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How to Host a Pity Party… Consciously. My 12 Top Tips.

All you regular practitioners of self-awareness, you know…this consciousness stuff is hard. All the truth-seeking and the soul-searching and the self-revelations and the surfacing baggage and the getting it wrong and the going inward and the face-to-face confrontations with the ugly, imperfect, less conscious parts of ourselves. And the resistance. Oh, the resistance!

I’ll say it again, this shit is hard.

Of course, this line of thinking, left unchecked, can only lead to one destination. The very same destination I arrived at one unassuming afternoon. Standing in my kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil, I trailed the breadcrumbs of my thoughts all the way into … a pity party. The dangerously slow and all-consuming kind, like quicksand. And I was sinking fast.

It took one laser-lucid conversation to yank me out of my misery. And it went like this:

TEPH – The Ever Perceptive Hubby: what’s up cheeky wife? You don’t seem yourself today.

Me: No, I’m having a pity party today.

TEPH: About what?

Me: That I’m not going to be as successful as I want to be, and my business is never going to make it to the next level and no one’s going to read my book & no one’s going to want to publish it, and I’m not going to find an agent, and it’s all too overwhelming and I don’t know what to do.

TEPH: Why wasn’t I invited to this party?

Me: Because positive thinkers aren’t welcome.

TEPH: (laughing) You do one thing at a time, one step at a time, my cheek.

Me: Logical thinkers aren’t welcome either. (Sigh.) But I do value them.

TEPH: (smiles & nuzzles into my neck) I think you should tell everyone to go home. Party’s over.

Right. Got it. No more sorry wallowing. Party’s over. And just like that, it was.
In that one conversation, I witnessed my role as hostess at my own pity party and how badly I was screwing it up.

See I’d forgotten the rules of the game:

I’m in charge.
I get to tell everyone when to go home.
Hell, I get to decide who I let in in the first place.
My party. My rules.
Don’t like ‘em? Then beat it.
With this in mind…

  1. Find a safe, neutral venue. Get out of the echo chamber. Having it in your head means it stays in your head long after everyone’s left. Days, weeks, months later, the internal monologue will still be looping and you’ll still be picking up bits of broken belief systems and stale thoughts between the folds. Have your party off site so you can arrive, leave and take nothing (and no one) home with you. I used to find my journal was the best place for it. I’ve since discovered the value and the vitality in sharing your shit with someone. The very act of speaking about your stuff allows it to unravel and settle and complete itself.
  2. Have a time limit. No party lasts forever. Set your timer and stick to it. My recommendation: 15 to 30 minutes tops.
  3. Tell your loved one/s you’re holding a pity party. Not to invite them, but to appoint them as backup. If you’re not done after your allotted time, they need to come in, find you and haul your ass outta there.
  4. Soften the mood. Let’s be honest, it’s going to be a sombre event. But sombre doesn’t have to be suicidal. Light a candle, play some music, throw in some colour. It’ll help you stay present and neutral.
  5. Make a list of all the bigwigs that show up. When you name your critics, they tend to deflate and become less intimidating. Who’s there? Fear, self-doubt, self-loathing, guilt, regret? Any others?
  6. Hold the space for all your guests to have their little rant. Hear them out. If they don’t feel heard, they just speak louder until it becomes too noisy to think clearly and their projections become your reality.
  7. Take notes. Same principle as point #1. Besides, the absurdity of your critics’ remarks only becomes apparent when you read them back to yourself.
  8. Group your notes into common themes/threads. Notice the patterns to break the cycle. They’ll become apparent very quickly: Self-loathing bitching about your body…again | Fear singing the same “lack mentality” song over and over | Self-doubt feeding you the same “you’re not worthy” bullshit. You’ll see that they’re not rampaging and wreaking havoc all over the place, even though it sometimes feels that way; their attacks are concentrated, which means they’re easier to counter.
  9. Thank your guests for being there. No matter how cruel or cutting or condescending they may have been, your critics are also your greatest teachers. Thank them for the lessons they’ve delivered to you.
  10. Then bid them farewell. When the time is up, pack it up. Remember, your party, your rules. And really, there’s only so much doom and gloom a person should legally be permitted to consume.
  11. Share your notes with a friend. The people who care about us bring objectivity after the party. They’re our sounding boards and our cheerleaders. They can put things into perspective, give us some tough love, laugh and lighten us up when we’re taking it all too seriously, and tell us when it’s time to drop the victim act, quit bitching and just get over it. When we choose to change our thought patterns about the subject matter of our pity parties, our friends can also become our allies in staying on track.
  12. Let go of the “what sucks” story in your life and take positive inner + outer action. (This is the most important step) Now that the bitching session/pity party is over, what positive changes are you going to make to kill the bad vibes, turn down the volume of your critics’ voices and align with your big, bold beautiful dreams?

The Point of the Pity Party:

There’s lots to bitch about and cry about and fall apart over — and you should bitch and cry and fall apart — because you’re human and because bitching and crying and falling apart can be a galvanising experience of release. But then stop bitching and crying, and put yourself back together stronger, clearer and with more purpose.

Take a stand for your dreams and start a different internal conversation about the future you’re choosing to create for yourself. One that will move you to tears and bring you to your knees, not with pity, but with joy and AWE and great.full.ness. Then make it happen. I DARE YOU!

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