I am not going to lie. Sometimes it just plain feels good to wallow in self-pity for a bit. The paycheck doesn’t cover the bills. Things didn’t go my way at a meeting. Work sucked. Maybe I feel a little sick or I don’t have cable so I didn’t see the first of the final episodes of Breaking Bad. All I want to do is sit down and have nice little temper tantrum.
The thing is, I am a grown up and kicking feet and yelling frowned on – or worse yet, laughed at – when done by an adult. Still, it sounds so good, doesn’t it?
I maintain it’s perfectly fine and healthy and normal to throw yourself a pity party now and then. The trick is not building and moving into an International House of Self-Pity.
In my family we use a phrase to remind ourselves with humor to step back from the brink of full blown self-pity.
It’s hard to be the Beth
Something about putting it that way puts it in perspective. The world isn’t ending. No one is dying. But damn it, I am cranky about the little things that are going wrong.
We use it as sort of call and response:
Me: “I need to wash dishes and clothes because I don’t have anything to wear or eat off of, but I had a bad day at work and just want to screw around on the internet.”
Loved One: “It’s hard to be the Beth, isn’t it?” [translation: I know you feel bad, but you a being a little ridiculous.]
Me: “Yes! It is hard to be the Beth!” [translation: I know I am being ridiculous, but I am not quite feeling bad yet.]
Just that little expression and acknowledgement of feelings is often all it takes to start lightening the mood. There’s something about talking about yourself in the third person that makes it hard to take what you say seriously*.
Give it a try. Make your own little lighthearted call and response. Teach it to your young.
Just be sure to use your own name. I don’t need eveyone’s pity. I have plenty of my own.
*Unless you are The Donald, apparently.