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Feeling stuck, repeated pattern

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  • #390296
    ginn
    Participant

    Hello all,

    I’m tired of my life, I know I need to change but don’t know where to start with.

    When I was child, I always ran away from problems and challenges.  I studied design which I was not that interested in university, I did it because my parents told me to and I found it interesting back then because everything was new to me. But after a few months of studied, I felt stressed, wanted to give up and dropped out the uni. My lecturer, uni counsellor and my mum stopped me in the end. After I graduated, I worked in a design company for 7 months, couldn’t find the spark of joy in work, resigned. Then I worked in another design company for 2 years, (thought different company and environment will be better), but too stressful, couldn’t find the joy and I got panic attacked. So I resigned. During the 2 years, I resigned once before but because of money, I went back to work again. Then I was thinking maybe business could do, so I applied for business course. But after 1 month, I dropped out because it was not what I expected.

     

    After a few months of staying at home doing nothing, because of financial, I simply found a job as an assistant teacher. At first, I found it very interesting. After 3 months, there’s a voice deep in my heart, telling me I could do better than this. I quit the job after working for 1 year. Here’s the repeated pattern, resigned my job to stay at home hoping for doing something bigger to change my life or the world. Unfortunately, all the thoughts just in my mind, no actions are taken.

    Now, I’m worried about my financial because I don’t have a job. I’m thinking to work back as an assistant teacher or a designer. Everyone that same age as me seems like doing so well with their career and life. And me, still living with my parents, doesn’t wanna take actions to change. Like waiting one day, miracle or a spark will change my life. Also, I don’t know what’s my passion is, I don’t know what makes me feel happy and joy. I couldn’t recall anything that makes me happy. I always feel stressed about my future and finances. My friend scolded me that I’m living too comfy with my life, everyone is looking for jobs, working hard for living. Yet, I’m still keep changing jobs, don’t know what to do in my life.

    I know I should take actions and everyone have their own time, is okay to be fear. But I don’t know why I couldn’t take any actions. Maybe I’m afraid of wasting time again for try and error, fear of failure? I seriously don’t know what happened to me.

    I cry everyday, I get panic attack when I feel stressful or in crowded place. I always thinking why I’m such a failure in my life. Finding a passion isn’t a simple thing? Why I couldn’t do that? Am I too picky for jobs? Please help me. I’m really appreciate for any reply. Thanks.

     

    PS : Sorry about my English, not a English native speaker. 🙂

     

    #390377
    Donna
    Participant

    Dear Ginn, I would like to say how amazing you are. Finding a passion is not a simple thing. In reality, it is exhausting and time-consuming to try new things every day and not take the easy route and just play it safe. I am sorry the uncertainty is causing panic attacks. I would love to say there is an easy answer to how to leave behind a pattern of behavior or a way to find out what you were destined to do in your life.  The only easy answer is this. First, ask yourself these questions

    1. what in the past has made you smile, laugh or find joy in your life? In hard times it’s hard to remember what brought you joy in the good times. If you don’t like designing what do you like to do? Is it everything about designing that you dislike? What about Drawing or Painting? Do you like Buildings or history.

    2. what in your life can you not live without, if nothing comes to mind then maybe find something to smile about. Is there a type of tea you have to have every day without fail? Finding small things every day that makes the day feel calmer or brighter helps lower stress.  My favored way to break out of a panic attack is peppermint tea or mints.

    3. is there someone you can talk to about dreams and goals someone who can be a sounding board to bounce ideas off of? Sometimes we get stuck in our heads and can’t get out.

    4. Stop measuring self-expectations based on others people’s lives. They could be just as envious of your life and you would never know.

    5. Worrying about money to pay the rent and not having any way to earn just adds to the pressure of being in a cycle. If you are unhappy in a job don’t let that job be the central focus of your life. Before work goes for a walk and get a coffee or after work go to the bar etc. Find ways to get out. Passion will come with time.

     

    Sorry if that was not very helpful.

    Donna

     

     

     

    #390383
    ginn
    Participant

    Hello Donna,

    Thank you for your warm reply.

    1. I couldn’t remember what brought me joy in the good times. Maybe family and friends being there to support me? But they are just tired to listen my problems and dreams now. They always changed the conversation of topic every time when I talked about that or ignore me. So I have been keeping everything to myself when I noticed their reactions towards me. I totally understand why they are doing this to me. As I always change my dreams and yet, I don’t take any actions for that. I like to see nice design and buildings but doesn’t like to work as a designer. Just like I like to eat, but don’t enjoy cooking.

