Having a Pity Party - When it's a Good Idea!

One of the biggest issues our modern culture has today is that we don't pay enough attention to our emotions. Society places learning, knowledge, achievement and money ABOVE how we feel.

As a result, many of us - and our clients - are so distanced from our emotions that we make choices that go against our very nature. And whether it's a small or big decision makes little difference, because over time even small actions add up.

And where does this leave us? It leaves us feeling discomfited, uncomfortable, grumpy, stressed, unhappy, wanting more from life but not knowing why, confused - and in some cases anxious and depressed.

We like to believe we've learned to manage our feelings and emotions. We are after all rational, logical creatures and we're not animals - we can CONTROL our feelings.

Well, of course we can't! Our feelings are there whether we acknowledge them or not. And helping our clients learn to identify, listen to, respect and learn from the information in their feelings is essential if we want them to have fulfilling lives. Because hidden inside our feelings are messages from our deepest selves - don't take that job, that friend is bad for us, pay off your debts, apologise to your child, do MORE of this and LESS of this.

Feelings may not be logical but they are an essential part of being human...

So, when IS it a good idea to have a "Pity Party?"

Well how about when there has been a big, difficult event in a client's life, when they feel overwhelmed and stressed or have been feeling sad, grumpy, uncomfortable or rejected and don't seem to be able to shake it?

I have given "Have a Pity Party" as an action to my clients on a number of occasions - and everyone felt a release afterwards. In addition, they were asked to ponder on the message these feelings were sending them - and usually there was some 'realisation' that went with the 'allowing' of their feelings.

And for those clients who feel victimised or seem to be having a "Pity Party" all the time - you can also give an action which says; have a "Pity Party" one evening this week, or for 5 minutes a day and then STOP the "Pity Party" and get on with your life. The message is that it's OK to feel sorry for yourself and have those 'negative' emotions - just don't STAY there!

Try this: ALLOW the feelings but don't WALLOW in them!

We are unable to stop our emotions arising but we have a choice how we RESPOND once we notice them - we can ignore and repress our emotions or we can respond with curiosity and kindness. It's when we respond with curiosity and kindness that we're able to hear the message from our emotions and make the authentic choices that lead to a fulfilling life. We don't need to ACT on every feeling or emotion, we just need to RECOGNIZE them and take into account how we feel when we make our decisions.

So, when it's part of the coaching process, a "Pity Party" gives our clients permission to feel and explore their 'negative' emotions - and learn about themselves in the process!

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Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce Kindness.com. She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>

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