Pity Parties: When is it Okay to Feel Sorry for Yourself?
by Tanea Flanders, Life Coach, Leadership Development and Organizational Consultant, and part of the Live Well / Stay Well Program at Tournesol Wellness
It is okay to feel sorry for yourself. It’s important to acknowledge sadness, hurt, and anger as much as you want to experience the fullness of joy, happiness, and bliss you feel in your life. If you don’t acknowledge and allow yourself to be present with feelings of sorrow or sympathy, you will unknowingly blunt those feelings numbing yourself with emotional eating, lashing out at others or turning your internal senses so low you can no longer feel the positive feelings.
Feel sorry for yourself for a little time, assess and understand what created that sorrow, and then take practical steps to move forward. It’s the act of sitting in self-pity that takes you to a dangerous place where inertia clouds your decisions and life. One way to gauge appropriate timing to feel sorry for yourself is to use a “Sorry for Myself Scale” assigning numbers 1-7 according to the level of impact on your life. If the event for which you feel sorry for yourself has a low impact on your life assign it the number 1 on the “Sorry for Myself Scale” and give yourself one day to feel sorry for yourself. Journal, draw, eat one comfort food, and commit to letting it go. If the event that causes you to feel sorry for yourself impacts your life in huge ways then assign it a 7 on the “Sorry for Myself Scale” and give yourself seven days to experience that sorrow. During that time process you self-sorrow, sympathize, and shower yourself with love, just as you would give to someone else.
Use the “Sorry for Myself Scale” to put parameters around recommended times to dive into feeling sorry for yourself. If you find you don’t need as much time to move forward as you anticipated, then great! By the time you reach your “Sorry for Myself Scale” expiration date it is time to let go, move on, and figure out the life lesson, beauty, and strength to be gained from the experience. Once you see the upside and triumph that you gain the sadness gives way to sunshine.