Pity Parties

By Jon F. Merz

Ever been to one of these? It’s where something doesn’t go right and someone decides that the universe is against them and gets all “woe-is-me, my life totally sucks.” Usually, this is accompanied by a post on Facebook or Twitter; sometimes, it’s a blog post or a magazine column. Sometimes those posts on Facebook get a bunch of “likes,” or comments expressing sympathy. This is the party aspect of it. Misery loves company, apparently, and pity parties certainly seem to spring up more often than not. (Personally, I think we need more positivity parties…)

I’ve been seeing them happen a lot lately – especially with midlist traditionally published authors. As the indie publishing revolution has made it easier than ever before to become published, a lot of traditionally-published authors who never achieved serious bestseller status are pissed off. They see new unknown writers selling thousands or tens of thousands of ebooks and pocketing the 70% royalty that Amazon offers and they get seriously annoyed. Some of them bitch publicly about it. I read a column recently where the author was upset that one of these newer writers had the gall to state that he had “fun” when he was writing, whereas the column’s author found writing to be a painful and grueling experience. The remainder of the column was very much more a commentary on what a sad life the column author had, rather than what she was doing to make her life better.

Maybe you’ve even thrown a pity party from time-to-time. Things in your own life have been seemingly bad or you haven’t achieved everything you set out to accomplish. You start feeling a sense of hopelessness or maybe experience a crisis of faith. I certainly know – I’ve been there. Around this time last year, I was about to face a whole lot of very potentially serious issues. And in my present life, I still have yet to accomplish some of my larger goals. I understand how easy it is to focus on all the bad stuff and ignore the good that always exists in a life.

But the thing about a pity party is that while they seem to help momentarily, the party should never go on for too long. Otherwise, like any real party, the neighbors get annoyed and call the cops to complain. And then cops show up and shut it down. Meanwhile, you’ve been partying too hard and you still have to get up the next morning and go to work. And when you wake up, your head is pounding and you feel like total garbage.

Likewise, if you allow your pity party to go on for too long, you run the risk of trapping yourself even deeper in the mire of your own doubt. It becomes harder and harder to pull yourself out of the swamp and get back on the path toward kicking all sorts of ass.

I’m not saying that it’s not okay to allow yourself a brief bit of self-pity from time-to-time. A change of perspective can sometimes illuminate a path or tactic that you may not have previously considered. The key, though, is to acknowledge that things aren’t where you want them to be and then actually DO something about it. Instead of wallowing in the swamp and moaning about your predicament, haul yourself out of it and take positive action toward changing your life for the better. The action doesn’t have to be huge; it just has to be action in the right direction.

Each and every step will bring you closer to eventual success. Don’t sabotage your progress by wasting energy on a pity party.

One step. One action. One vision.

By the way, if you haven’t seen the new digital series THE CONTAINED yet, be sure to check it out here – we need your help to make it a reality! Thank you!

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