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How to Have a Productive Pity Party

Productive pity party, sounds contradictory doesn't it? But allowing ourselves time to feel the pain of disappointment or grief is key to our own resilience.



Many of us worry, life coaches included, that if we open ourselves up to those feelings, we will be perceived as Negative Nellies, or worse - weak. The truth is, by not giving ourselves permission to feel the sadness, frustration or disappointment it's like trying to hold a beach ball underwater. Preventing the ball from launching itself out of the water takes a lot of work and energy. In my experience, it's very difficult to think of anything else but trying to keep the beach ball below the surface. Holding in our feelings is no different. It's hard to move on if you are resisting some powerful emotions. Hosting a productive pity party is a great way to experience those lower vibration emotions and bounce back to a healthier, more positive viewpoint.


First ask yourself, “What have I lost as a result of this situation?” For example, if you didn’t get a job you applied for, you might write down, “I’ve lost …”

  1. The opportunity to do something I love,

  2. The excitement of moving to a new city,

  3. A $10,000 pay increase, etc.

Next, ask yourself, “What have I learned because of this?” To continue using the missed job opportunity example you might write, “I learned that…”

  1. I really want to live in a city,

  2. That I am ready for a change in my career,

  3. That I need more practice with my interviewing skills, etc.

Finally, challenge yourself to explore and see the positives of the situation. To do that, ask yourself, “What have I gained?” and write your responses.

  1. More experience interviewing,

  2. Confidence in my interviewing skills,

  3. Clarity on the type of job I want and where I want to live

You can see that the shift from a pity party to a productive pity party is in the last 2 questions. It’s there that we challenge our brains to shift perspectives; to open the door to the possibility of a new opportunity or even something to gain from the experience.

The other day I was taking a weightlifting class. After already doing 3.5 minutes of consecutive squats, our instructor, Kristin Johnson Bott of Mindful Wellness, asked us to pulse 16 times at the bottom of the squat to finish. At this point my legs were screaming for mercy. And then she said something profound, “Come on people! We need to spend time at the bottom because that’s where change happens!” And there was my A-ha moment. Whether we are talking about changing our bodies or making changes in our lives, we need to spend time at the bottom to move back to the top. So have that pity party. Sit in the darkness. Acknowledge the hurt. And then begin exploring the possibility that you have learned or gained something as a result of that challenging experience.


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