Throw a Pity Party. Bring whine.

53bfd47c3a71ea95888816f98f6bc5cf  Yesterday I had a long phone chat with an old friend. “Don’t mind me,” he said. “I’m just having myself a little pity party.”  I confessed to him that I had been feeling the same way. Progress is tiring, people. It is. And every once in while, it is completely within reason to shut down for a bit and take a break. Positivity can be exhausting, and taking a break from your best self can be really healthy sometimes.

I don’t know about you, but in my social media feed of Yogis and Wellness professionals, there are a lot of quotes on pretty pictures about “staying positive” and “not complaining”. There are a lot of Pins reposted that say “life is what you make it” and “get back up and try again” and “turn lemons into lemonade” etc, etc, etc. These are all really helpful most of the time. But I think what is happening in our age of social media positivity is the denial of reality. I mean, can’t a girl throw a Pity Party once in a while?

Think about your daily activities. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, yes? You spend the day awake, you take the night to sleep. You expend energy, you take in food. You get hot, you sweat. You get my point. The body has magical ways of dynamically adapting to maintain homeostatic balance. This is what is commonly known as “health”.  So what about your magic sun-shiney personality? What about your go-get it attitude? What about the you that is working so hard to be “OK”? Doesn’t that part of you deserve a break? If you don’t allow it to rest once in a while, how long can you anticipate it will last? At least, in an authentic sense? After a while it may turn into just a bunch of memes in a feed.

Let’s talk complaints. I like complaints. I do. I think they serve a very great purpose, like spiders. Sure, spiders are a little icky when you see them in your window or door, but they eat mosquitos, and don’t we hate mosquitos? Complaints are like spiders. Whether or not you know it, bitching and moaning is often the first step toward CHANGE. That’s right, change. Progress. Complaining can be another way of identifying your problems, and talking about your problems is what we sometimes call “whining”. Talking about your problems and hearing yourself say them out loud can make you realize you are in need of a change. Bringing up the same problem more than once can really make you realize this, if you are self aware. People complain because they CARE. And I love people who care. I don’t want to know anyone who is apathetic about the state of the world, let alone their own life. We’re here to lean on each other, not to be island unto ourselves. When I hear people complaining about people complaining, I chuckle at the irony. I understand that some people don’t want to hear the complaints of others, and THAT is also healthy. Knowing when to ask a friend or loved one to stop complaining around you is healthy for you because it establishes your boundaries. We all have our own complaints, and this is why we have such a short fuse for the complaints of others. We are all working so hard to either deal with or stifle our own problems, we can barely stand it when others come to us with problems, let alone refuse to deal with their own repeat complaints. This is why therapy, yoga, church, and other forms of healing exist. You need to go away from your loved ones to complain sometimes. Especially if it’s a problem you keep complaining about that isn’t getting fixed. Talk to someone. Whine is medicine.

Here are my tips on how to throw an excellent Pity Party:

1. Know who to invite. This is key. You can’t complain to just anyone. You need to know who of your friends to invite. Who are your friends you can take anything to? Invite them to your Pity Party. Know that they may not attend, and that’s ok. Have a network of support to rely on for your party, and when this doesn’t work, hire a professional. Hiring a therapist is like hiring a Pity Party planner. They will help you organize your thoughts, listen to your complaints and not take them personally, and help you deal with your Pity Party in a healthy, unattached way.

2. Know what to bring. If you are hosting a pity party, don’t ask anyone to bring anything. It’s tre gauche. Your Pity Party is about you, having space. It’s about you, reclaiming some quality sulk time. Don’t expect anyone you invite to your Pity Party to show up and fix you. No one brings anything to the party. You bring everything, and must expect nothing in return.

3. Set a beginning time, and an ending time. No one likes to have to kick out people awkwardly at the end of any party, that’s why end times on invitations are important. Lingering sadness can be that last guest. Make sure as you explore your hour, day, or week of self-pity, that you have established a proposed end time to your party, to see how you feel and reassess when that time comes. Then, if you feel up to it, put the dishes in the dishwasher, and go to bed.

4. Don’t check your phone. It’s easy get distracted. But you have a party to throw, people! In this time of rest and space for your happy self, stay away, I repeat, STAY AWAY from social media. You will be inundated with happiness, both genuine and perceived. Like I said, memes, advice, videos of people singing Pharell’s “Happy” will hit you in the face and make you feel WORSE, not better. Take your time. Like at any real party, give your attention to your guests, and stay away from your phone. Take a break. Breathe. You can go back in a little bit.

5. Don’t overdo it on the unhealthy snacks and booze. The key to a healthy Pity Party is not relying on substances to get you through. Sugar, alcohol, and processed foods can make you more sad. Keep it light, as over indulging can prolong your Pity Party.

6. Have things to do. What party is complete without silly games and rituals? Pity Parties are no different. What is your ritual? Watching Netflix? Taking a nap? Reading a book? Crying it out? Bubble bathing? Everyone has sadness rituals. Save these for your Pity Party. There is a time and a place for crying. That time is now.

7. Don’t over-publicize your Pity Party. Just as it is important to know who to invite, you must keep the details of this party for you and those you intimately care about, or pay to help you. This is again, why it’s imperative to stay away from Facebook. You will most likely not get the support you crave in your time of need. Invitation only, please.

8. When all else fails, theme parties are great. Feeling sluggish but not sure why? Themed Pity Party! Take an hour for an “I’m 30 and unemployed!” theme party. Or an “I just graduated and can’t get a job!” theme party, another great is “I expected to be married and have kids by now!”.  Sometimes you need to label your pity party for it to make sense. This way, you have acknowledged your theme, and can move on quicker.

If you are not in the mood to throw a Pity Party now, I am really happy for you. I hope the next time you feel one coming on, though, you will remember this- Being unhappy is a healthy part of being happy. Recharge. Throw your party. Take your time.

The unhappiness in me recognizes the unhappiness in you. Namaste.



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