A near middle-aged man in one of my last workshops had followed his calling for the past decade with unbounded zeal. Alas, his career had never developed into long-term employment but rather, was fraught with numerous set-backs, lay-offs and even dismissals. With five children to feed and his life passion now shelved this man faced depression and desperation.
Yet, we could all borrow a page from this man’s heroic story as he further explained how he was managing this most difficult passage. He said rather than allowing himself to be crushed by these demeaning events he emphatically reminded himself of his numerous life successes. Through this, he refueled his belief in himself enabling him to persevere with a measure of dignity.
All of us could benefit from focusing on our many successes. Stop now and list at least ten of your life successes. Reminding ourselves frequently of our accomplishments rather than nagging ourselves with our so-called “failures" is the crux of finding meaning and peace in work and life.
If we can’t encourage and support ourselves now, the “ideal job" will not supply us with the happiness/meaning/fulfillment we seek. If your self confidence is being tested by unemployment, underemployment, a new promotion, a job interview, child raising, or life (!) affirm your successes and renew your faith in yourself. We can’t wait for other people to bolster our confidence and nourish our being!
Turning fifty years old this week supplied me with the perfect opportunity to either nourish or negate myself and my life. As I reflected upon the last decade of my life I found warm comfort in the woman I have become. Not always so. As I reread my “Fortieth Birthday" column, I’d written for a local newspaper a decade ago, I could clearly see how far I’d come.
Back then, my fortieth birthday reflections led me to grieve. I had left behind decades of broken relationships and lost businesses – all strung together by my deep need to be loved and approved of by others. Within that column, I spoke with somber sadness of not wanting to repeat my broken past in the next half of my life. In closing that Fortieth Birthday column I made an earnest wish for myself, I wished “to live the next forty years being true to myself. "
Rereading this column showed me clearly my wish had come true this past decade. This priceless gift affirmed how far I’d grown from that 40 year old woman who had abandoned herself – for decades – seeking inner worth, love and acceptance through external props and people. How remarkable to have unearthed this time-capsuled treasure, written a decade ago, upon my fiftieth birthday!
We can all give ourselves this priceless gift of affirming our lives and nourishing our being by pondering our past and seeing how far we have come. Our mistakes no longer have to be something we punish ourselves for. Now, we can make an effort to have compassion for ourselves and give thanks for the lessons learned.
By performing these small rituals of remembering and affirming our lives, we nourish and build our being. It is in here, inside, we build a strong, solid foundation that can help us weather the storms of life. Through building a strong sense of self we can find a new freedom.
The slogan “Freedom at Fifty" takes on a new spin when I think of how free I am now compared to when I tried so hard to please everyone. The disease to please, often driven by feelings of insecurity and unworthiness can be chronic and life debilitating if left unchecked. Do you balance your needs for quiet, private time with the needs and demands of work, career-search, family, friends, life?
A client of mine, aged “fifty-something, " regularly stops and asks herself, “What do I want/need here?" She went on to say that now, in her fifties, she is able to set boundaries with her family as never before. We both affirmed we have discovered a real freedom in our fifties.
Before you accept that next job, take on another task, commit to someone else’s agenda - stop. Take some time and ask yourself, “What do I need here?" How can we hope to find our Way if we do not listen to ourselves or find time for ourselves?
Teresa Proudlove has been inspiring, supporting, and guiding over 3000 people upon their lifework path for over fourteen years - with compassion and heart. Visit Teresa at http://www.yourlifework.com; listen to your inner guidance and navigate through life and work with more acceptance and peace.