We’ve all had those days. The weather man promised sun; you wake up to pouring rain. There’s not enough milk left to dip your Cheerios, never mind pour a bowlful. You don’t remember about the cup of coffee you put on the roof of your car until you’re half way to work. And then when you finally get to work, it’s like some paper demon puked paper all over your desk overnight. Oh yeah … and the boss didn’t even let you grab a cup of coffee before starting in on you asking for the latest report on the project you had to take over because a co-worker quit.
What is a person to do? Some people will tell you to buck up, keep your chin up, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, count your blessings, etc, etc, etc. And it’s not that these things are wrong. But sometimes what you need is a chance to grovel in your misery, for just a little bit, before going back to being strong.
When learning how to diffuse difficult situations with customers, we are told to let the customer vent; let them get their frustrations and anger out and then move into the resolution process. That is an effective technique for us as well. When we hold our frustrations in, when we feel compelled to always put on our happy face, we suppress the frustration until BOOM … we blow and very often we end up taking it out on someone we love, simply because they are close by. Not fair to them at all!
I was at a session years ago where the speaker said “It’s not wrong to go to a pity party now and then. Just don’t stay there!” I absolutely agree. Before heading to the pity party, take the following into consideration.
Is there a trusted colleague, friend or family member you can bring with you? Someone that will listen to your venting and know that is all it is? Don’t vent to a “fixer”; someone who will feel compelled to try and fix your problems. You’ll just make their life more stressful.
Don’t stay long. An effective pity party is more like a casual come and go reception as opposed to an all-nighter. If you stay at the party too long, it gets harder and harder to leave. Pop in for a bit and then leave.
Don’t go too often. Too much partying of any kind is detrimental to overall physical, mental or emotional well-being. Pop in at the pity party now and again, but don’t become a regular. Sometimes keeping your chin up or counting your blessings is the best strategy.
And last but not least, it’s ok to party alone. If there isn’t anyone close by when you really need to vent, grab a piece of scrap paper, set a timer for about five minutes and start venting on paper. When the timer goes off … stop … crumple that piece of paper up, toss it in the garbage and get on with your day.
When you do pop in at your pity party, be sure to bring your ray of sunshine with you. You can tuck it in your purse or your back pocket for just a bit, but after one deep gulp of misery, pull out the optimism and get back to living your life with joy and with purpose.