July 27, 2013 at 4:36 am #39271
I am 35 and my husband is 39. We have been trying for baby’s for almost three years with no known cause for not falling pregnant. Any one who has battled infertility knows that it is heartbreaking.
Anyway, I lost my job last September. I was on contracts in a Government department and I really enjoyed my work, however they made cut backs and I found myself out of work. After a dozen applications (including selection criteria’s) I got a job that paid almost half of what I had been receiving, however after 4 months of being unemployed, I was desperate. I quickly discovered the job did not fit with me personally or ethically – the way clients were treated was appalling, and it was a ‘sales and marketing job’ really. My profession and passion is firmly grounded on human justice. Cut to six months later and my probation contract was nearly up and basically I was ‘let go’ this time i.e. fired. My ‘sales performance’ was not up to scratch.
I was relieved and left with my head held high. However – and this is where my issue is that I require advice on – my self esteem and confidence is in tatters. I do a really, really awful job interview. I don’t know why. I am not usually intimidated by people in power in a professional context, however my track record at job interviews is appalling. I get so nervous, I physically shake, my voice shakes, and I cannot think on my feet.
I recently applied for a job that I had done a few years ago and left on very good terms. One of the people on the panel is someone I have as a referee on my current resume. I stuffed up. I didn’t get the job. Feedback was my nerves and ‘you know your stuff. Come prepared’. I was. I just could not think, my brain went to mush.
I feel like I am a failure for not being able to mother a child to my very loving caring husband (I know I am so lucky to have him) and I feel like a failure for not being able to get a job. The most frustrating thing is I am good at what I do – in the right job.
I am at a loss. I feel terribly terribly sad as I have to much time to think. A big part of me just wants to be a stay at home mum. And if I cant do that (no baby to do it with) then I want to work (which is what I also enjoy) and save money so we can afford infertility treatment, and well, afford to live. We cant for much longer with just one income. I feel like a failure and I know its wrong to label myself like that, however this is the second time in a year it has happened. Is the universe trying to tell me something or what???July 27, 2013 at 7:15 am #39276
I’m very sorry for the tough times you’ve been experiencing. Sometimes life can seem to push us around, preventing us from living our dream… and your story is heart-wrenching. I sat with your story, asked the universe to help us get to the bottom of this, and a few things came to heart. Don’t despair, there is always a path to joy!
Sometimes it can be very difficult to let go. We’re told from a very young age that we have to push push push to get what we want out of life, and so we do just that. We envision a path for ourselves, and then start our search… where are the keys, where are the locks… where is the job… where is my happiness… where is my contentment.
This can lead us into imbalance, because as we look to the horizon, we lose our connection to the vibrancy and beauty that is all around us. For instance, with the job interview, it seems as though a few things get stuck in your head that absorb your attention. The first is perhaps the people interviewing might be seen as the gatekeepers of your future… your happiness. They sit in judgment of your value, and so the mind scrambles around attempting to find that value and present it to them. This is very draining, because we don’t really do our best when we are rooted in the mind.
Instead, what we can do is remain rooted in the heart, which then uses the mind as its tool. The mind dissects, the heart connects. Instead of seeing gatekeepers, we do better to envision them as brothers and sisters, struggling toward a common goal. You know how well you do when your fear settles, and that your energy is highly valuable, and so when you’re shaking hands with an interviewer, it isn’t “please hire me” but rather “what might we build together”.
Now, this is easy to say here, and envision outside the actual process of interviewing. But when it counts, it tends to slip away! Darn it! However, we can use our information about what has been happening to shift the way we work with our mind and body, so that we become more stable and rooted. This is what allows our inner voice to come through. Said differently, when we have a good grasp on how our mind and body work, we can minimize the distractions and bolster our creative spirit.
This requires a bit of training, and works well in a two-fold strategy. The first is sitting meditation, and the second is metta practice. Sitting meditation develops a spaciousness of mind, so that when some fear arises, instead of feeling sucked into the fear and racing thoughts, it happens like a buzzing bee in a big garden. “Oh, hi fears, go play with some flowers, I have some tending to do over here.” Metta practice is what will strengthen the view of the “other” (such as the interviewer) as a sibling rather than a gatekeeper. Metta is a pali word for loving-kindness, and is sometimes referred to as the warmth and nobility that is in the heart. It is unselfish, rather recognizes that we have the ability to help ourselves and others grow a loving and satisfying path… and through our efforts, that is our steadfast intention.
Ajahn Jayasaro is one of my favorite YouTube teachers, and has a lot of great videos. Specifically, a “counting breath” meditation and “metta”. Feel free to have a search for those and see how his words resonate with you. There are also guided meditations all over YouTube, as well as local Buddhist centers or sanghas which offer free and low cost help in establishing healthy meditation techniques.
Another thing that came to mind is the process of manifesting our dreams. Our inner and outer environments work in harmony with one another, bringing lessons and opportunities each day. Sometimes when we envision something very specific, we are thinking about that dream and miss the breadcrumbs that lead us down the path of creating that dream. It reminds me of a story about a man drowning and praying to God for help. A boat comes along, and he says “no thanks, I’m waiting for God.” He drowns, gets up to heaven and says “why didn’t you save me?” To which God says “ummm.. I sent you a boat.”
