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Help me find a purpose in my career

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  • #409774
    humour
    Participant

    Hi all,

    I am struggling to find a purpose in many arenas in my life. My confidence has hit a low. I think I am a mediocre skill wise. My work mates put me down subtly. They are not all bad. I am not doing that well personally too.

    Otherwise, I am grateful for all things that God has given me. I try to find pleasure in the small things of life. I just feel I am falling behind in life. For the number of years of experience I hold, I should have been a lot better.

    #409775
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear humour,

    I am sorry you feel bad about yourself and that your self-confidence is quite low. I’ve taken a look at some of your earlier threads, and what you wrote about your family and growing up (in the thread “Require advice on how to gracefully accept changes without getting overwhelmed”) could actually explain why you feel so low now.

    Anita already noticed back then one important thing that you’ve said:

    I have been extremely attached to my family always trying to make ours ‘a happy family. It never happened though. No matter how much I tried, nothing got better.

    Also, you haven’t really spent fun time together as a family, making nice memories, or simply bonding with each other:

    We have not spent time together, not had a meal together, never went on a vacation together. Basically we never made any memories

    You also said that both you, your sister and your mother felt depressed on and off.

    It seems to me that your depression could be the result of you trying so hard to make your parents happy, but never succeeding. This causes the child (and later adult) to have low self-esteem, because if nothing they’ve tried made their parents happy, the child concludes that it must be their fault. So you end up believing you’re not good enough, that you are somehow defective.

    And you carry this false belief into your adulthood…. As an adult, you have been putting yourself down a lot, right? For example now, you’ve been telling yourself that you are mediocre, that you are falling behind in life, that you should have done a lot better.

    It seems you have a strong inner critic, who is telling you that you’re not good enough, maybe even that you’re a failure.

    Do you resonate with any of this?

    (If you do, the antidote is self-love and self-compassion. It’s possible to feel better!)

     

    #409776
    humour
    Participant

    Thank you for your kind and encouraging words Tee!

    I have gotten a lot better at self-love and self-compassion which makes me proud of myself 🙂 I had lost out on focus & concentration during the prime years of my life because of the volatile environment around me, but by God’s grace I got by. I am doing much better now but suffering the consequences of a troubled upbringing.

    I am grateful for food on my plate, for a shelter and my ability to be of help to others.

    I am also trying to get comfortable in uncomfortable situations, especially at work where I am put down subtly. I am willing to work hard but I should be able to figure out where I stand with respect to my capabilities in different fields.

    I will slowly and patiently work on myself 🙂

    Thanks once again for the loving guidance, Tee!

    #409778
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear humour,

    You are very welcome. This is good to hear:

    I have gotten a lot better at self-love and self-compassion which makes me proud of myself

    However (and I may sound like a nuisance for bringing this up), it seems you had a similarly optimistic and cheerful attitude in your last post, more than 5 years ago. This is what you wrote then:

    I am really grateful that I am in a much better place compared to several other people. There is food on the table everyday, a roof above our head, a job. I am grateful for all this.

    I should ve been a happy healthy individual at my age. I’ll work on it now. I want to be joyous, healthy and have fun

    This is very similar to what you wrote now in your reply: that you are grateful for many things and that you’ll work on yourself. However, more than 5 years have passed, and you still feel low self-confidence, and you struggle to find purpose “in many arenas of your life”.

    So something doesn’t compute here, humour. This is absolutely not to judge you – by no means – just to tell you what I am seeing. Which is that even though you are grateful for many things, still many other things are missing from your life, right? And that it’s okay to want those things and look for ways to get them…

    It seems to me there is a conflict in you: on one hand you want more, but on the other you tell yourself that you shouldn’t want more (more happiness, fulfillment, career success), and that you should be grateful for what you already have. That way you’re actually blocking yourself from reaching what you want…

    How do you feel about this? Would say there is some truth in it?

     

    #409779
    humour
    Participant

    Maybe I did not explain myself correctly. I am definitely after more happiness, fulfillment, career success and so on but I either don’t know what to do to attain it or I don’t know how much is enough.

