn’t really matter whether you caused the situation preceding your PITY party or not. To be able to get yourself into a zone of solutions, you need to take responsibility. Taking responsibility moves you away from being stuck to a place of possibilities and opens up new neurological pathways of solutions.
Whatever you have or do NOT have in your physical universe, you created, attracted or manifested, consciously or unconsciously, metaphysically. Everything starts in the formless before it shows up in the formed universe. It really helps to claim your part in all of this!
In the end, I must confess that it felt so gooood to have my awesome pity party. It came with a very slight hangover. Consistent, incremental action steps and authentic positive affirmations help to clear the after-party effect. Remember to thank your guests and let them know of your different and (hopefully), improved perspectives.
And should anyone of them want to take you back to your ‘party’ be very clear in gently letting them know that your party is definitely over. Move the conversation to your learnings and lessons. Let them know you’re done. You’ve let it go! There’s no sadder sight than someone who takes up permanent residency or citizenship in ‘Pity-Party Land!’
Also, take all your learning and skills gained from the pre, main and post party event and apply them in all other areas of your life. A great pity party is a good barometer of your emotional, mental, spiritual health on the well-being scale. It also teaches you a lot about yourself and the quality of your network and/or support system. Happy partying everyone, enjoy!!!
Please, note that you may still experience joy even in the midst of your pity party or in the midst of life’s storms. Joy is an eternal spring within you, regardless of your external circumstances-your title, income, gender, position…. It comes from the God-Centric part of you, it is your soul’s truth, your innate state of being. JOY says: ‘No matter what happens, I am at peace, I am thankful, I am expectant, I am hopeful because I know by faith that a loving creator’s got my back.’ JOY means surrendering to what is, certain that you can always co-create with God and that everything works in divine, perfect order!
Did I miss anything on my pity party list? Share your comments here or join the conversation on our Facebook page.
Love, Light & Truth!
Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido (www.julietkego.com)