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  • Melissa Sims

Leaving My Pity Party

In the whirlwind of life's challenges, big and small, it's easy to find yourself trapped in the quicksand of self-pity and negativity. However, shifting focus towards positivity can be transformative, as long as you can distinguish it from the often misunderstood concept of toxic positivity. 

It’s been quite a month for me motivationally. I just haven’t felt the spark or really in the mood to get into work tasks fully or even to get into the holiday spirit. I do love Christmas, but if I’m being totally honest, Halloween is my jam. It’s not about anything but having fun, which is a lot less stress on me personally. 

I really haven’t been able to figure out

what my deal is lately (can you say Grinch?!) until last night when, 4 days before Christmas, my refrigerator decided to kick the bucket. Impeccably timing, especially since I am hosting Christmas dinner this year. This happened literally minutes after I had found out that my brand new car was going to be at least another 5 days in the shop than expected because they hadn’t even looked at it yet. So I was a little irritated, to say the very least. Exasperated, I looked at my son and said “are you kidding me? What else can go wrong?!” He just kind of blankly stared at me like I was losing it for being so mad. And I was mad, I tell you! I sat there in my chair, looking for new $3,000 refrigerators, getting more and more mad. My husband even told me that I would probably be better off NOT looking right now, especially in my “state.” Well that just set me off even more. “My ‘state?!’ Of course he didn’t think it was a big deal, he never cooks. I am hosting 14 people in 4 days and he won’t have to do much, so why would he care?!” The Crazy Thoughts Train was steam rolling into town and it wasn’t pretty. It was actually quite comical now that I look back.

I slept terribly that night, convincing myself that I would have to return a few presents if I was going to have to buy a refrigerator. Completely not true, but my brain still went there. Just ridiculous. I woke up the next morning and realized that I am not practicing what I preach. I allowed my thoughts go completely rogue on me. I decided that I needed a new perspective or I was going to have a very rough end to my holiday season. I am not sure if you are with me here, but I truly do believe that you get whatever you put out into the universe. If I am putting negative energy out there, that’s all I’m going to get back…so I needed an attitude adjustment IMMEDIATELY. 

I reframed my pity party into gratitude, and not in a ‘toxic positivity’ way. I really tried to find the good in what happened. First, it forced me to clear out the fridge and freezer the night before - getting rid of those leftovers that have been sitting in there far too long. Second, I am lucky enough to have a garage, and I am so grateful that I have a refrigerator in it that works wonderfully! I was able to stick everything in there and nothing was spoiled. Second, even though $3,000 is not an extra expense I need around Christmas time, at least I have the money saved for something like this and it won’t harm us financially. What a relief! That prompted thoughts about how blessed I actually am, and brought all of my positives to the forefront of my mind. 

Do you know what happened? My brain calmed down. The crazy train departed Sims Station and I was clear enough to begin looking for solutions, instead of wallowing in self-pity. I noticed, even though all lights had gone out in the fridge, and no buttons would work, it was still cold somehow. YouTube, whether you are a fan or not, really can be such a lifesaver! It turns out, someone (who shall not be mentioned) accidentally pushed some buttons to turn on Sabbath mode. If you aren’t familiar, Sabbath is a religious observance of rest and no work, which includes no cooking, no watching TV, etc. Many appliances have this mode so no lights or electric sounds work, but the appliance itself still works. I learned how to take it out of Sabbath mode and voila! The refrigerator was fine. I lost a night of sleep and stressed my poor body out for nothing. Not to mention, I have a rental car while my car is in the shop, so I am really not “put out” at all. Amazing what a little shift in perspective does!

Self-pity and persistent negativity are more than just emotional states; they are lenses through which we view the world. Dwelling in these states can lead to a cycle of unproductiveness, poor mental health, and strained relationships. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy where negative thoughts breed more negativity, creating a barrier to personal growth and happiness. This is the classic “why me?” or “of course this happened to me…this stuff always happens to me!” attitude. Maybe you have your own crazy train?

On the flip side, embracing a positive mindset can be a game changer. It's not about ignoring life's difficulties but rather choosing to approach them with a constructive attitude. Positivity enhances resilience, making it easier to navigate hardships and recover from setbacks. It fosters an environment conducive to growth, creativity, and improved mental health. Positive thinking often leads to positive outcomes, as it encourages a proactive approach to problem-solving and goal-setting.

It's crucial, however, to differentiate a healthy positive mindset from toxic positivity. The latter is the overgeneralization of a positive outlook, where genuine emotions and difficult experiences are dismissed or invalidated under the guise of 'staying positive.' We all know people that glaze over issues and have the “everything is fine, things are great” approach to life. This approach is harmful as it denies the natural human experience of a full range of emotions and can lead to emotional suppression and isolation. 

The key is balance. A healthy positive mindset involves acknowledging and accepting negative emotions while not allowing them to dominate your outlook. It's about finding the silver lining without dismissing the cloud. This approach allows for a more authentic and holistic experience of life's ups and downs. This is what allowed my brain to calm the heck down and start looking for solutions instead of more problems. 

Focusing on positive things isn't about wearing rose-colored glasses; it's about choosing resilience and hope in the face of adversity. While it's vital to steer clear of toxic positivity, embracing a genuinely positive mindset can lead to a more fulfilled, productive, and happier life. So next time you find yourself spiraling into negativity, remember the power of shifting your focus. It's not just about feeling better; it's about creating a better reality for yourself.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday and that the rest of your season is full of positivity!


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