Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself: 5 Ways to Keep Your Pity Party In Check
Whether you’ve failed to close a major deal, or you’re overwhelmed by a looming deadline, throwing a pity party won’t help. In fact, feeling sorry for yourself can become downright self-destructive. It makes overcoming adversity difficult — if not impossible –and it keeps you stuck. If you’re in the midst of hard times, here’s how to stop feeling sorry for yourself and do something to keep your pity party in check.
Hardship is inevitable. But self-pity is optional.
Becoming stuck in this mindset means we run the risk of never learning from our mistakes in a positive way. It also stops us from feeling empowered, finding solutions and achieving what we want in the long term. The good news is, there are a number of ways to change this debilitating state of mind. The sooner you nip it in the bud and get started the easier you can let go of self pity for good.
We’ve all been there. Down in the dumps and chewed up by circumstances which are ‘so unfair’.
It’s part of life to feel down sometimes and often we feel it’s undeservedly so. Branding ourselves as a victim is a defense mechanism. It permits us to feel entitled and righteous. Telling ourselves this story of our victimization, the loop in our thoughts we are all too familiar with, supplies us with endless excuses not to take responsibility for our actions or consequences. Good news is there are things we can do that will help us turn our attitude around, brighten our day, and shorten our stay in a negative state next time it seems that the world is out to get us.
Pity parties are an easy default.
It’s much easier to go about thinking “Only bad things happen to me” than it is to actively try to make good things happen to you. After all, if your regular state is one of preemptive disappointment, you can’t actually be disappointed by anything. That’s a really sad way to be, so snap yourself out of it.
Here are some tips for ending the pity party and stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Mentally strong people refuse to allow self-pity to sabotage their success. Instead, they use life’s inevitable hardships as a way to grow stronger and become better. Here’s how mentally strong people avoid the self-pity trap.
Focus On The Good Things
When you have just found out some bad news, it will not be easy to focus on something positive. Try to shift your thinking away from the negative to a situation that has gone well, positive events, or something that has brought you joy and happiness in the past. If this makes it easier, great, if not just try to think of something neutral. Do whatever it takes to shift your focus.
Replace your self-pity with gratitude. This helps move the focus away from you and on to others.
The main mindset of self-pitying behavior is to have a negative default. This means we rarely look at the good things we have in our life. Because of this, the fastest way to turn this around is to make it a practice to regularly focus on the good. You may have heard this before and that’s because it’s true. Instead of being lost in your thoughts at those times, stay aware. Actively look for things to be grateful for like the trees or rain. As you practice the attitude of gratitude you change your automatic default from negative to positive.
Although your life may seem like an utter dumpster fire right now, it is not.
Do you know the amount of bad luck you would need to have for everything to be going wrong at the same time? A lot. No matter how bad it looks, there is always something to be grateful for. Gratitude is the conscious acknowledgment of what brings you joy in the present moment. As you practice being grateful each day, the negative default mindset that you operate from will change to a positive one. Not only that, but the more you’re grateful for, the more you’ll see to be grateful for. Another good thing about practicing gratitude is that it’s impossible to feel pity and gratitude at the same time. They can’t co-exist.
Refocusing our attention on things that remind us of the good in life helps to dismantle a chronically negative mind frame.
It disproves the idea that everything is wrong. Instead, it allows you to focus on positivity instead of negativity! Change the broken record that keeps reminding you that you aren’t good enough or that nothing good ever comes to you. Take the time to be clear that, of course, there are beautiful things in your life, even if it’s just the one friend that remembers to text you or the park near your house with the lovely trees. Remember that self-pity is a choice, and gratitude is too.
A person who may seem blessed by a lot of people can still feel miserable because of the negativity of his own thoughts.
Alternatively, someone can still be full of love and happiness even through all the hardships they may be facing. A lot of people chase after many things such as money, careers, prestige, and fame. But all of them are in search of the same thing: happiness. Many of us tend to believe that our joy can only be attained after we’ve gotten those things which we yearn for. But actually, one can already be happy just by changing the way they perceive life. If you see everything in a positive light, you may find more reasons to be happy and smiling all day. But if all you see is anger and hatred, the more you will be buried by misery.
Refuse to Be a Victim
Venting to other people about the magnitude of your problems fuels feelings of self-pity. Mentally strong people don’t try to gain sympathy from others by complaining about their difficult circumstances. Instead, they either take action to make things better, or they accept the situations that they can’t change.
Victim mentality is quite often the cause of self pitying behavior. It’s called the drama cycle and for some reason we choose to blame someone or something else for the way we feel.
The drama cycle initially feels good, because as a victim, someone else tries to save us from our problems. This means we feel nurtured and it’s nice to know someone cares about us. We feel significant. The thing is this destructive cycle can become quite addictive and plays havoc with our relationships. Most people don’t want to associate with someone who looks for a personal negative on everything they say and do. And the person who is constantly rescuing begins to feel tired of the extra responsibility.
