Tag Archives: unemployment

Asking how I’m doing

When I’m going through a tough time, every so often, I’d like for someone to ask me how I am doing and be interested in the answer. More often than not, when people ask how you are, they don’t really want to hear any response other than great, or fine.

I’m not naïve enough to think that being without a job is the end of the world, and of course, I can imagine dozens of scenarios that would be a lot worse. Still, it takes its toll. Days become weeks, weeks become months. Enthusiasm wanes, hope begin to fade and self-worth and confidence are under attack by the thoughts that bounce around my ‘self’.

Expectations, whether they are my own or others’, seem to persist that I should have been working by now; let alone I should be positive and hopeful, I should be faith-filled, upbeat and encouraged. And I am all of those things. But in the silence of a still moment when the quiet is all that I hear, the reality crashes over me threatening to draw me into the despair and swallow me in its darkness. I fight to stay on the edge of the fear holding on with all my might so that I can be supportive to my family modeling a positive frame of mind for them.

Once in a while though, it would be nice for one of them to ask me how I’m doing and be interested in the answer. Perhaps, though, the answer is something they don’t want to hear lest the ground under their feet might start to crumble as well.

It does tug at me, mostly in those quiet moments where my eyes and hands are not busy, whether ego or fear, starts speaking to me and the tears that are always threatening to appear start to burn my eyes and spill down my cheeks. Besides the obvious lack of income, I also miss the social interactions of friends at work, the exchanges that contribute to a working day. I miss accomplishments and the satisfaction of earning.

Ask me how I am and I want to say, I am sad. I am crumbling. I am disappointed. I am afraid. But I’m more likely to smile and say I am fine.

While the stress, hurt, worry, frustration, sadness and struggle for hope in this experience is very real, isn’t it a privilege in a way? Aren’t I completely Blessed to be feeling at all? For along with these emotions I am also bestowed the ability to feel love, joy, wonder, and the connection of kindred spirits. Perhaps it’s a sort of penance for past transgressions – too Catholic? Perhaps it’s a reminder that I’m still alive. I’m here, I’m feeling and I’m living. Hopefully, I’m learning too.

Then judgement comes my way. Is it my self-judgement projected on others? Is it only perceived? What people think is a factor, although I suppose, I should not care. I wonder though if the questions I hear in my head – am I doing enough, is there more I should do, why don’t I get a part-time job while I’m waiting – are these the questions of others or myself? I’ve been consciously trying to be less judging of others lately and have discouraged my family from judging as well. Yet, is it hypocritical if I continue to judge myself so harshly? Ahh, self-judgement is something I slip into so easily like an old pair of comfortable slippers. The familiar phrases, shame, the list of inadequacies, the short-comings, the many ways I could be a better me easily flood my thoughts and the rescuer in me bravely steps forward and reminds me that I am a unique child of God with values and talents that have worth beyond my dress size, the number on the scale, the lack of university degree or the job I don’t currently have.

Last night in a dream my father visited me. We walked. Then we sat and he put his arms around me. He was dressed in light colours. He asked me how I was and he was interested in the answer. His strong, comforting embrace renewed my hope and reminded me that love is the richness in life. Those protective arms represented strength, acceptance and caring. Maybe that wonderful feeling is something I can learn to give myself.

tree trunk

Who am I without employment?

Being without a job threatens my outlook, self-value and happiness. Since this is not the first time I’ve been “restructured” out of a job, how can I not feel the sense of failure sinking its hooks into the fibers of self?

While I know my identity and worth is not expressed nor reliant on a job title, is it not expected that being without a job may chip away at my self-esteem? Byron Katie, in “The Work of Byron Katie”  asks who would you be without your story?  And I’ve been pondering that along with who am I without a job? Is it my ego that dwells on this and threatens my desire for contentment? I’ve read enough to know that when you lose a job you go through the stages of grief; you have good days and bad. Similar to other experiences of loss, sometimes you feel guilty for being joyful and sometimes the reality of your situation overwhelms the joy.

Angel Cards Candle
Angel Cards

I pulled two angel cards today before I set up my space for meditation. First, I pulled Heart Chakra – Love is the heart of the matter. Second I pulled Trustworthy Guidance – You’ve received a wonderful idea and an answer to your prayers. I breathe in these titles and relax to allow them to enter my thoughts. As I centre my breathing thoughts bubble up.

If there’s one quality in myself I can believe in, it’s my heart – my capacity for love. The card says it’s safe to love with an open heart. Maybe it’s time to open my heart to self-acceptance and to stop doubting my worth or worrying about how others view me – with or without employment. That, for me, is a challenge. One of the jobs I’ve applied for really seems to be the answer and it may be tied to some choices two of my sons are making. What a Blessing it would be for these ideas and thoughts to come true! I had told myself not to think about these ideas earlier today to save myself from the disappointment if it doesn’t happen. Part of me has always been afraid to think too much about things I really want in case I jinx the outcome. Perhaps I should visualize it with all the positivity I can muster. Perhaps, as so many sage writers and speakers have stated, I should open my heart to what I most desire and be thankful as if it is already achieved. Or, perhaps, my thoughts don’t have any influence over future outcomes. For some things, proof escapes us.

Believing there is a plan for me, believing things happen for a reason, believing when one door closes another opens, believing God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, having faith – these are hope-filled beliefs, these are the pillars of strength that have helped me persevere through the struggles of marriage, of motherhood, of financial drains, of so many losses – involving jobs, homes, money, and people. I must believe that this too shall pass and that I am worthy.

Being without a job, without income, is stressful. No matter how much I trust or just believe or how much gratitude and love I feel, there is stress. When loved ones struggle to find their way, when dealing with mental health issues within the family, financial burdens – I can’t help wondering when this huge bowlful of stress we’ve been consuming for so long will grow empty. Do I have any right to wish for a life with ease? When I meditate, May I be free from danger, May I be happy, May I be healthy, May I live with ease, I want to believe in that too. Today I included in this intention the person who will hire me.

Who am I without a job? I am still someone who loves her children more than words can express. I love my Guy and and my extended family. My heart expands with love for so many people. I am still someone who is creative – an idea generator! I see myself as trustworthy. I’m someone who strives for improvement, who is supportive and kind.

May I carry these things with me, not to feed my ego, but as a shield against the shame, blame and feelings of failure that start to creep into my thoughts like a twisting vine of darkness that threatens to choke out my joy. May my heart be open to always let in the light of love to brighten my outlook like when the wind blows the clouds causing shadows to move across the ground revealing the brilliance of colour as they pass.

Dare I visualize the life I really want? Dare I ask for more than the greatest gift I could ever imagine –  the Blessing of motherhood? Dare I open my heart to dream, to believe when disappointment is such an ever-present risk? Perhaps I can. Perhaps to do otherwise would be denying who I am without my story, without employment. The truth is I need to believe, to visualize the light at the end of the tunnel, and also I suppose, to accept that self doubt and bad days are part of the journey.

pathway through trees
Light at the end of the tunnel