Hello fellow Treeleafers,
Today I had a very disappointing setback--a job I applied for in the city I hope to move to ASAP chose another candidate for the job over me. I was almost perfectly tailored for this job, but it was my luck that the only person who was more suited to the job--someone who had done the same exact job before--applied at the same time. Now I have very few job options left. All of the "alternatives" I thought I had have dried up or proved to be dead ends. The last option I have is a job with the same agency that's below my professional training level, and a bit of a step back in my career. My current options, IF the job is offered to me after my interview, are to accept the job with the risk that something better suited to my education and training would come along shortly after I committed to this job, or to turn it down and/or apply for any new job that comes up right away and risk burning my bridge with this agency, which is the most likely place to have a better social work opening in the city.
Even if I get offered the job, instead of feeling happy and excited to be starting a new phase of my life, I will already start out in my new city feeling down. See, I've not had a lot of luck in a lot of areas of life. I haven't had luck in love or romance. I haven't had much luck with friends. No matter how much I've tried in recent years, I've found myself watching others around me who seem to have people who are interested in their lives and who care about them, while I only have one real friend, who is currently on the other side of the country. I've had people stab me in the back and betray me, stop talking to me randomly without any clear reason (no fights or awkward issues), and flat out just never pick up interest in knowing me beyond an acquaintance level.
The one area in my life in which I've had luck for the most part has been my education, and now, my career. Even when everything else was failing me, I could take heart in the wonderful places where I studied and worked. But now, at a time in my life that I've been wanting to manifest an overall change for the positive, I find even this one reliable part of my life is failing me. I face the prospect of moving to a new town with no friends (I originally had a friend there, who has proven not to be a friend, so I'm back to square one on that) and now a job that is definitely a few steps backward in my career path. I'm almost hoping I get turned down for it so that I'm not pressed with the dilemma of what to do if I'm offered the job.
I've been coming to terms lately with the fact that I'm not the nice, good person I like to think of myself as being. I am constantly full of anger and resentment. I notice more and more how much of my mental activity is anger and judgment. I space out and when I notice my mind again, I catch it in the middle of some ugly thought about someone or something. It's like it's going on in the background all the time, even when I'm not actively keeping it going. I am learning that karma is all about the ruts we create for ourselves in our minds. And watching my mother, whose self-pity and resentment leaves little room for her to feel much else, shows me that hers is the fate that awaits me if I don't stop practicing resentment and self-pity.
So I am trying to shift my perspective. I am trying to look to the good things I have and to feel grateful. I have a place to stay and food to eat. I do have people in my life who care about me. And I really don't know what the future holds for me. Maybe life will be good again. But it is tough, because I really don't feel grateful. I wish I was that gracious. But deep down, what I truly feel is resentment and self-pity. I am starting to wonder if my luck will ever change, or if my whole life will be sparse of affection and emotional support. I know I am not as good as I wish I was, but I feel deep down I've been a good enough person that I "deserve better." And yet I see people who are even better than me suffer even more setbacks than me. So how can I sit around feeling entitled to good fortune when other decent people don't get to have it either?
I am not a very high-energy person. It is hard for me to constantly fight an uphill battle in every area of my life. Weight loss is extremely difficult for me and requires a certain amount of pain and hunger to succeed at all. And unfortunately, the reality of our society is that even beyond romance and in terms of platonic friendship, people discount you more as a woman if you're overweight. I find socializing draining and my luck these past few years has been that all the people and relationships I've put energy into haven't panned out. But I've got to keep trying, keep looking for people and hoping I will find even just one who truly sees something worthwhile in me and wants to pursue that. I'd like to have a family some day, but I wonder if I will ever meet someone I could trust enough not to leave me high and dry after I've had children with him. I feel like if even just one area of my life was easy, it would help so much.
There's a Neko Case song where she sings about two different women, Margaret and Pauline. "Everything's so easy for Pauline." Everyone loves her and the setbacks she experiences are minor. But Margaret's life is very difficult and people just don't love her the way they do Pauline. I feel like Margaret a lot of the time.
I realize sometimes that my perceptions are probably not that accurate. That the people around me probably don't have it as easy as they seem to, and that I probably don't have it as bad. But this self-pity is hard to shake. I can sit zazen, do The Work, whatever, and it's still there. I know it only hurts me to feed it, and yet somehow there is a strange comfort in it. It is a very stupid addiction, I keep feeding something that barely has any positive benefit or feeling associated with it. And the one thing I can take comfort in--that I am a good person--is not true, as long as I go around filled with such shitty thoughts about other people and my life. So why can't I give up this thinking? Why do I go around resenting the hell out of life and people, when it means I'm unhappy and sowing seeds of continued unhappiness?
Has anyone else practiced with this difficult emotion and thinking pattern? How do we break free of self-pity? How do we experience the goodness in the world when it seems like life hardly ever gives us a break?
I apologize for going on so long.