    2.  I used to enjoy watching tv series and movies, but I recently I don’t find any interested in that anymore. I feel like I watch tv is a moment just to escape from the reality or escape the problems I should face in my life. I have lost my motivation and I’m not interested in anything anymore. Not even food, clothes, money.

    3. My therapist was the one I could talked to. Unfortunately, it is too expensive to continue and it didn’t help much.

    4. I have been trying out a lot of things lately like programming, cooking, web design, do business, etc. But I lost my passion in them too quickly like just in a week.

     

     

     

    #390384
    Donna
    Participant

    Ginn it’s understandable that in hard times to forget what brought us joy when times were well. Understanding that we once felt joy doesn’t have the same effect as feeling joy in creating or living life fully. I am first off sorry that you feel like your friends and family are tired of hearing about your troubles. If it helps any from a complete strangers point of view I believe they still care for you. It’s just hard sometimes for loved ones to see the ones they care for struggling with problems they are unable to help prevent or solve for them.
    From my own relationship with friends and family I know that sometimes they want to help but they just can’t understand why I am struggling with this situation when the answer is clear to them.

    I apologize for the lack of insight in how to fix this issue. Its one I have struggled with for years myself.  According to my family I just need to be content with mundane living and not look for passion.
    I want to feel something more than listless boredom while working at my job and to have both my mind and spirit impassioned with the work I do. Instead I feel bored and lacking something powerful. I end up quitting and looking for something new to feel needed.  I truly am the worst to tell you how it can be fixed.

    Its good that you have tried so many things to see if they are what you want to do in life.

    You said that when you try out new passions they fade out of interest in a weeks time. What would you say is the most common cause of your weakening interest? Boredom or is it more of looking for passion from a logical perspective and money wise way?  That for me is my number one cause ironically.

    It good that you had someone to talk to in the past about these things.  Although the fact it was too expensive and hardly helped isn’t good!

    Sorry if this doesn’t help. I’ll be a ear for you though.

    Donna

     

     

     

     

    #390390
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear ginn,

    I feel for you. I too was very disappointed in my choice of studies and wanted to change uni, but my mother threatened to stop supporting me financially if I do so. She was afraid I would never graduate if I start dropping out and changing fields, and she told me – either I stay at the place where I started, or I need to find a job. And so I chose to stay where I was, because I couldn’t imagine dropping out of uni altogether and joining the workforce at the age of 20.

    You say:

    When I was child, I always ran away from problems and challenges.

    When we are children, it’s normal that we run away from problems and challenges. The parents and other adults are there to help us when we face challenges. Could you give an example of a problem or challenge you used to run away as a child?

    I studied design which I was not that interested in university, I did it because my parents told me to

    Was it because you didn’t know what you liked, and so they suggested something to their liking? Or you did know what you liked, but your parents convinced you that that’s not the best choice?

    #390391
    ginn
    Participant

    Dear TeaK,

    Thank you for your understanding and your kind words.

    Here’s an example, I ran away from piano exam when I was twelve because I don’t want to fail it and embarrassed of myself. So I lied to my parents that I wanted to focus on my school exam and didn’t have enough time to practice my piano. So I quit it which I deeply regretting about it now. I hate myself because I didn’t being honest with my parents, maybe they could support me and let me know is okay to be fear. Another example is when I was working part time at high school, I couldn’t find a joy from it, then I simply did my work and made a lot mistakes. I was so scared that my boss would find out and fire me, so I decided to quit it before he find out.

    Yes, I didn’t know what I liked, so my mum suggested design course would better for me because my drawing skills is better than study books. Also, my mum always wanted to be a designer but she just dropped out of uni because of financial problem.

     

     

     

    #390394
    ginn
    Participant

    Dear Donna,

    I have already gotten the biggest help from you, Donna, that you are here to listen and reply me. Really appreciate for taking your time to read my problems.

     

    “According to my family I just need to be content with mundane living and not look for passion.”

    That’s what my family and friends told me too! I’m really upset and frustrated when I heard this. I’m totally feel for you, Donna. That’s why I don’t want to be like them, living a mundane life for this lifetime.