    I am grateful that as the years are going by, there is more peace of mind either because my family has split up and we don’t get on each others’ nerves anymore. Basically the suffering has lessened for everyone, for various reasons.

    But I also feel I have the ego body of a child and not that of an adult. There is some truth in what you say. I don’t understand myself at times haha.

    Also, I observe that those who are younger to me are more mature, doing well in their career & personal life and have lovely personalities. I feel sad about all the wasted years of my life. I wish I could go back in time and change many things.

    But I am also proud of the individual I have turned out to be, considering the circumstances that we went through. Basically I did not end up a complete failure or a messed up person.

    I have to work on many things like understanding expectations, being comfortable with confrontations, understanding adult relationships; a lot of things that constitute the EQ of a person. I learn a lot by observing people around me.

    #409780
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear humour,

    But I am also proud of the individual I have turned out to be, considering the circumstances that we went through. Basically I did not end up a complete failure or a messed up person.

    That’s good – you have a healthy dose of self-love and self-acceptance. You’re not hating yourself, which is great! You have an optimistic outlook too, which is also an asset. So yes, you should be proud of yourself!

    But I also feel I have the ego body of a child and not that of an adult.

    That’s because there is a child part in you (the so-called inner child), who got emotionally wounded due to his experiences growing up in an unhappy home. This child needs to have his core emotional needs met… before you can have healthy adult relationships.

    I am definitely after more happiness, fulfillment, career success and so on but I either don’t know what to do to attain it or I don’t know how much is enough.

    Well, what you have now is not enough…. Let me give you an example. You mentioned this situation at work:

    I am also trying to get comfortable in uncomfortable situations, especially at work where I am put down subtly.

    Should you get comfortable that people put you down (perhaps grow a thicker skin, ignore, numb your anger…), or you should develop assertiveness and boundaries and not allow those put-downs?

    If you say you should get more comfortable accepting what you shouldn’t accept – it means one part of you wins (the submissive, enduring part, who believes he doesn’t deserve more).

    If you say you should show up differently and respect yourself more and set boundaries so people wouldn’t mistreat you –  that’s when another part of your wins.

    That’s the conflict I was talking about….

     

    #409784
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear humour,

    I wanted to add one more thing:

    I feel sad about all the wasted years of my life. I wish I could go back in time and change many things.

    You cannot change your past, but you can change the negative patterns and beliefs you adopted because of your past, and which define your present and your future.

    In other words, you cannot undo your past, but you can undo the consequences it has on you in the present…

    And you still have many years ahead of you. You’re in your mid 30s, right? You can create the life you want, if you give yourself permission to.

    #409785
    anita
    Participant

    Dear humour:

    I read all that you posted here since November 2015 and took my time doing so. You are in your later 30s, I gather. Still a vegetarian (?) I wonder if you incorporated eggs into your diet and/or other protein sources, like a doctor suggested long ago. I wonder how you are doing in regard to cravings/ overeating  sweets, your allergies and stress headaches… and watching too much TV?

    My current understanding is based on the following quotes, your own words  (the boldface feature is my addition): “I get easily attached to people and go through immense suffering as a result (Sept 2016)… I’ve had a challenge with being assertive because I feel that I might ‘hurt’ people. I feel like making good memories at work and enjoying my time with friends… I take the hurt upon myself without speaking out…  some people chew off of your confidence to stand out and shine… I read a quote and someone’s interpretation of it. It just calmed me down instantly. I felt liberated at that moment. The quote is ‘The lion and tiger might be stronger, but the wolf does not perform in circus‘… circuses.. usually represent..  captivity… tiger + lion) may have this (strength)…  (wolf) has something better or just as good (freedom).. You should decide what kind of person you want to be based on which is more important to you (strength/recognition or freedom).. If you are the best, you may get recognition and praise, but you will never be free… I don’t stand up for myself when someone speaks hurtfully and I am not sure of the reason… I finally want to make some good memories in life and make friends… I’ll work on making good memories…. Once I am assertive, I get all sensitive thinking I hurt the other person” (October 2016).

