You’re going through something difficult and wallowing in self-pity. Perhaps you’ve said or been told :
* Snap out of it!
* How long are you going to sit there feeling sorry for yourself?
* It’s not as bad as you think.
* Put it into perspective.
* What do you have to feel bad about?
* Time to get on with your life.
There is truth to some of it. Yes, there are people experiencing all kinds of terrible things and yet… your problems are real. They don’t get better just because someone else has it worse than you.
Then there are times when people commiserate (which really means ‘being miserable together). It’s comforting to know you’re not alone; however, the path to coping and problem-solving is not to feel sorry for yourself. Feeling better doesn’t come from rehashing and reliving the pain. What you really want is to feel hopeful and to get out of the mess.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t wallow in misery at all. There are benefits to temporarily going into the self-pity pit. Here’s why.
When emotions are stuffed and avoided, they may seem to be under control. In reality, they are festering and growing. They will quietly, or explosively, disrupt any sense of calm and order you may have. Hidden emotions will impact your relationships and have you reacting in unproductive, controlling, even hurtful ways. The feelings you ignore can affect your ability to make reasonable, thoughtful decisions.
Are there times when you wonder if what you are feeling is even normal? Do you wonder if everybody has it together except you? Maybe you feel different or weird, and avoid sharing.
You are not alone. Everybody has felt this way at some time in their life.
Expressing sadness, disappointment and anger helps decrease their intensity. Feeling sorry for yourself can be helpful… just don’t stay there for too long because you will drive people away. Nobody wants to be around someone who is complaining and negative all the time.
On a personal note, I used to stew in my emotional soup for too long. There I was, in a rut, the same thoughts and feelings going around and around. There was no creative thinking, no relief, just feeling stuck and without any control. Then I criticized myself for being stuck and felt even worse!
Then came the moment of clarity. It’s okay to moan and groan. Be mindful that you’re doing it, and create a deadline. “I will cry and whine for 30 minutes/two hours/a day, and then I’m done.” You’ll be amazed at how healing and energizing it can be when you give yourself permission to feel lousy. When you’re done (and it may take less time than you expect), decide to be ready to move on.*
The path to change and feeling better is action: actions you take yourself, asking for help from someone who knows more than you, or has worked their way out of a similar situation.
New mantra? It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself. Set a deadline and then GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD AND INTO ACTION.
*You may have concerns that will benefit from and/or require the help of a mental health or medical professional. It is a strength to ask for help! Tell your parent or another adult you trust that there’s something going on that you can’t handle alone, and ask for their help.
About the Author: Fern WEIS, Monthly Mentor and Parent Mentor, is a certified Parent Empowerment Coach and Family Recovery Coach. While teaching middle school for 13 years, Fern trained as a life coach and founded her business, Your Family Matters, in 2008. Fern works with parents of teens and young adults who are going through difficult situations, from the homework wars to addiction recovery, and all points in between. Through group programs and private coaching, parents work on communication skills, building relationship and setting boundaries with love and respect. Fern helps parents release guilt, end enabling, and confidently prepare their children to thrive and be successful through life’s challenges. Read More…
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