At the moment, I’m unemployed and I have no partner. That’s not likely to change anytime particularly soon and in our cultural climate of competition and comparison and with the “what do you do?” atmosphere, it can be hard to deal with the expectations and judgements of other people.
I’m not as bothered as I once was that I’m not “succeeding” in the conventional way in my life as I once was. I graduated around two years ago now and I’ve been off sick ever since. This post isn’t about my PTSD though, so I’ll move on.
I guess, what I’m reflecting on here is how it’s made me rethink how I value myself and how I find meaning and engagement in general without occupation in a “work” sense.
I think I’m quite self-aware and that’s something I let myself take credit for. I know that I’ve had to actively try to build a sense of self-worth over the last few years partially due to my negative experiences. I do value myself pretty highly now and I look out of myself as much as I can.
I also think that I’ve gained a sense of perspective, and although I can have low mood swings and feel utterly shitty sometimes and pretty sensitive, I know that I can get through things, I often find myself saying to myself “I’ve been through worse, I can do this.”
Making a conscious effort to find good qualities in myself has helped me, I recognise my compassion and my ability to nurture and trust in strong friendships. I also think I’m quite thoughtful and imaginative 🙂 – it sounds odd to say such things about oneself sometimes, because I don’t think many people are raised to actively accept and acknowledge pleasing traits in themselves, but I think it’s a helpful thing to try and learn to do.
Physically, I’ve also had to make this effort. I remember being dissatisfied with my appearance at various points in my life, like a lot of people are, and how, now, I love myself whether I think I look good or not. I’ve come to realise I’m under no obligation to any one else to look good and I found that to be freeing.
I’ve said to myself in my own head, when I saw something I didn’t like or if I took an awful picture: “I still love you”, y’know. And I might’ve mentioned this before, but when I had CBT a while ago, one of the main things I took from it was the notion that I should treat myself as I would treat a close friend, because I deserve that and I’m glad I do that now. (In the past, when I’ve had something pretty difficult to do, like a really stressful phone call or something, I’ve written little lists to break it down and signed it with something like “love ya babe ❤ ” – and it actually helped, I got a little flicker in my heart once, almost as if someone else had said it, haha.)
Regarding the whole “other people” issue, because I support myself now (and let my close friends help) and I know that I’ve improved, I no longer give as much of a shit if other people are unimpressed or bewildered by my current no-job status.
I’m sure I’ll find a bit more of something soon, and even thinking about this – and listening to some Mariah Carey (Touch my Body if you’re interested 😉 ) has helped me feel a little more hopeful about the next few days and weeks, as things have felt a little heavy lately.
P.S. Love ya babe ❤
See, it’s nice isn’t it. 😛