Last Updated on September 11, 2017 by Michael Brockbank
A lot of people seem to go out of their way to garner sympathy when something happens. It’s only human nature for someone to express sympathy during a troublesome event. It’s when people play on that sympathy for attention is when it becomes destructive. Depending on the situation, a pity party can be devastating for personal growth.
What is a Pity Party?
Before I start, let me get this out of the way. I am not saying that all forms of sympathy are bad. This is more focused on those who go out of their way to make themselves miserable for the sole purpose of getting attention. And yes…I am guilty of this a few times in the past.
Different parts of society have varying ideas surrounding what a pity party entails. For me, it’s when someone purposely positions themselves or says something for the expressed purpose of garnering sympathy. Most of us are guilty of this, because let’s face it, it’s nice to know when someone cares about you.
However, there is such a thing as too much. A lot of people take it too far, which will take away from the capacity to move on with their lives. For instance, I made comments all the time about how I wasn’t as good of a writer as everyone thought and I should just get a job at McDonald’s. As you can imagine, it made my ex quite irritated.
The stupid thing is that I know that I am all that and a bag of chips because of the client base I have developed over time. I was just feeling sorry for myself and needed to hear words of encouragement. This is so the wrong way to do it.
How Does a Pity Party Prevent Personal Growth?
Thriving on the attention pity provides can be destructive. This is a hard lesson to learn for many, including myself. Instead of putting the energy towards development, you absorb sympathy like it was the breath of life.
Keeping Yourself in a Negative Frame of Mind
Wallowing in self-pity and depression walk hand-in-hand. Instead of focusing on what needs to be done to improve the situation, you focus more on the negative aspects. Then, you may even become irritated or worse if no one seems to join the pity party to make yourself feel better.
The truth is, you are the only one who can make yourself feel better. Think about it. If you don’t want to do something, it’s simply not going to happen. If you don’t want to be happy, you’ll fixate on the elements that keep you sad.
This is why a lot of people will listen to depressing music after a break-up or other devastating situation. Unfortunately, this is an unhealthy way to live. It increases stress levels which affect your abilities in a myriad of ways.
Delays Proper and Productive Solutions
Like I said, everyone loves the idea of being cared about. Unfortunately, too many people focus on that aspect alone and do not put in the effort to correct the underlying problem. As a result, the solution doesn’t come until much later…or at least until you’re ready to accept facts and move on.
Here’s an example. I was getting depressed because I don’t have a lot of followers on Wattpad. It’s my dream to be a published author and see my name on the spine of a book. I was using Wattpad as a testing ground to see if I would be successful as a content creator. The results have been less than stellar.
But, it’s not that I am a terrible writer. It’s the fact that I started a novella back in August of 2016 and haven’t finished it. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, realize that no one will want to read a year-long, unfinished project.
That’s just one example of how a pity party can turn into a year-long gala. Instead of focusing on why I’m not successful and making changes, I decide it was easier to get sympathy and state how I suck, even though I know I really don’t.
Takes Away from Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement works better than negativity. How often have you geeked out about an accomplishment no matter how small? Isn’t it a better feeling than learning a lesson because of a mistake?
I know how difficult it is to see the light when wallowing in pity, but it is there. You just need to take a moment and change your perspective. Life is all about challenges of varying degrees, and meeting those issues fills you with a greater sense of self-worth than if someone was to join your pity party.
One of the biggest problems a lot of people have, including myself, is instant gratification. They want success now and don’t want to put in the effort to make it happen. Instead, they try hard for a brief amount of time and call it a “failure.” In reality, most of the best things in life take time and effort.
My biggest failing is effort. And I call it a failure because I just can’t seem to learn from past mistakes. Well, at least some of them anyway. As a result, I pop open the champagne and start inviting people to my pity party.
Can Be Quite Addicting
The ones who are more at risk of constant self-pity are those who don’t have a lot of positive reinforcement in their lives to begin with. The feeling of being cared about then becomes an addicting sensation. Because of this, people will purposely sabotage situations in order to illicit sympathy.
This is perhaps one of the most damaging aspects of a pity party. And I know several people who live in chaos and thrive on the interaction it provides. But if you think about it, you’ll focus on being recognized as a failure who needs pity and not a success who is praised. There is a profound difference in the two.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that sympathy is a bad thing. It’s when people focus on getting it more than self-improvement is when it may become a problem.
Be Accepting, But Work for Self-Improvement
It’s OK to be accepting of sympathy to a certain degree. Just don’t let it become a lifestyle where all you want is pity from others. It’s more productive to clear your mind and work to improve the situation. Otherwise, you’ll get stuck in a rut and live your life waiting for the next pity party to come around.