Self-pity is a doozy. No one likes being with someone who constantly feels sorry for themselves. It is not a cute look. How many times have you heard “Stop the pity party,” “Quit the whining!” and “Stop feeling so sorry for yourself and get over it!” The truth is though, we all have pride; we all have egos. A shit load of it in fact. The way we behave as human beings comes with the constant companion of ego protection. This self-preservation protects against failing and not being enough. None of us want to be rejected, or have bad things happen to us, but this happens to all of us. BUT IT’S NOT FAIR. In our modern narrative, I come across a lot of folks being very anti-pity party because “Look how worse it is for THAT person, you have nothing to be sorry about!” And yes, that kind of reflection is highly important, but it’s also OK to whine sometimes and get it out of our system. Moments pass and I believe it’s healthy to let yourself feel bad. Just because our cards were dealt better than others, doesn’t negate the experiences of each and every one of us as valid, privilege is one thing, inner-self thought is a whole other thing altogether.
I hold the belief that human beings are walking, breathing potential trauma cases. Our pride and ego are in constant threat of being bruised – and that is okay. At least for me, living and working in NYC, I navigate the streets differently every day. Sometimes I wake up and I just know that I’m going to be a shaking Chihuahua everywhere I go – sensitive to every slight, wincing at the sun. Other times, I wake up and I’m a sassy prideful business woman ready to conquer the day!
Existence itself is not a constant. There are shifts all the time and I like to honor that. When we go for job offers, auditions, pitch writing or trying to snag some deal, the cultural narrative is constantly yelling at us to SWALLOW YOUR PRIDE, KEEP GOING, JUST DO IT — but DO NOT, under any circumstances, feel badly for yourself if you don’t get something. Your goal didn’t work out? Punch it in the face and keep going! Don’t let yourself even for one moment utter the phrase “why me?” or “why NOT me?” when faced with rejection or else you are a selfish, whiny, and terrible person.
Personally, I think it’s okay to feel like crap and ask, “Why did I get this horrible amount of shit thrown at me?” or “Why DIDN’T they accept my piece for that journal?” Is it really that bad to have a few moments to cry over these things? I believe, as with everything, it’s about balance.
Tough love can sometimes feel like an assault. I think that you can indulge your desire to question the unfairness of your life with exasperation – to a point. Personally, I often need to come home after a bad day, throw my bra in the corner and cry, “WHY MEEEEEEEEEE?” into the void. Let that shit out. Watch yourself cry in the mirror even and pretend you are a poor woman from a remote Italian village who has lost her husband in the war. No one needs to know! Just let yourself feel bad for your poor old self. You’re only human, and historically speaking, we’re really not that great of a species as a whole, so frankly I’m not too against at feeling bad for having to be one in the first place.
At the end of it all, we are on Earth with ourselves, inside of our weird, disgusting, selfish brains. Reality is an illusion, man! You are really who you contend with in the end. If your whole life points to helping others, interacting with others – you still come home to your brain. It makes sense to feel bad when your ego is under a form of “attack.” I think it’s OK, healthy even, to sit with that, to cry over it. Being indulgent to your sucky situation is selfish, yes, but I think it’s also part of how we heal. Of course it’s something else if you go over-board, gather all your friends for a party so you can cry over how much your life is an unfair pile of trash. But I am talking about the small indulgence of wallowing, of resting with your sadness, the idea of life as a shit show of unfairness. When you’re done with your (personal, private) pity party, straighten your blouse, put on some eyeliner and you’ll be good as gold to conquer again.
Original by: Katrin Higher