I think we can all collectively agree that 2020 has almost been a write off. Write off mentally, financially, emotionally, and physically. When I look back at the year, I spend more time scoffing and begrudging its’ existence than appreciating the positives that happened. Many positives did happen, but we are humans, and it can be very hard to wade through the negatives to bring the positives to the surface.
But wade and persevere we must.
Though the following thoughts are my own personal opinions, I am confident they are shared by many.
When I jump on the self-pity train, I sometimes end up taking the long route home, skipping many stops to get off. Despite the fact that I see many exits from my swirling pity party, I ignore them because it feels good to feel sorry for yourself.
Read that again. It feels good to feel sorry for yourself.
Cue the defensive dialogue because surely no one who cares about their image would ever proclaim that out loud. Feeling sorry for yourself is such a condemned emotion that even thinking it can cause an insurmountable feeling of guilt.
Why? Why do we feel bad, for feeling bad?
Are we not allowed to have moments, minutes, days, weeks, and months where we feel poorly about ourselves? Shouldn’t we be the ones to validate and feel that strong emotion without worrying about how it will be received?
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself!” “Stop having such a pity party,” “Why don’t you stop feeling sorry for yourself and do something about it?”
Whoa. I know you have heard those before. Maybe they have come from your own mouth? I know they have come from mine.
We create so many false stigmas about how we should ‘privately’ feel, that we become our own condemners when it comes to validating our feelings. Can we not ‘feel something’ without worrying about the optics?
I had a huge pity party this year. It lasted quite a few months.
I had an emergency surgery at Christmas time that completely derailed Christmas, my work, and my life.
Once the dust settled from the initial shock of it, I traveled down this dark hole attached directly to my value and worth. I felt sorry for myself, in every regard. I felt sorry that I ruined Christmas for my family and kids. I felt sorry that I was alone in a hospital room feeling pain and isolation. I felt sorry that I was removed from my career, causing financial stress on my family and husband.
THE LIST WAS ENDLESS.
It wasn’t until last month that it hit me. During that very dark time, I spent every day worrying about myself and how it looked to others. I worked so hard to be ‘better’ and ‘stronger’ because that is what I thought was needed. I spent more time trying to get out of my dark hole, than acknowledging the valid and important reasons that I was in it.
When we enter into our darker times, where we struggle to be ourselves, it is easy to disconnect and fall away further. We start spending too much time trying to escape versus admitting and working through why you are there in the first place.
Does that make sense?
We worry about everything, ten fold, and in that worry, we forget that we are human and supposed to have moments, minutes, days, weeks, and months where life is hard. Running away from that doesn’t solve it, nor does spending all your energy worrying about how it happened and how to quickly remove yourself from it.
Pity parties and self-pity are not the problem. Don’t be ashamed of your low spots and don’t feel pressure to avoid self-pity. It is an incredibly real, raw, and valid emotion that does not go away by pretending it isn’t happening.
Process your dark times at your own pace.
If you know that you’re ready to begin the ascent from your self-pity, then give yourself grace to do it how you feel best. If you don’t know how to do that, find a therapist or someone who you can talk with about your journey.
We feel so much pressure to be perfect, but forget that we were created imperfectly and require large amounts of slack, most of the time.
If this article connected with you and you are struggling to find help, I’ve connected a resource right here to help you find a RSW or therapist close to you.
In short, yes 2020 has been hard. Yes, we have experienced things that we have never experienced before. Don’t run away from those big feelings, because life has a way of following you around, reminding you that you’re leaving a trail of unresolved feelings and emotions, right behind you.