One of the hardest things about a pity party must be the loneliness, but that's the criteria for a pity party. It's a party for one. No invitations are sent. There's no RSVP policy. As a matter of fact, there's usually no planning involved at all.
Example #1: The gym
How is it the place where you go to feel better about yourself can be the most discouraging of all?
5AM: the alarm sounds. Groggily you make your way out of bed and don your workout clothes, grab your water bottle, and walk out the door by 5:30. "Yes!", you think, "I'm doing this!" It's leg day, and as daunting as that sounds, you're up for it. As a matter of fact, your legs are pretty strong. Mentally, you've got this. Then, it happens: you stand facing the mirror to begin your squats. Did I mention the mirror? The room sized mirror lines the entire back wall as an evil reminder of why you come to the gym. Oh sure, there are "no judgement" placards hung probably around the gym. If only they could stamp that into your brain because it's far from a no judgment zone. You squat, bar heavy on your neck, your knee panging, you look into the mirror, and you see it. Your reflection staring back at you, and not just looking at you, but judging you for the bulge in the middle that pokes and squishes with each successive squat.
So it begins. The elation, satisfaction, and self-worth you felt as you pulled out of your driveway to exercise are quickly replaced by disgust, anxiety, and self-loathing. Everyone around you continues to lift, talk, and laugh. You hold back your tears, paste on a smile, and begin an inward debate much like the cartoons of old with an angel character on one shoulder and a devil on the other. The angel speaks reason, "You are here. You are doing good. It's something! Keep going. You can do it."
The devil counters, "You don't fit in here. Everyone else is already fit. They look at you and laugh. You'll never conquer this. It hurts. It's no fun. You're weak."
Each consecutive exercise seems heavier and more difficult than normal. You forget to count your reps because the conversation inside your head dominates your concentration. You stand back from the crowd, attempt to hide from others, and fight back the urge to cry because that would look even more ridiculous. You finish the day on the treadmill. People on either side of you are running in place as you breathe heavily and lower your pace to that of a turtle. You feel inept, sub par, and so alone. How can others understand? They are running, for goodness sake! All you can do is put one foot in front of the other and hold your head high as you walk out of the gym accomplished, yet defeated.
Example 2: The workplace
You've been hurt. A coworker, friend, or patron has left you and gone to another. Swirls of doubt and what if's plague your mind. But, you have a job to do, so you plaster on a fake smirk and push through.
The effort it takes to complete your ordinary, perhaps even mundane, tasks weighs heavily upon you. You feel inept at your job. You begin to doubt you're even in the right career.
At home your attitude worsens. You don't feel the need to hide your emotions from your family, so you mope around the house. Not willing to share too much, you prefer to sulk and withdraw. Your family sees you smile at work and faithfully complete work obligations, but at home your despondency sends a mixed message. Your family feels as if they are the cause for this mood change because you never want to talk about work. Sometimes days pass, sometimes longer, before you decide to let your guard down and let people love you again because the reality is: you feel unlovable.
Example 3: Family drama
The ones who you love the most hurt you the most. Unconditional love may be required within family circles, but what of unconditional respect, acceptance, and forgiveness? That's another story.
Maintaining close family relations requires work. Unfortunately equal distribution of labor is difficult. Seems as if everyone waits for someone else to plan. Feelings of loneliness creep in creating false scenarios in your head.
It's funny how you can be in a room filled with people and still feel alone. Families morph over time. Change is inevitable. Children grow and encounter different friends through the years. Some you learn to love, and others you may never meet. They are a chapter or line in the life of a family member but not grafted in. Time continues to pass until "the one" comes along, and spouses, in-laws, enter the mix.
With each new addition, you might encounter growing pains. You learn the personalities, likes, and dislikes of your new family. Sometimes compromises must be made, old traditions changed, and new traditions emerge.
Families experience loss, heart ache, and tribulation together. Each member processing differently. Many times we lash out at each other instead of seeking comfort, thus, causing sorrow upon sorrow.
As family units grow, so grows the extended family. Dynamics change drastically when children become adults and grandchildren enter the picture. As the outer circle enlarges encompassing the new addition, the concentric circle focuses on the bull's-eye, so to speak. You recognize you are a part of something big, but each individual family gets caught up in their own world. Each family unit might carry on the tradition of the past; however, independently from the group, therefore division, loneliness, and uncertainty creep in.
Preconceived ideas of what others must be doing or thinking lead to a lack of patience and quick temper. Words are exchanged, people are hurt, and again, you are left lonely.
Reckless thoughts in your head leaving a wake of casualties along your path.
2 Corinthians 10:5b (NLT)
We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
Philippians 3:2 (NLT)
I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.
Mind games: not for fun, but to be overcome. A battle rages daily inside of you. It is high time you rise up, kick the devil off of your shoulder, and stomp him underground. Hearken unto the voice of the Lord and recognize:
You are loved!
You are enough!
You are family!
This pity party is over!