So the blog title might sound a bit judgmental, maybe even a bit in-your-face. Sorry about that. I really am. But the fact of the matter is… we like throwing pity parties more than we like attending them.
Can I get an “amen”?!
I mean, truly… we can whine and pout and talk people’s ears off about why they should feel sorry for us. We can give excuse after excuse as to why they should give us the puppy dog eyes. We can complain until they take sides with us and stand behind us in support of whatever or whoever is out to get the best of us.
I’m going to put it even more directly – we can play the victim.
Wait a minute.
Them are fightin’ words.
Now that I have your attention…. let me offer something to think about here.
May I suggest…. we can CHOOSE to let our circumstances drive our attitude… or we CHOOSE to change our circumstances, or our perspective, or admit that maybe our own choices got us into this predicament in the first place.
Yes. It’s that easy. We can CHOOSE to focus on the problem. OR we can CHOOSE to focus on learning something in the process, or focus on solving the problem, or focus on keeping a smile on and allowing a giggle to escape… NO.MATTER.WHAT.
Or we can continue to CHOOSE to decide that others are out to hurt us. We can continue to CHOOSE to focus on the fact that people will always have ulterior motives. We can continue to CHOOSE to feel sorry for ourselves, in spite of how great we actually have it. We can continue to CHOOSE to throw ourselves a pity party… and hope someone else decides to join the party, so that we feel validated.
In fact, if we’re the type, we can even use these instances to manipulate others into helping us get out of the predicament we’ve gotten ourselves into.
But is that really going to solve the problem? (Actually – do we want the problem solved? Or do we just LIKE to complain?!) Does it just make us feel better, albeit in the short-term, if we whine incessantly about our circumstances? (Or does it even do that?!) Or are we just spewing for the purpose of spewing? (Come on, we all know people like this.)
In the end…don’t we really just want the problem to go away?
We don’t really like the feeling of being stuck in this uncomfortable position in life. We don’t really like to continually say “my life is just too busy”, or constantly ask ourselves “why doesn’t anyone understand me?” and quite honestly we don’t really want to revisit this place again. (Or do we?) And yet, for some reason, we continue to CHOOSE to do just that.
I want to believe that instinctively we know in our heart of hearts what to do… but we don’t do it. In that moment we have chosen to do something else altogether.
So as uncomfortable as it to attend pity parties, we also don’t like to watch our friends throw these parties… and get stuck there… lonely and victimized (albeit by their own issues) and ultimately hurting.
Instead… may I suggest taking the advice of my brother Paul?
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” philippians 4:8-10, The Message
And may I suggest contemplating some thoughts from one of my favorite writers Henri Nouwen… his perspective brings me back to the above statement E.V.E.R.Y. time.
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen
“Aren’t you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don’t you often hope: ‘May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country or relationship fulfill my deepest desire.’ But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burn-out. This is the way to spiritual death.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World
“I have found it very important in my own life to try to let go of my wishes and instead to live in hope. I am finding that when I choose to let go of my sometimes petty and superficial wishes and trust that my life is precious and meaningful in the eyes of God something really new, something beyond my own expectations begins to happen for me. (Finding My Way Home)” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen