After many years of working, people retire. At least that is what many people strive for. The opportunity to finally enjoy leisure time and activities they truly enjoy. One of my dear friends has just taken
Interestingly, while she is happy to not be working anymore, she is actually struggling significantly with the vacuum that not working has created in her life. Sleeping until noon, watching a lot of television, feeling unmotivated to do
much of anything. While there are many people who make this transition gracefully, unfortunately, this response to retirement is not that unusual.
It turns out that of all the things people can be addicted to: drugs, alcohol, sex, relationships, shopping, food/sugar, etc, etc., the most common addiction of them all, the one that is socially acceptable and even revered, is
There are many reasons why people put so much time and effort into work, perhaps they are seeking financial gains and accolades or maybe they enjoy what they do. Often they are secretly seeking self-esteem. In addition to our
relationships, work is one of the most likely places that people go to raise their self-esteem. "Hey, I'm good at what I do, people praise me for it, it feels good, I want to do more." Positive reinforcement at
its best. Nothing wrong with that, except that for many people, this is the only way they gain self-esteem.
Whether it is from a relationship, work, or other source, when we seek our worth and value from something outside ourselves, we can become dependent on that source to make us feel good about ourselves. When that source drys
up, i.e. retirement, divorce, etc., we can be adversely impacted by that unless or until we find another source.
I came to this realization for myself recently a year after a relationship ended. I struggled mightyly with the break up all the while realizing that my deepest wounds had been triggered. The realization that I had been looking to my
partner to esteem me was the end result of significant effort to process my experience of that relationship.
Given such a realization, the question always becomes, "So what, now what?" Having had this experience and this insight and learning, what do I do with it so that I can change my life and live differently? That is
always the challenge.
What did I really learn? It may sound cliche, but what I learned (not for the first time) is that I ultimately need to love and esteem myself. This, from a person who has been using affirmations and positive self-talk for years. And
yes, I have been doing that all along. Part of what I learned, however is that words are not the same as actions. You know the ol' walk the talk thing.
So I started asking myself what I could do differently rather than just adding more affirmations. The answer I came up with was to behave in a self-loving manner and to do self-loving things. For me, that means not
settling for less than what I truly desire, and turning my attention fully to creating and living my life. If I'm not waiting for someone to show up who's going to make it all alright, then I'm making choices based on
my needs and desires and joy in this moment.