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March 10, 2006
We all have days when the bad things seem to outweigh the good ones and we begin to think that life isn't fair. You get stuck in traffic, which makes you late for an important meeting, and then your car gets towed. You might ask yourself, "Why me?" Events like this one can test anyone's ability to be grateful and feel optimistic. If you have a tendency to feel sorry for yourself, and many of us do, things usually progress to the next stage: the pity party. You begin to feel like the innocent victim of a dismal fate because you are seeing your life through inaccurate lenses. Most of the thoughts that run through your mind at times like these are not helpful, and they mainly serve to increase your indignation and feelings of powerlessness. What these feelings and thoughts don't do is change your circumstances or make you feel better.
When you have a terrible day, there should definitely be a time and place to have your feelings so you can process them. It's important not to pretend that you are fine with things when you aren't. It's also important, however, to notice when you're having a pity party. It's a good idea to set a time limit in which to fully express your emotions and not feel guilty, ashamed, or judge yourself. Having a friend witness you during this process can be helpful. You may also want to write about your feelings. When your time is up, let go of the negativity you just expressed. You can declare your intention to your friend. If you've written down your feelings, you can burn the piece of paper or throw it in the recycling bin.
Try not to dwell on unpleasant experiences and do everything you can to avoid holding on to negative emotions. When you indulge in self-pity, you only make a bad day worse. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, release the notion that you are a victim, and notice the good that exists in your life.
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