HomeBlogLife GuidanceChronicles of a (recovering) control freak: Top-Secret Pity Party

Chronicles of a (recovering) control freak: Top-Secret Pity Party


Y’all be kind to me. I’m about to share something I don’t think I have ever actually admitted to out loud- because doing so would’ve made me seem less in control of things if I’m being brutally honest. So here we go.

I used to be really bad about (ahem- I mean— can sometimes be guilty of still…) throwing pity parties for myself. I’m talk the whole theatrical “whoa is me” and a lot of ‘they don’t like want love appreciate me” kind of pity party. But, the catch was- don’t you dare give me pity!

One day I caught myself in one of these internal temper tantrums and started thinking about it and why I was even doing it in the first place- especially because I kept it to myself and didn’t want anyone to know I was suffering inside (ahem- another control thing).

As I started reflecting on it more, I noticed the irony of how I was throwing a pity party, but didn’t want anyone’s pity- “what’s the point of doing this Ashley?!” As I was thinking about it, I realized that sympathy and pity seem to have this subtle nuanced implication that we are less than or separate from the others. Yet, I was separating myself anyways.

As I explored this and reflected on it more and more, I realized that the answer to my problem was that I was lacking self-compassion, and had no idea what that even was.

In case you too are wondering (because Google’s definition doesn’t do it justice) compassion is the practice of recognition and acceptance of our shared humanity, leading us to treat ourselves, and others, with loving kindness, acceptance, and understanding. This is an adapted definition from Brene Brown’s book Atlas of the Heart, which I think does a better job of capturing the nuance of compassion versus pity and sympathy.

I had to first stop separating myself and start recognizing that everyone has had some experience where they can relate to my current situation and that the situation or struggle didn’t make me less than anyone else. From there, I had to figure out what I actually wanted and needed. That alone was a challenge. I could tell you what I DIDN’T want, and what I DIDN’T need- but answer what actually I wanted and needed ???? , that took a lot of internal exploration.

As I started uncovering who I was and what I needed and integrating that into my life, I became more fulfilled- confident in myself, the future, and was able to observe and accept challenges without making it part of my whole identity, and knowing that I may not have the answer, but I knew that I could keep trying until I found it. I didn’t put so much pressure on myself like I used to, either, or feel like the tower was about to topple with me standing in it all because I suddenly didn’t have control of things or was struggling at the moment.

One of my biggest challenges in getting to that place was working though and addressing my own fears of failure and redefining what learning is, and what constitutes failure, because even though we might hate to admit it- failure IS a PART of the LEARNING PROCESS. We trip, stumble, or flail, then learn from it, make the adjustment, and try again. Suddenly we went from crawling to running without any issues. But no one scolds the baby when they stumble, so why do we do it to ourselves?

This lesson was HUGE in my life, and sometimes I still catch myself falling back into those old habits, but I give myself grace and look a little closer to see what I can adjust in my life to learn and grow from the experience.

If you relate and you need support with working through those challenges and learning self-compassion, I’m here for you. My toxically independent self at the time had insisted I go through all of this alone, which led to a lot of struggles and a lot of trial and error, but you don’t have to take the same path. I’ve already blazed the trail for you and I’m happy to act as your guide. Set up a call and lets talk!

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