I’ve had a lot of time to think since I last posted. One of the things that has come to mind time and again is how some of us are inclined to throw ourselves pity parties. I hate to admit it, but this is sort of a special talent of mine. If throwing personal pity parties were a spiritual gift, I’d be a Super Christian. Now, before you start thinking I’m totally pathetic, I have to say that I also have enough self-awareness to snap myself out of it.

The last few months, I may have thrown a few pity parties. Yeah, I definitely did. Some of the things were silly. Some were deeper rooted and still difficult for me to handle, but what God has been showing me is this…

You are your own worst enemy when you start feeling sorry for yourself.

It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you start to think like you’ve been granted the short end of the stick in life, things do seemingly get worse and worse. Have you ever said, “When it rains, it pours”? Me too. But recently, I’ve really tried to stop voicing negativity about my life. Here’s why…

When you throw a pity party…

1. You forget to be thankful for the abundance of blessings poured out on you daily.

Sometimes life is really hard, but if you are reading this, I’m guessing you’ve lived a pretty charmed life. Hear me out…do you have a roof over your head? Do you have people to love, clothes to wear, food to eat, clean water to drink, and opportunities to better yourself? Air in your lungs? The beauty of creation outside your door? There are so many things for which to be thankful. If you’re focusing on the negatives in life, you are more than likely missing out on the joy all around you.

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2. You miss opportunities to help other people.

“Poor me. My life is so hard. I just want this. I just wish that. I…I…I” Want to be self-centered? Buy some decorations and throw yourself a pity party! When I was a young girl and I’d come home from school all mopey, Mom would ask, “What is one nice thing you did for someone else today?” That was an amazing way to get my attention and remind me that it’s not all about me. Not only that, but one of the best pick-me-ups is lending a hand to someone who needs it. There’s a world of need right outside your door. Feeling sorry for yourself? Look around and realize that there is always someone else with bigger fish to fry.

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3. You become prideful.

“I’m the only one who’s ever felt this way.” Have you said that before? Have you felt it? I can always tell someone is drowning in a pool of self-importance when she starts making claims that she’s the “only one” and that “no one understands”. What makes you think that your problems are so unique? Does it feel good to be the martyr who suffers in your own special way? I don’t mean to be harsh, but this attitude is truly a form of pride, and not the good kind. Everyone suffers in one way or another on this planet, but we are all in this together. No one is more important than another.

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4. You push people away.

When you take on the attitude that no one understands you and that you are all alone in your pitiful existence, you either keep people at arm’s length, or you push them away completely. Sure, you may feel like people don’t get exactly what you are going through, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care. Maybe they don’t know you’re suffering. Have you told anyone? Maybe they don’t know exactly how to help you, because they’re human, too. Have you asked for help? You may blame others for not being there for you, when in reality, you are the one who has robbed them of the opportunity.

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5. You excuse yourself from responsibility for your life (If you ask me, this might be the most destructive one…)

“My life is so hard. Look at all the things I’ve suffered. Poor me. No one cares. Nothing ever goes my way.” The truth is, sometimes life is the worst. We live in a broken world full of sinners. We aren’t always loved the way God intended, natural disasters happen, financial hardships come, we get sick, and sometimes we lose people we love. It is tough to say the least. I’ve been through a lot in my life, but the truth is, I still had choices to make. I’m thankful that I had a support system (my God, my parents, my church family, countless teachers and mentors) who steered me in the right direction. For the most part I’ve made positive decisions in spite of the hardships, but there were times I missed out because I was feeling sorry for myself. There are ALWAYS opportunities to better yourself. You can’t control what other people do, or how the weather changes, or what life throws at you, but you can decide to get up every day, thank God for your blessings, love the people around you, and make choices that will help you grow. You are responsible for who you become. Choose to be strong and courageous, no matter what life throws your way. Keep your chin up.

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(Thank you, one year old Josiah for being my cry-baby model…You’re beautiful even when you ugly cry! Thank you, Amber Chapman, for capturing pictures of my sweet boy!)