Pity Party for One, Please

So today I threw myself a pity-party. I sat down on my bed, looked into the mirror, and sighed heavily. I sighed at the lifelessness of my hair, the tightness of my clothes, the lack of luster in my skin. I sighed at how mundane things seem to be right now. I sighed at the feeling of being under appreciated.

Then, when I was done noting all my faults, counting all the regrets, casting all the worthless wishes, I took a deep breath… and I realized I had just caught myself feeling like a victim.

Now you would think that after all my writing about responsibility and accountability, I would know when I was feeling victimized by someone or something, right? I would know that feeling victimized meant a lesson was right around the corner and I would willing embrace it, right? Well, let me level with you guys: about 99.9% of the time that I recognize the truth, I’m very unenthusiastic to find out what I’m meant to learn from the experience.

This is not one of the rare 0.01% situations. I am actually feeling very overloaded, overtired, and very resentful. Something is off and I know what it is…

Admittedly, it is natural for me to create a persona for myself that fully embodies a “good person.” I like to readily be available for anyone at anytime for whatever is needed. With this desire also comes a lot of baggage though; I tend to feel unappreciated more often than others around me. This is because I do not receive the sort of gratification from some people in my life who I openly give myself. I expect more, because I personally supply more. The giving and taking are unevenly balanced.

The problem is, if I keep trying to please everyone, I start to find myself becoming unhappy with myself. Rather than taking care of myself and doing things for me, I am only focusing on others. This creates those feelings of under appreciation because I am giving my all to everyone else while sometimes others aren’t doing the same for me.

I’m coming to find there is a name for my type of personality: an Over-Giver. And the issue with Over-Givers is that on top of eventually becoming overloaded, overtired, and resentful, we also go through stages of feeling burdened, irritable, grumpy, and vengeful.

Unfortunately, I have yet to master the awareness of when these “symptoms” of over-giving creep into my life. Also unfortunate, but when they show up, they tend to hijack my good mood.

So, instead of throwing myself a pity-party this evening, I am holding an intervention. I am making an active decision to recognize the cause and effect relationship between my self-deprecating feelings and the part I personally play in creating them. I want to connect the dots for future recognition (as I am sure I will feel this way again) and quicker recovery to my “normal” self.

My “normal” self tends to live in a set mood of gratitude. I am thankful for what God has given me in my life and I feel extremely blessed. This makes me a lot more pleasant for others to be around me, and for me to be around myself.

To reach that level of bliss, though, there seems to be a number of things I need in my life:

  • healthy dose of responsible self-care
  • distinguishing what is a priority in my life
  • asking for support when necessary
  • reevaluating stressful situations
  • forgiving myself
  • apologizing to those I hurt in my wake

Looking at my life these past few weeks, I can see where I’m lacking in these fundamental parts of my life:

  • I am not being healthy in my self-care. Yes, I workout every day. Yes, I focus on eating well. Yet I am still not happy with my results. I have been so incredibly hard on myself during the past six weeks of my fitness journey that it is no wonder my stress level has spiked. I need to take a step back, reevaluate my intentions, and regroup. Why am I working so hard? It’s not to increase my health, but rather to feel comfortable in my own skin. Or more vainly put, to look good. I do not enjoy my workouts or how hard I work because I am not seeing immediate results! It’s time to get my head back in the game (sorry for the HSM reference) and re-energize my fitness plans with tangible and reachable goals.
  • What is it that I want to prioritize in my life? Community involvement and volunteer work, making time for family and those friends I highly value, working on a better me, and spending time with God. Anything else can take a back seat for now.
  • Have I mentioned how hard I’ve been on myself lately? This is something I think I need help with overcoming, and it’s about time I reached out for assistance from some people in my life. This is not particularly easy for me because I hate to admit any type of weakness in myself. However, sometimes I get trapped in my own head and only the advice and direction from others can help me. It is time though.
  • I’m at war in my head over something I’ve fought before: letting go of a long-term friendship. It is a very one-sided friendship, and one that everyone in my life has advised me to give up, but it’s hard for me to do…
  • … but I know what truly is best for me and that is to let this friendship go. So I am mentally preparing myself for the stages of grief in an effort to forgive myself.
  • Yet, in all honesty, the most important and hardest necessity when I fall off the wagon of “blissful Ashley” is to apologize to anyone I may have offended or upset with my behavior or lack of communication. For those who know me well, they know I say “I’m sorry” a lot. This is because apologizing for me is more than just asking for forgiveness, it is my confirmation that I have taken responsibility for my actions. As an Over-Giver, this is my way of relieving others from believing they are at fault for my behavior towards them.

With these thoughts, I drive back the initial idea that every ebb in my personality is creating a deeper impression of the lesson I am to learn from each experience. My nature of being an Over-Giver is not one I can easily change, which means my falls cannot easily diminish either, but when I become more attuned to the “symptoms” I can attempt to neutralize myself more quickly.

I don’t think I’ll ever by free from defaulting to feelings of self-pity and irritability when I overload myself, but maybe that’s not the point. Maybe the point is to acknowledge those times when I start to throw myself a pity party and pop the balloons before they block my sight of the exit.

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