    I guess the most common cause of my weakening interest is I don’t feel like achieving anything instantly? and of course, money wise too.

     

    #390396
    Donna
    Participant

    Dear Ginn,

    Sometimes family means well but falls short of their intentions. While money concerns can weaken passion, I think it’s the fear of failure that is the true death of passion.

    I guess the most common cause of my weakening interest is I don’t feel like achieving anything instantly? and of course, money wise too.” 

    My question is this why do you have to have instant results? Every time I took up a new passion or interest with the hope of instant results I’ve failed.  The only thing we have control of is when we give up. What in life do you believe is as essential to your livelihood as the air you breathe. What can you not live without?

    In your post with Teak, you state that you regret lying to your parents about not going to piano practice because you were afraid to fail.  Who were you most afraid of disappointing? Yourself or your family?

    I believe you can get past this loop you are in and succeed at your life way beyond the minimum required to be functioning!

    Listening to you,

    Donna

     

    #390399
    ginn
    Participant

    Dear Donna,

    Sometimes family means well but falls short of their intentions. While money concerns can weaken passion, I think it’s the fear of failure that is the true death of passion.

    I’m totally agree with you on this. I was too impulsive and wanted to be successful overnight. I want to be successful because I want my parents to retire and enjoy their lives, they had been through a lot of hardships. The most afraid of disappointing person is my dad if I failed anything.  To be honest, I don’t care about the money, I just need it for my parents so they can have a better life. So I can freely chase my passion.

    Also, wanted to prove myself to those people who looked down on me. From kindergarten to junior high school, I used to be boycotted by my classmates. So this also lead to my low self-esteem. I don’t know if this has anything to do with my loop.

    So I believe that my family and freedom are indispensable things in my life. I always feel like I’m stuck in a tower, couldn’t get out from it. So if I started to do something, I knew that I will back in the loop which is giving up again. Now, I really lost the confidence to start anything.

    Any suggestions on where I can start to make changes? I want to have a better version of myself in 2022.  I have been in this tower for 8 years, I want to break free and I believe I can do it!

     

    #390403
    Donna
    Participant

    Dear Ginn,

    Wanting to help your parents enjoy their life is a worthwhile goal! The best way to do that is not to forsake yours though. I have no doubt that your dad loves you. Even if you did live your life different than his expectations he still would love you.

    Breaking out of a tower moment is hard to do quickly, to be honest, it will take a while. Small goals are better at the beginning than large ones. My suggestion is to figure out the monetary side first if you figure out how much you need to live and have time to spend on passion while helping your parents.

    If your goal is to help them retire then how can you help? Is there anything you actually can do to help with bills? Do they talk about going on vacation anywhere?  My suggestion is to talk to them about retirement and how you can help.

    I know that parents can be uncomfortable talking about such things and can make statements of  “it would help if you had a stable career so we don’t worry etc.” but talking can help bring understanding.

    I would also write down five things you would love to do.

    For example, my goals involve.

    1. Taking the JLPT exam in December

    2. Going on Vacation to Japan

    3. Having My Own Apartment.

    4. Sewing a Complete Wardrobe

    5. Owning my own Business

    I also have monetary goals too. but you get the idea.

    #390408
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear ginn,

    you are welcome. There are several things I would like to address.  One is that you said you often felt stressed about your studies or work, and this lead to giving up and resigning:

    I found it interesting back then because everything was new to me. But after a few months of studied, I felt stressed, wanted to give up

    Then I worked in another design company for 2 years, (thought different company and environment will be better), but too stressful, couldn’t find the joy and I got panic attacked

    Another example is when I was working part time at high school, I couldn’t find a joy from it, then I simply did my work and made a lot mistakes. I was so scared that my boss would find out and fire me, so I decided to quit it before he find out.

    I wonder if the reason for resigning is that you don’t feel good enough in what you’re doing – which causes you stress and panic attacks – rather than the lack of spark? Or maybe it’s the lack of spark that causes you to underperform, which then causes you to feel not good enough? In any case, it seems to me that feeling not good enough could be a theme for you. It could also be why you refused to take the piano exam, because you were afraid to fail and be embarrassed.

    It seems your classmates looked down on you and excluded you from their company:

    Also, wanted to prove myself to those people who looked down on me. From kindergarten to junior high school, I used to be boycotted by my classmates. So this also lead to my low self-esteem.