Sometimes life is hard, with no reason or justification.
“Why me?” or “why is this happening to me?” are two questions you will probably never get the answers to. Life is not always fair. Hardship is inevitable. Bad things happen to everyone. That’s just how the world works. We need to make our peace with that. All we can do is live our lives to the fullest and love with all of our hearts. Bad things will happen. That’s life. But good things will also happen. Appreciate and enjoy that good in life. Before the bad comes, build a support system that will help you pick yourself back up when it hits.
The opposite of victimhood is accountability. While your circumstances may not be your fault, they are your responsibility.
That doesn’t mean that you caused it. It just means that you have the ability to respond to your circumstances and change the outcome. Start by identifying one or two small things that you can do to make a positive difference in your life. Remember that your past does not determine your future. Be gentle with yourself and remind yourself often that you are worthwhile, capable, and deserving of good things. If you need to, start a journal of everything that you’ve accomplished and reread it when you need a boost.
Bad things happen. Horrendous things happen. I understand and have walked through my share of them.
Still, I decide what story to replay in my head about the negative things in life. I can choose to stay stuck in a bad story, or I can choose to accept and forgive. I can even explore how to be grateful for what I’ve learned in tough situations and foster appreciation for the person each of those encounters has allowed me to become. With acceptance, forgiveness and gratitude, I can decide to move on so the person, place or situation doesn’t hold me captive any longer.
Don’t Push Your Emotions Aside
Although this sounds counterproductive, do allow yourself some time to wallow. It’s only natural, and we have to feel what we feel. It would be unnatural to see someone experience a tremendous loss and then just whip around with a bright, beaming smile. As painful as it might be, allow yourself some time to sit in those sad, lonely, defeated feelings.
Always feel the feeling and always allow yourself to recognize exactly where you are.
In recognition there is an ability to move forwards. Don’t make it feel worse. Don’t get into the “I’m such a fail for feeling like this again.” That’s just making it worse. A quiet acceptance of where you are is perfect to move forwards from. When you start to be able to pull yourself up on your mindset and recognize when it’s coming in for the bite you will be able to start to recognize it earlier and earlier and then less pity parties will have to be endured.
When something doesn’t go the way you want it to, instead of trying to grin and bear it, allow yourself to feel sad.
We are meant to feel a whole range of different emotions. Trying to be positive in the midst of a difficult time, means you have to stuff the real emotion down. This is not good for you or good for others, because the emotions are likely to resurface at a later time. Allow yourself to really feel what you are feeling. Be compassionate with yourself just as you would with a dear friend or loved one. Reach out to others and ask for support if you need it. And let others be there for you when they want to be. This enables you to really connect with your emotions and feel supported. And when you do this you are less inclined to resort to feeling sorry for yourself later.
We don’t know how to process our emotions because we so often have to put on a brave face and pretend we’re ok.
Anytime we’re sad, we push those feelings aside because they’re uncomfortable and put on our happy faces. The thing with emotions is, if you don’t deal with them now, you’ll certainly deal with them later. Denying your experiences will not erase them or make them easier to handle. Ignoring your feelings will only cause them to spill over into other areas of your life. Instead of pushing your emotions aside, sit with them. Process how you’re feeling. Be aware of your emotions. Come to terms with the part you played in the situation and forgive yourself for any mistake you may have committed.
Self-pity really only has room to thrive in our heads, where we can continue to stoke its flames. When we interact with our external reality, the flames die down.
We realize that our perception is not everything, not all-consuming and quite extinguishable. So, refocusing our attention to our external realities – a catch up with a friend, a trip to the cinema, etc. — deflates and undermines chronically negative perception. Try something new and perhaps you’ll get to learn something about yourself that you may have never known before.
Ask For and Accept Help
Successful people have a strong support network that they can count on to support them in times of need. If you have such a network, this is the time to reach out and ask for help. Knowing when we need help and asking for it is a sign of strength, not of weakness. We feel good when we are able to help others, so let others experience that same feeling by being able to help you in times of need. If you don’t have an immediate support network, there are organizations in the community whose purpose it is to offer support in your situation.
Don’t try to bottle up your feelings, no matter how embarrassed you might feel.
Talk it over with patient friends who will really listen. If need be, seek out a little one-on-one time with a life coach or therapist. I don’t know how or why, but non-physical things—such as negative thoughts and reliving horrid memories—can manifest in very physical ways. How about those tension headaches? How about that lack of sleep that makes our skin sallow? You must talk this time through, as often as you feel the urge to.
Similar to accountability, it’s crucial to ask for help when you’re starting to feel sorry for yourself.
Due to overwhelming shame (and sometimes pride), asking for help is probably the last thing you want to do when you’re in the middle of a pity party. But that’s when it’s most important to do so. We need connections in our lives, not just for accountability but for love and support. We sometimes need someone else to remind us of the great qualities we can’t always see. Often, simply asking friends or family for their support in a stressful season of life can be pivotal in breaking out of those self-pity patterns.