To put this in practical terms, consider writing down your dreams and then letting them go. Accept that you want the items you’ve written, or something even more fulfilling. Then let them go, such as a seed implanted into soil. As you let the visions fade from your head, you bring your attention back into the body, into your senses, and say “OK, what is here now? What needs tending in this moment? What is my heart calling me to do with what I am seeing and hearing and smelling?” Then do that, follow the inspiration. This is how we nourish the dream. If our mind is agitated, we breathe. If our armpits stink, we bathe. If we’re feeling disconnected, we go walk in nature. If we’re hungry, we eat. This attunes us to our body, which is the instrument the universe uses to pour water and shine light on the dream.
Take heart, because what I see is someone much closer to contentment than she believes, and deeper than she knows is possible. These obstacles become our fuel, the motivation and method through which we find our voice and our freedom. Namaste, distant sister!
MattJuly 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm #39288
Thanks Matt. Thank-you for taking the time to read what I had to say and for the lengthy reply.July 27, 2013 at 11:13 pm #39290
Although I’m not in exactly the same situation, some of the feelings you are having really struck a chord with me. I’m a military wife, 38, moving around, my career (which i’m also good at) isn’t portable, so I don’t work much. I got accepted into grad school, got a teaching assistant position and 3 days later we were told we were moving… I do not have kids- it’s not that I don’t want them, but I just feel too old to start all of that right now in my life. We are on our way to move again- we don’t even have a dog because we keep moving and the added stress and expense of a dog seems overwhelming.
Anyway, all of that said, what we have in common is the fear of dreaming, since things that are important to us just don’t seem to be working out. What do we do now? Stop dreaming? Find other dreams that aren’t really truly our heart’s desires? I don’t have the answer. I am learning to be happy in the moment and thankful for things that are good in my life. I actually have a lot of what I wanted, even though it just doesn’t look like what I want.
I have 5, yes FIVE, pregnant friends right now. Although I’m not exactly in the same boat as you, I can assure you that I feel no less isolated and alone than you likely feel. I wonder if anyone else is like me (choosing not to have children because of age, lifestyle, social issues)? I have spent a lot of time in the last months wondering, second guessing, feeling frustrated and anxious about not having children… I have some skills that can help with these feelings, so they don’t overwhelm me anymore, but I still struggle.
I’m wondering, have you ever read or watched the documentary “The Secret”? This book/idea was BIG some years back, and I wasn’t really interested, but seeing that it was available on netflix I watched it not long about and it really gave me some insight about how my feelings are affecting what is (or isn’t) happening in my life. Even if you don’t totally subscribe to the science/spirituality behind it, I think it’s a great concept to learn to put things from the negative into the positive. For example, if you keep hoping that the police won’t pull you over, are you actually willing that to happen. Instead, learn how to put your wishes into the positive!
I wish you the best and I’m glad that you are trying to figure things out.July 28, 2013 at 2:56 am #39294
Hi Tara and thanks for replying. I also liked what you have to say.
I know (and clearly you do to) that women in this day and age are often tossing up careers versus kids. My personal observation is you women like us (I’m guessing you live in a western first world country) either have the maternal instinct or you don’t. If you do, look out – it’s gonna take over your life.
Maybe it’s just not what you really want…maybe you feel like you do because your friends are all having baby’s, or maybe its a matter of being doubtful about the lifestyle that goes with an army wife?? (If its any consolation, a close girlfriend of mines husband is in the Airforce, they move around heaps, yet she has two under two, and yep, is pregnant again).
To ‘thicken’ my story a little, to you and Matt, and anyone who cares to read it or reply, I am already a mother. I have a 15 year old son who lives with us full time. Being a mother has been my biggest achievement in life. He is awesome. Yes, I know, lucky me.
I grew up in very impoverished circumstances. Got with his Dad at 16, pregnant at 19, he left me at that stage. It was very very hard. I put myself through University. It took me additional years to do it, but I got there eventually. I got a paying job after, and eventually could afford to buy a little house for son and I. A lot went on in between, but that’s the short story. I eventually meet the man of my dreams and I marry him. We met on a dating site.
What am I trying to demonstrate here?? I have learnt that you get NOTHING and NOWHERE without hard work and perseverance.
I haven’t had some great life travelling overseas and having fabulous career and then get all pissed because I cant get pregnant in my 30’s. I worked my butt off to provide a decent and respectful life for my son and I. My husband is like a gift, as much as my son, and it pains me that my husband cannot have children of his own, with me. Please don’t anyone comment about being a stepdad / role model to my son – it isn’t the same. We have a great family life yes, but I only have to put myself in my husbands shoes about not being able to parent.
So anyways, here’s tough little me, back battling lol. Please don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for all that I have. But maybe you, dear reader, now understand how my self esteem and confidence is feeling a little bit beaten. Coz deep down I’m still that pathetic little kid and I feel ashamed of my unemployed situation and I feel very unworthy at job interviews.
Ps I will look up ‘The Secret’ Tara. Thank-you 🙂July 28, 2013 at 3:05 am #39295
Message to Tara – hope I didn’t say anything that could be interpreted as being rude or arrogant about having kids. It was definitely not my intention. Sorry if I did.