    That could be one more reason why you felt “lesser than”. And why failing an exam would feel so crushing for you.

    I don’t know how supportive your parents were as you were growing up. You said you were mostly afraid of disappointing your father. Was he strict and criticized you often? Do you feel he (or your mother) had expectations on you, which were hard to meet?

    I want to be successful because I want my parents to retire and enjoy their lives, they had been through a lot of hardships. The most afraid of disappointing person is my dad if I failed anything. To be honest, I don’t care about the money, I just need it for my parents so they can have a better life. So I can freely chase my passion.

    Your desire to provide for your family so they can retire, and at the same time chase your passion might be somewhat of a contradiction in itself. Because when we have financial obligations, we often don’t have the luxury to chase our passion, since our passion might need a lot of work and becoming proficient in it before it can really pay off and earn us a living. For many people it’s a long process, even if they know what their passion is. It takes a lot of time to “monetize” our passion.

    I think that’s one of the reasons you feel trapped in your tower (I always feel like I’m stuck in a tower, couldn’t get out from it.) Because it is a little bit of a pat position indeed… You can’t satisfy both your desire to chase your passion and to be successful relatively quickly and earn a decent amount of money for your parents, so they can retire.

    How do you feel about all this? We can unpack the problem further, if you’d like…

     

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by TeaK.
    #390425
    anita
    Participant

    Dear ginn:

    They have been through a lot of hardship…. To be honest, I don’t care about the money, I just need it for my parents so they can have a better life. So, I can freely chase my passion“-

    – Reads to me that for a long time, you felt very, very sorry for your parents for having lives of hardship, so you decided early on to postpone your own life, including your passions (whatever they may be), so to give them a better life first. You figured that after you give them a better life, then you will give yourself the permission to have your own life, your own passions.

    Fast forward, you did not succeed in giving your parents a better life, so your own life is still on hold. Did I understand correctly?

    anita

    #390438
    ginn
    Participant

    I’m sorry if I’m expressing this a little messy because I’m not sure what’s wrong to my life and my thoughts are a little bit jumbled. Hope we can piece it all together and figure it out. Thank you all very much indeed for your time, from my bottom of my heart. 

     

    Dear Donna, 

    Thank you for your suggestions. I will try to list down what small goals I can achieve for now instead of always thinking of achieving bigger goals overnight. Because I always think about achieving big goals or finding my passion while also worrying that it will cost me a lot of money when I achieve or go for it. Probably I’m too worried about the uncertainty of the future.

     

    Dear TeaK,

    I wonder if the reason for resigning is that you don’t feel good enough in what you’re doing – which causes you stress and panic attacks – rather than the lack of spark? Or maybe it’s the lack of spark that causes you to underperform, which then causes you to feel not good enough?

    You have asked a very good question. I seriously never thought about that. I think I like to being creative to think about design concept but the design process I don’t like it. For example: I like to stir-fry the food but I hate chopping or cutting the meat. I love a small part of it and hate most of it. I guess I was naive to think I could find a job that I liked it all.

    My parents are always supportive for everything I want to do in my life. That’s why I really appreciate them and want to help them to retired earlier. Because I was among the many children, I was the best academically, in terms of overall performance. So my dad has highly expectations on me. But my dad did always criticised me when I didn’t do well in anything. When I cried because I was stressed about small things, he would criticised me that why I was being so weak and useless, how could I achieve bigger things in life if I can’t even handle a little stress and small obstacles. I believe he is trying to comfort me and telling me it is okay, not a big deal.

    Your desire to provide for your family so they can retire, and at the same time chase your passion might be somewhat of a contradiction in itself.

    I understand that. I guess I don’t want to sacrifice any of it? I know that is hard to balance or have everything in the same time.  Maybe I should learn how to let it go.

     

    Dear Anita,

    Fast forward, you did not succeed in giving your parents a better life, so your own life is still on hold. Did I understand correctly?

    I think you got it on point.  I’m keep thinking should I earn money for my parents first? Or I should try and find my passion? But If I work the job I hate it just for money, I will feel my life is dead. At the same time, If I go to find my passion, I will think that I’m too selfish and not thinking about how hard my parents are. As my therapist told me is okay to try and error.  But what if I will probably end up broke without any working experience and let my parents down. That’s why my life is still on hold. I don’t have courage to make a move.