    I want to get back to being cheerful… I want to be able to take care of myself and be less of a martyr. I want to find love, freedom, joy within myself and without… I am in my early 30s. I feel like I am 60… I am getting frustrated with regrets, things not turning out the way I wanted it to, my efforts not being recognised, me not able to meet my own expectations, people pleasing. I’ve had enough! I want to forget everything, be reborn and just have fun” (January 2017).

    “Just to set a context, I want to a write a line or two about my family. We have been through extremely tough times. We have not spent time together, not had a meal together, never went on a vacation together. Basically we never made any memories… My mother spent the last many years taking care of my dad who was very ill and almost confined to the bed. All of us have been depressed on and off.… my mother has grown weak, physically and emotionally… I am really worried if I can let go off my mother. If we had good times as a family, maybe my feelings would have been different. I feel extremely sad that we have intimately suffered as a family… she (mother) has never had a joyous marriage/family life. Through all this I have been extremely attached to my family always trying to make ours ‘a happy family’. It never happened though. No matter how much I tried, nothing got better… I try not to get overprotective of my mother and sister and remind myself that they have to walk their journey… I am so worried my mother might feel lonely and at the same time I don’t want to get too attached… My father’s passing leaves a deep void in my heart. I wish there were good memoriesI want to be joyous, healthy and have fun (June 2017).

    “I have gotten a lot better at self-love and self-compassion which makes me proud of myself…  I am doing much better now but suffering the consequences of a troubled upbringing… I am definitely after more happiness..  but I either don’t know what to do to attain it or I don’t know how much is enough… I am grateful that as the years are going by, there is more peace of mind…  the suffering has lessened for everyone, for various reasons… I feel sad about all the wasted years of my life. I wish I could go back in time and change many things. But I am also proud of the individual” (November 2022).

    And now to my understanding: because recently, “suffering has lessened for everyone” in your family, suffering has also lessened for you.  As I understand it, it’s all been about you being loyal to your family. You invested so much growing up in trying to make them happy, postponing your own happiness (postponing your own time to “stand out and shine“) until such time that they will be happy first,  feeling that if you assert yourself within the family, if you take something for yourself … they will be hurt. They had to  be your # 1.

    It’s about the memories you don’t have: memories of a happy family life while growing up. You want to create happy memories now, as an adult (to be reborn into a happy life), but you are held captive in the bad memories of the family you were born to. Loyal to your family, particularly to your mother, you feel too guilty to break free and be happy.

    Like the lion and tiger in that quote, you were very strong growing up (and still), keeping your needs and feelings down for the benefit of your family, trying hard to make them happy. That was your circus (and life of captivity): performing for the benefit of your family. You want to be free like the wolf: to no longer perform in a circus, the circus having been your family-home growing up, your workplace now.. or anywhere else. The saying Born to be Free, comes to my mind, vs born into captivity.

    I was very loyal to my own mother and to her misery for many years. Like you, I was very, very attached to her and I took “the hurt upon myself” (her hurt). Like you, I put a stop to my hopes for happiness until such time that I made her happy, something that never happened. I didn’t assert myself, didn’t stand up for myself when hurt by others.. and I never got to “stand out and shine“, not until recently. If you agree with my understanding (and please correct me where you do not agree), let us explore Freedom vs Captivity together, shall we…?

    anita

    #409786
    anita
    Participant

    One more thing, humour: you are doing well, you’ve been doing well for a long, long time: focusing on the positive and making progress (you are doing way better than I did when I was at your age and older!)

    anita

    #409799
    humour
    Participant

    Maybe I am slightly conflicted Tee. For example I am anxious in situations that does not require me to be. I held some wrong beliefs and I still do, not knowing that they are wrong. My concern is I don’t know what is “normal” in any situation.

    Hi Anita, environment wise, everything is fine now. Around 8 years back I stood up for myself for the first time and continue to do so. For some reason, I cant remember the past too well(or maybe subconsciously I choose to forget it – similar to disassociation I guess).

