Feeling guilty about wanting more?
Are you miserable in your current job? Or do you want to head back into the workplace after a break? Either way, do you feel guilty about wanting more in your life?
If you have a career then it’s easy to feel that you should be grateful to have a job – even a job you no longer like – when others are facing redundancy. You know that there are others much worse off than you and it feels selfish and greedy to want something more.
And if you’re at home, keeping everything running smoothly for the family, acting as cook, chauffeur, mentor, and time management guru for everyone’s busy lives, then it’s easy to feel that you mustn’t rock the boat by adding a job into the mix, even if your children are teenagers and you can already see their departure on the horizon.
Does this sound like you? If so, do you want to stop feeling guilty and start having more?
Well, the good news is you’re not alone! Feeling guilty about wanting to put ourselves first is SO normal.
Many of us are conditioned in childhood to put others first. Then when we find a partner and enter into joint emotional and financial commitments we add another layer of responsibility. If we have children, then that sense of responsibility can multiply a hundred times over.
You may also be afraid that you won’t actually be able to master doing a new job, and it’s safer to stay where you are. So you may feel that the sensible thing to do is just to keep on doing what you’re doing; to count your blessings and recognise how lucky you are; to “shape up” and stop moaning about your situation.
Well, I disagree!
Staying stuck where you are isn’t helping anyone. Not you and not those around you either.
If you spend any more of your life playing by someone else’s rules, then you are not being true to who you could really be. You have as much right as anyone else to be happy and to spend the next ten, twenty and more years doing something you love. You deserve to be doing work that fulfils you.
And what’s more, you’ll be a nicer person to be with! When you do something you love you are more relaxed, more fun to be with and more interesting to be around.
So if you long to break away from a job you no longer enjoy, start pondering what you could do instead.
Start by listing your passions. What are your hobbies? What have you always longed to try? When are you fired up, and what is it that ignites your spark?
Next consider your strengths and skills. Strengths are qualities that come naturally to you (such as creativity, practicality, compassion, for example) and skills are things you have learned to be good at (such as drawing, cookery, nursing, for example).
What are you good at? Ask your friends too! They will see qualities in you that you may take for granted.
Now let’s narrow this down by asking yourself this: Which of these strengths and skills come naturally to me, but I don’t get pleasure from them? Put these on one side.
Then you are left with a list of things that you are both good at AND take pleasure from.
Now comes the fun part - go and explore how you can put your passions, strengths and skills into practice in ways that increase your enjoyment.
You could reconnect with a long neglected pastime, polish a skill that has fallen into disrepair, or learn a new activity that will play to your strengths and loves. For example, if you have a great artistic sense, and love being outdoors, you could learn to take great nature photos or to paint landscapes. If you are brilliantly organised and love administration (yes there are some of us out there!) then you could volunteer to help with running a charity, or a social group.
Don’t be put off by fear of failure - you don’t have to be perfect! And if you are earning, don’t assume you have to immediately find something that will bring in equivalent financial reward to your current role (you can continue working while you figure out what you want to do and even while you’re testing things out). The point at this stage is just to try things out to see what gives you that sense of fulfilment.
If you just take one small step towards a more enjoyable future, what have you got to lose? And when you’ve done that then maybe, just maybe, you can take another step to a bigger change …
Ask yourself this? In 20 years’ time, what will I regret? And what do I want to be proud of?
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