There are many things we can’t control in our lives. We don’t get to choose our race, the sex we were born, how much money we were born into or even how we were raised. With all of that being said, 99% of the time, my clients come to me to sort out something they do have control over. We often don’t realize that we are choosing our lifestyle with the big and small decisions that we make every day such as, what we spend our income on, a job we choose to accept, a partner we choose to be with, a trip we’ve planned, or even where we choose to live. I myself have seen a coach to discuss obstacles that I knew I had control over and played a huge role in. Why do we often feel sorry for ourselves for situations that we choose?
Often times, we don’t acknowledge that we are making choices.
Taking responsibility for our actions often changes our perspective on our current situation.
Last week my husband was preparing for a work trip. He would be gone almost a week and I would be a “solo mom” for that time, or at least that was the story I was telling myself. I started to get stressed thinking about my husband being away, and made him feel bad for leaving. He made a comment, reminding me that this wasn’t a vacation for him, it was his job that he works very hard at. Then it hit me. My martyr like behavior wasn’t the right perspective. My current situation wasn’t happening to me, I chose it. It was a huge decision for my husband and I, and a huge privilege for me to leave my full time job after my second child was born. The truth is, I love working part time right now, I love being a mother, and I have plenty of support. While he was away, I would have part time child care in an amazing school, hours of help from my amazing mother and my husband’s amazing family was on call if I needed anything, not to mention friends checking in on me every day. I consider my lifestyle a huge privilege! So, why was I feeling sorry for myself? Why was I seeing myself as a victim? Why did I need to make my husband feel bad for going to work to support our family? I realized I was worried about lowering the bar for my kids while my husband was away. I was worried I wouldn’t have time to cook enough healthy food, or get enough rest, or that I would rely too much on screen time for the kids. I was worried I would “fail.” Of course all I really had to do was keep the kids alive and somewhat happy. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I realized I needed to give myself permission to ask for help. I was being way too hard on myself, setting too high of standards, and it was unproductive. Instead of feeling week and that I didn’t have enough to offer my kids, I wanted to feel strong and realized I was craving self-acceptance. Once I reminded myself that this was exactly the lifestyle I signed up for, I was able to not only take responsibility for how I was living, but appreciate and feel grateful for it. So what did I do? I called both sets of grandparents, used child care, some screen time, some take-out food, enjoyed time with friends and even called a babysitter. When the babysitter called me saying that she was sick I said, “no problem! I’ve had tons of help!” because I did. I realized not only did I choose to quit my full time job, but I also chose to let amazing supportive people into my life.
How to end a Pity Party: Ask Yourself:
- Why might you be feeling week?
- Are you being too hard on yourself?
- Who might you be blaming for your current situation?
- What role might you be playing in the situation?
- Do you have enough support/help?
- Who can help you and how?
- What are you grateful for?
I’ve had to repeat this process many times as Pity Parties can be sneaky. Sometimes I don’t realize I’m having one until half way through it. It’s never too late to end them.