    “One more thing, humour: you are doing well, you’ve been doing well for a long, long time: focusing on the positive and making progress (you are doing way better than I did when I was at your age and older!)”

    Thanks for this Assurance Anita.

    I feel so much better, thanks to the both of you 🙂 Have a good day!

    #409811
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear humour,

    I am definitely after more happiness, fulfillment, career success and so on but I either don’t know what to do to attain it or I don’t know how much is enough.

    OK, let me ask you this: you know when you’re hungry, right? And you know when you’re full, when you don’t need more food in your system? If so, it means that you’re in touch with your physiological needs, such as eating, sleeping, etc.

    However, it seems that you’re not in touch with your emotional needs. You are in touch with the needs of others – and you like to help them (I am grateful for my ability to be of help to others). However, you don’t know what YOU yourself need.

    For example, do you need a hug, do you need to be talked to nicely, do you need to be seen and heard, do you need to be respected, do you need to be acknowledged…. all those are our core emotional needs. And it seems you have suppressed them in the course of your growing up, because you felt you needed to meet the needs of your family first.

    Because the child – a capable, intelligent and strong child – believes that he can help their parents feel better, make them happy, make them less sad, or make them less angry… The child believes he has that kind of power, and so tries to meet his parents’ emotional needs, instead of his own.

    In fact, he suppresses his own needs. He says to himself : “I’ll be fine”, “I don’t need much”, “I shouldn’t disturb my mother with my problems, she is so burdened”, “I shouldn’t make my mother any more sad, she is so weak and fragile”. Etc etc.

    You see? You focus all your attention on your loved ones, and almost completely disregard your own needs. And it has been going like that for years and years…. The result is that you don’t even know what you need, or what you want.

    I am definitely after more happiness, fulfillment, career success and so on but I either don’t know what to do to attain it or I don’t know how much is enough

    Before you can actually set some goals for success and fulfillment in either professional or personal arena, you would need to get in touch with your core emotional needs. You would need to turn your attention inwards, rather than outwards.

    We can talk about it more, if this resonates…

     

    #409812
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear humour,

    My concern is I don’t know what is “normal” in any situation.

    I think this is also related to you not being in touch with your needs. Because a “normal” reaction would be to treat people with kindness and respect, but not allow to be put down, disrespected and abused. To have so-called flexible boundaries: to be open and welcoming with people, but if needed, to protected yourself. Or to be caring and willing to help, but not allow to be exploited. So a healthy balance.

    If you don’t know what “normal” is, I think it means you don’t know where you boundaries are, i.e. you don’t know what is acceptable to you and what is not.

    I am just musing here… let me know if this makes sense to you.

     

    #409813
    humour
    Participant

    “If you don’t know what “normal” is, I think it means you don’t know where you boundaries are, i.e. you don’t know what is acceptable to you and what is not.”

    Yes, maybe what you write is correct. Since I have a slightly turmoiled background, I don’t understand the so called “normal” stuff. My go to quality is usually anxiety.

    “The result is that you don’t even know what you need, or what you want.”

    I think you are right. At times I don’t understand what makes me happy. I should work on this a lot more.

    #409815
    anita
    Participant

    Dear humour:

    You are welcome. I think that what you need right now more than anything is emotional support and encouragement: someone (… I am this someone) to tell you that although you can (and want to) do better, you are doing better than you used to, and you are doing quite well presently! I admire your optimistic, grateful attitude and I think that this attitude will carry you through the process of understanding yourself better and functioning in life in ways that bring you confidence and contentment.

    The first of the two replies I submitted to you on this thread consists mostly of your words through the years. There, I added my understanding based on your words. You didn’t respond to the content of that first, long reply. If you have the time, the ability and willingness to re-read it attentively and patiently, and then respond, please do (anytime, no rush).

    anita

    #409817
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear humour,

    motivated by anita’s latest reply to you, I would like to ask if you’re okay with me “prodding” and trying to look a bit deeper into what’s bothering you. If you don’t feel comfortable, please say so. If you would like to explore it a bit more, let me know. I will respect whatever you prefer at the moment.

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