Don't feel sorry for yourself on Valentine's Day

We've all been there — single on Valentine's day, getting over a breakup, lusting after someone we can't have or perhaps even fighting with our spouse or significant other. There's always a reason to pout on the Day Made For Love, even if it's just because you got the crappy bunch of flowers from the grocery store and not the dozen roses from Whole Foods you were hoping for (although this has NEVER happened to me). And as so often is the case, there are two paths you can take on a day like today, with so much building up to it even though it has the same number of hours, minutes and seconds as any other day of the year: You can either suck it up and enjoy it just like any other day of the year, or you can feel sorry for yourself for all that's gone wrong:

  • Gasp! He's not the perfect man. He didn't get all the hints you dropped about that diamond cross necklace. He didn't even get the hint about CHOCOLATE. Meh.
  • He doesn't like me because I'm flat chested, or fat, or too short, or because of my crooked nose. I am hideous and I will end up an old maid.
  • Poor me. I got zero sleep last night, I haven't showered in 2 days, tonight is going to be another rocky night with the baby and I have ZERO desire to cook a steak dinner tonight.

Because you see, "Feeling sorry for myself" is the first Identified Feeling on my Planning the Work list.

I feel sorry for myself a lot.

I got no sleep last night; I deserve a coffee.

Why shouldn't I have a chocolate after lunch? And then some cake and ice cream after dinner? I know it's not a holiday. But if I say "I can't," I'll just feel left out. And sorry for myself.

I have it so hard. Nobody deals with what I deal with every day. So therefore I am the martyr and the victim, throwing myself a constant pity party, thinking, speaking and acting in ways that reinforce the belief that I don't have control over my own choices. My own emotions. My own life.

I told you this was going to get ugly.

It's one thing to identify the feelings that come up when you face a problem or recurring theme, pattern or psychological situation, and it's an entirely different beast to actually sit down and try to sort it out and come up with a plan of attack in terms of counteracting the faulty brain wiring. But isn't that the Planning I'm supposed to be doing right now? After all, there really are an abundance of resources out there these days to get you back in your right mind. There's tapping, which I just discovered; there's age-old meditation, which I'm finally making time for again at least once a week; prayer is constant and repetitive in this house; I could even include in the all-encompassing toolbox yoga, plain old affirmations, psychotherapy and any other general or specific stress- and anxiety-reducing exercises.

So now it's time to pick a tool from that toolbox. That's called Planning the Work, my friends. Told ya I was for real about this.

To me at least, feeling sorry for yourself can be a shallow, lame construct used to get attention or it can represent something deeper — really touching now on the victim/martyr role — whether due to a trauma or tragedy from your past or just those nit-picking little voices that make you feel like you're not good enough, you've got it real bad, you'll never get what you want, what have you. In my case I think this one is sort of middle-of-the-road. Nothing tragic or traumatic happened to me in the past that would lead me to constantly play the victim, but at the same time, I'm not one of those Please Feel Sorry For Me attention seekers. That doesn't really lend itself, therefore, to serious psychotherapy OR some wimpy little self-love affirmations. So I think for this faulty story I need a modern, current tool from the toolbox that will help me to stop falling into this relatively new Victim Trap.

I'm gonna go with tapping this time, friends, for 10 points. I won't guide you through the theory behind it or the basic steps, but I will provide you with 2 links to succinct ways to do it and find relief.

Now, the only way this will really work, of course, is if I really do tap on it. Experts recommend 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night, to start. Doesn't sound like much, but at the end of a long day I consider it an accomplishment if I wash my face...however, no pain, no gain. I refuse to keep loading on the burdens with this I'm Feeling Sorry For Myself because I'm The Victim attitude. It does not serve me in any positive way. Rather, it keeps me stuck in this place where the wounds never heal because I'm constantly licking them. Break the chain, change the channel and develop a new habit.

If you are having your own pity party — today more than any day — change the channel in your brain, too. This is a day about love, not pain. Deep or shallow, it's no place to be when you should be concentrating on the positive instead. Get out of your funk tonight and I'll see you on the other side!

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