Self-pity and self-compassion are two very different things.
We often hear contradictory messages, such as ‘Allow yourself to feel what you feel’, but then we’re told to ‘Look on the bright side’. It’s important that you allow yourself time to lick your wounds and to honor your feelings. Allow yourself to feel frustration, sadness and pain. Talk to someone you trust and express those emotions in a constructive way. Self-compassion means being your own guardian, best friend and healer instead of a critic. Go easy on yourself, be patient and accept that you will make mistakes.
Self-pity can make you want to isolate. You might feel like you don’t deserve to be around your friends or family.
While withdrawing from social situations may seem like the best action according to our negative self-talk, studies have shown this isn’t such a good idea. Connecting with others is a huge part of our mental well-being because social interaction helps us to feel better about ourselves. It creates an environment in which we feel valued and cared for. The best way to combat these negative thoughts is to spend time with our loved ones, whether that’s a friend, family member, or partner. Go for a coffee, see a movie together, or simply visit while taking a walk together. Social interaction can help you feel recharged and valued.
Take Responsibility for Your Perception
When you find yourself in the midst of a pity party, you’ll be tempted to waste your energy staying stuck there. Rather than fix your problems, you’ll spend time insisting potential solutions just won’t work. By the way, commiserating with people around you isn’t really a bonding activity. So it’s important to change your behavior. Do things that make it harder to indulge your own catastrophic thoughts.
When we get stuck in a feeling or make a decision that something is a certain way then we can become trapped in the thought process and the heavy energy attached to it.
It’s time to open all of the windows and let some light in. So you might need to literally open those windows, you might want to turn some music on, you might want to catch a change of scenery and get outside. Granted, here, it’s easier to stay stuck. You might not feel in the mood and may be harboring a bit of a grouch BUT it’s important that you swizzle that mood as soon as you can.
Our emotional state influences how we perceive reality.
When you’re feeling sorry for yourself, you’re likely to focus on the bad things going on in your life, while overlooking the good. Mentally strong people question whether their thoughts represent reality. They ask themselves questions like, “Is my luck always bad?” or “Is my entire life really ruined?” Asking themselves these types of questions allows them to recognize when their outlook isn’t realistic. This allows them to create a more realistic perception of their situation.
No one makes us see anything the way we choose to see it.
And in my experience the way we initially view things, is often not what is really happening at all. Our perception creates our reality and by changing our viewpoint, we are able to change any experience. Take responsibility for the way you are viewing a situation and challenge yourself to see it in a different way. If you feel troubled by an experience, get yourself a sheet of paper and write a list of every perception you can think of. You will be surprised at how off the mark you initially were.
Affirmations are a form of positive self-talk. It’s used to keep reminding ourselves of our positive attributes and worthiness.
Its purpose is to balance out negative beliefs and build resilience and self-esteem. Though it may feel false to speak or write positively about one’s self when feeling the exact opposite, research has shown this to be effective. Thoughts can and do translate into feelings, so ‘fake it until you make it’ really can work. It just requires practice. You can find ways to feel like you can carry on even when times are tough, to get stuff done regardless. It is more helpful than kicking up a storm of futility in your mind.
The inevitable pity party will come knocking on your door, if it hasn’t already. Avoid overindulging in the party punch laced with remorse and fear. Those first few sips might taste all right but, like anything else, excess needs to be controlled. Developing an awareness of all the positives and remembering them is a powerful tool that helps us overcome adversity and the difficult times that are an inevitable part of life.
Everyone has the ability to build mental strength.
By developing an increased ability to regulate your thoughts, manage your emotions and behave productively despite your circumstances, you’ll grow stronger and become better. By developing an increased ability to regulate your thoughts, managing your emotions, and behaving productively despite your circumstances, you will grow stronger and become better.
Everyone feels sorry for themselves every so often. We get overwhelmed by the challenges that we face, and it can all be too much.
While it’s okay to acknowledge and process your feelings, don’t stay in a place where you think you’re the only person who has problems. That mindset will not empower you to find a solution. It will keep you thinking that you’re a perpetual victim. As much as you might not want to initially, stop focusing on what’s wrong in your life. Focus on the good. Think about finding solutions. Look at the good that surrounds you. And find the strength to pick yourself up from the pit of self-pity.
Life will never be easy all the time, because that’s not why we are here.
As humans, we are here to experience variety, which includes pleasure and problems. And within each unwanted issue is the opportunity to grow and create a better life. Give yourself support and look for solutions to create the life experiences you deserve. From this standpoint, your problems will no longer have the hold on you they once had.
Don’t overstay your welcome at your own pity party. Get out of your rut and get happy.
Practice these five antidotes and be attentive to the warning signs for when you might be in the grip of self-pity. If you can do this, you will find yourself feeling more robust, healthier, and more active. You will be more courageous, more helpful to others, and find it much easier to see the beauty of the world and people around you that you were hiding from yourself. It’s a daily grind, but it’s more than worth it.
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.