Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself
“It’s not a pity party.
Stop dismissing it.”
This quote came across my Facebook feed a few weeks ago. If I could have “loved” it 10 million times I would have.
Every time I hear a client say this ( and I hear it A LOT), I get pissed off and then my heart breaks a little.
My heartbreak and anger are not directed at my clients as such. It is more at a culture who really believes this is true. And our culture is composed of family systems that perpetuate this bullshit, as it was spread to them as children. I feel so sad that I am even having to write this blog at all.
It is spiritual bypassing of the highest fucking order to tell someone who is hurting and bleeding out from lifetimes of trauma and wounding that if they have a feeling(s) about this, they are having a pity party.
I’d be a rich woman if I had a dime for every time I hear a client describe being violated or enmeshed or perpetrated against in subtle and not so subtle ways follow their tears with some version of ” Oh, look at me, I’m just feeling sorry for myself”
Another way I hear this is clients telling me that they were better off than some people. They just got smacked across the face every other day but nobody sexually abused them, so it’s ok. Their mother was just passed out drunk every night. They had to care for the house and everyone at age 7, but nobody hit them, so it’s ok. Their father just was cold and verbally abusive and flew into unpredictable, terrifying rages, but at least he were not a drunk, so it’s ok.
Other people had it worse than me, so I can’t complain.
And I tell them, with as much gentleness as I can muster, that may be true AND it still hurt you. You are allowed to own and feel you own pain. You are not feeling sorry for yourself or having a pity party. You are giving years and years of repressed emotion a safe place to arise and be expressed . And that is how you heal.
The extent to which we individually and collectively dismiss and deny our true feelings about our experience is the extent to which we will remain unhealed and buried in shame. And when we are covered over in shame, we rage against ourselves and/or others. We perpetrate the very ( emotional, spiritual, financial, sexual, or physical) violence done to us onto ourselves in the form of addictions, self mutilation and the lot. Or we spew it onto others in the form of sexual assault, school shootings, road rage, etc.
I’m not suggesting that people stay stuck in their pain for years and years. That does not serve anyone either. What I am saying is that your pain will tell you exactly you are stuck if you only you will listen to it. Your wounds will guide you to freedom and peace if only you will hear them. All they want is to be acknowledged and tended to in the same way that most of wanted as children. If you pain was dismissed as a child, you will dismiss it in the exact same way as an adult.
And telling yourself or being told that you are ungrateful or a victim is doing just that.
The next time you feel sad or angry or mournful or heartbroken or any other feeling, I want you to do something. Take a deep breath, put your hand on you heart and ask the pain what it wants to tell you. And then listen like your life depends on it.
Because it actually does.