August 4, 2011 at 8:22 am | Posted in A Year of Mindfulness, Crazy Talk (aka: Therapy), My life | 6 Comments

I didn’t intend to go silent after posting that I was thinking about freelancing.

I did email Consulting Lady about working for her – we’re talking today. In an hour or so, actually.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of anxiety this week. And part of my silence is really trying to figure out WHY.

Why does the idea of doing giving my notice here scare the shit out of me?

I’ve never been one to be conservative; usually I’m out there changing things up a LOT.

It’s not the change itself that scares me, honestly. It’s GIVING MY NOTICE that scares me. Because I can’t get over the idea that I’d be letting my boss and the people who depend on me down.

It took reading Mel’s post yesterday and my therapy session to really see it. It was like something clicked for me yesterday, where all of a sudden I see it all with clear eyes.

I think I’ve been struggling with my post-IF life because it seems like I’m out of GOALS. I mean, the big things are pretty much done. I have a career, I’m married, with a house… and we’ve established our family.

As far as big milestones go in someone’s life, we’ve pretty much hit them all.

But I’m so damn achievement and goal oriented that I’m floundering. Because for the past 18 years, I suppose, I’ve been working towards these milestones.

And now that I’m here, it’s like, okay, what now?

Yesterday, when I was sitting on the couch in my therapist’s office, it struck me.

Up until now, my happiness has been defined by my ACHIEVEMENT. Which, you know, seems reasonable. I’m goal-oriented. Motivated. Et cetera.

Until you look at little deeper.

My need for achievement is to fill a void inside me. At some point in my life, I took on this idea that I’m not worthy of being loved unless I’m succeeding.

Because achievement PROVES that I’m a good person. That I’m Thoughtful, and Responsible, and a Hard Worker.

That’s why I’m so hard on myself. My Inner Critic is a huge motivator, because without her, I believe that I wouldn’t work nearly as hard to achieve things. Because I have this view of myself as lazy, and weak, and irresponsible.

And that’s why I’m terrified to give my notice. Because people depend on me here, and if I leave, I’ll be screwing them by adding work to THEIR plate. And I am scared that they’ll talk to people about me and say, Serenity just couldn’t cut it here.

So even though I KNOW there’s no perfect, no ideal, I have to come as close to Perfect as I possibly can. Because working hard and therefore deserving of love and good things.

And happiness.

I’m standing in my OWN WAY of happiness. Because I’ve built my life around the expectation that you’re only deserving of happiness if you work really hard. And be Responsible, and Thoughtful, and Hard Working.

What I think I need to work on is learning how to accept that I am deserving of happiness and love no matter what I do – or don’t do.

I’m not certain how to go about getting started. How does one learn how to love themselves unconditionally?

Guess I’ll have to find out. Because this very thing is the root of all the vague and not-so-vague issues I have with my career. I can’t say no, be okay with work-life balance because I have to work harder and do more than I’m prepared to do. I have to give 150% in order to feel successful.

And it affects my marriage, too. Since I don’t believe I’m worthy of love, J has the dubious distinction of being foolish in that he DOES love me, the stupid man.

This is REALLY important, because it really does affect EVERYTHING.

So maybe my Serenity project needs to change.

“A Year of Mindfulness: or How I Learned to Love Myself.”

Sounds about right. Just need to figure out how to get started.



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  1. I just watched “Finding Sarah” on OWN about the Duchess of York’s search for herself and for self worth. At one point early on in the series she asks Oprah, “How do you get self worth?” She asked that question at 50+ years old. Such a simple thing, if developed early but MUCH harder to grasp later in life.

    The first thing that struck me as I was reading this entry was that you will be letting YOURSELF down if you don’t resign. This discontent with your career and this particular job isn’t new, so you’re not honoring yourself, your desires for satisfaction in work by staying.

    I am so proud of and for you for starting your journey toward figuring this out now when you have so much of your life ahead of your. It is yours for the living.

  2. You sound a lot like me in this post! I am fully convinced that my husband is insane, since he’s in love with me. But I think you definitely hit on what’s making you nervous about the freelancing. There’s something about being a mom who works full-time that feeds into the martyr impulse (or the internal competitiveness). Even while you’re exhausted and not getting everything done, you can have some sense of superiority for the fact that you’re doing it at all. Instead of enjoying yourself while freelancing and spending time with O, you might just feel guilty that you were taking the easy route. There’s never going to be a point in your job when everything is done, though. I think this is the best thing for you, and I hope your talk is going well as I write this!

    Maybe the day you leave that job and start freelancing should be Day 1 of your Serenity Project. It seems like a good natural starting piont.

  3. “How does one learn how to love themselves unconditionally?” Maybe it would help to figure out how you love others (O for instance) unconditionally and love yourself in the same way? I’m sure this will be one of those things that is easier said than done.

    I am going to be re-reading this post a lot. Much of what you said resonates with me, too, especially that part about “what now?” Going to have to give a lot of thought to that one myself.

  4. I’m so glad that therapy is helping you assess things in your life and figure out a way to get past the hurdles along the way to a happy life. It’s definitely a process, and you’re doing great. 🙂

  5. You are putting it together. I love the consulting idea. I love the simplifying idea. I have not read, but have heard about, the four-hour work week. Apparently it is about paring back your life to focus on what really matters, and then magically realising you don’t need to work as much to pay for it. Actually I think it’s a little more complicated than that. If you read it, let me know. I thought I’d throw the suggestion your way, anyhow, and we’ll see who gets to it first.


  6. I am feeling the same thing so much. Since it is 98% unlikely it will be medically advisable to try again, I am floundering around without any goals. Yeah, losing weight, and working on a novel, but they don’t feel so BIG as graduating college, finding a husband and getting married, and having kids. It feels like all the big, important days are gone- and what next?

    I’ve thought about having the four-hour work week as my goal in the future too. Possibly by writing. But I am so chickenhearted when I think of it. How will I get there?

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