     

    #390439
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear ginn,

    I’m sorry if I’m expressing this a little messy because I’m not sure what’s wrong to my life and my thoughts are a little bit jumbled. Hope we can piece it all together and figure it out. Thank you all very much indeed for your time, from my bottom of my heart.

    you are very welcome, and don’t worry, you aren’t expressing yourself messy. Our lives are complex, there are many factors to take into account, and it takes time to get a clearer picture. But I too hope we can piece it all together is figure it out.

    My parents are always supportive for everything I want to do in my life. That’s why I really appreciate them and want to help them to retired earlier. Because I was among the many children, I was the best academically, in terms of overall performance. So my dad has highly expectations on me. But my dad did always criticised me when I didn’t do well in anything. When I cried because I was stressed about small things, he would criticised me that why I was being so weak and useless, how could I achieve bigger things in life if I can’t even handle a little stress and small obstacles. I believe he is trying to comfort me and telling me it is okay, not a big deal.

    I think I understand it a bit better now: your father had high expectations on you, considering that your family was rather poor and you did the best in school amongst your many siblings. You were the hope for the family to have a better life, if I understood well. Perhaps your father was specially focused on you and your performance (more than your other siblings), wanting you to be at the top of your game academically, and criticizing you when you did something wrong. He also criticized you when you were stressed and crying about smaller things, telling you were “weak and useless”, and that you will never achieve anything in your life if you can’t handle such small obstacles.

    His intention was to toughen you up, so you wouldn’t be so vulnerable later in life. However, such attitude can be very damaging for the child, because they are constantly criticized for not being good enough and not meeting the parents’ expectations. When a child cries – even for a small thing – they need consolation, not to be told they are weak and useless.

    You said you rather skipped the piano exam than potentially fail and embarrass yourself:

    I ran away from piano exam when I was twelve because I don’t want to fail it and embarrassed of myself.

    You also said:

    I hate myself because I didn’t being honest with my parents, maybe they could support me and let me know is okay to be fear

    Considering that your father used to criticize you for showing fear and weakness, I don’t think he would have supported you if you were honest with him. You knew he probably would have criticized you for being so weak and afraid, and that’s why you didn’t want to tell the truth.

    I think you had (and still have) a very big burden on your shoulders: to be a high achiever and lift your family out of poverty, and also to be tough and strong and unafraid – like a soldier. Anything less than that isn’t good enough. Those are quite impossible expectations, specially for a sensitive female child. No wonder you can’t meet them, and why you are getting stressed and feeling trapped…

    It seems to me you would need to 1) allow yourself to be weak and vulnerable (let go of the expectation on yourself to be tough and self-composed), 2) know that you are good enough, even if the inner and outer critics tell you you’re not.

    From that place of self-compassion and trust in yourself, you will be much freer to think about your life (I believe that my family and freedom are indispensable things in my life.), your passions, and how to proceed.

    How does this sound?

     

    #390453
    ginn
    Participant

    Dear TeaK,

    Thank you for your understanding. I believe it so, because of my dad (my elementary school teacher too) had high expectations on me. When I was young, I did wrong once because I forgot to do my homework. My teacher criticised me in front of the whole class and told me that she was so disappointed in me. When I heard that, I broke down straight away and half of the girls in the class boycotted me, so I felt super humiliated and useless at that time.

    I know my dad shouldn’t do that, but it’s the way he talks because it runs in family blood (my grandpa). Even though I’m grown-up now, he still criticises me when I make mistakes. I believe his behaviour has had a big impact on me, slowly accumulating from a young age, and subconsciously has taken a toll on me.

    Feeling weak and vulnerable is really sucks. Sometimes I wish I could have joined the military, thinking that maybe then I would be strong enough to handle the pressure and obstacles. Actually I’m learning to stop thinking negative thoughts and allow myself to be weak and vulnerable. But when I tell myself that it’s okay to fail or make mistakes, my inner self denies it and tells myself that if you do this way, you can do better because you’re weak and that’s why it happens. This just happened to me recently. I was overwhelmed by my own emotions and had panic attacks. I couldn’t even control my thoughts and forgot to tell myself I should stop. I guess I need more practice and can’t hope that I will change my mind in a short time, right?

     

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