Since way back in high school I started coping with life's difficulties by trying to become invisible, not have feelings (or at least not let them show), and I think I even stopped feeling hopeful about things in order to avoid disappointment. As life went on and I experienced ongoing struggles with anxiety, "trying to act normal" became the charade of my daily existence, with escapes into solitude offering only limited relief. I would choose boredom over added stress any day, and although I did continually "put myself out there" and try to find employment that reflected my education and passions, it was never enough (perhaps due to self-limiting beliefs?) to actually make it happen. I ended up working in low-level retail and office jobs and feeling more stressed than ever, with financial struggles, chronic headaches and sinus infections, not to mention neverending back and neck pain. Life was further complicated by divorce in my early 30's, leading to even greater financial trouble.
It wasn't until I was working in a call center environment a number of years later that I finally started talking to my supervisors about my stress levels, my issues with anxiety, and the things I felt would help me to function better; to my enormous relief, they listened. My work ethic was rewarded (I had been there several years and worked hard until that point, but was finally overwhelmed when my department was continually under threat of being fully integrated into the larger call center and required to assist with sales calls, rather than the more administrative tasks we were accustomed to). While I was never destined to thrive in such a busy setting (as an HSP), I managed to work there for six years in several administrative capacities (prior to moving back to Alberta to be near family), had some rewarding experiences, and made some good friends. The pay was good enough to get me going on my debt consolidation, and medical benefits were helpful too. I look back on the time fondly and with appreciation. At one point when I took a temporary role at Reception, my manager cautioned my supervisor not to let me get too used to being in my comfort zone... it amuses me still; they never could fully understand that in such an environment I could never be in my comfort zone! However, by being honest about my strengths and weaknesses I was able to create a niche for myself within an otherwise difficult environment. It is still one of my most passionate beliefs that people should find and do what they are good at; use their unique gifts and make their own unique contributions to the world.
(At other times, when life itself was too high-stress I allowed myself to take jobs that let me hide, working in stockrooms and a warehouse; I think it is ok to sometimes retreat and just take care of yourself - it is important to distinguish between appropriate challenges, challenges that are simply not right for you, and the occasional need for time-out).
I was recently reading an article about a man who had received training from a buddhist monk, designed to teach him patience and other virtues through a series of challenging and frustrating circumstances. Although we've all heard this kind of thing before, this time for some reason it "clicked" and I suddenly experienced a moment of insight into my own life; if I believe that things happen for a reason in this life, and that my higher purpose is to become a more aware and conscious being, why wouldn't all of these past job (and relationship, and financial) experiences have been designed to further my growth? In fact, how clever of the universe to fit those teachings into my daily life, making it unnecessary to go in search of such training ;) While I am not yet advanced enough to be constantly thankful for adversity, I feel like I have taken another step in the right direction. So, I continue along the way, with tapping, breathing (while both awake and asleep) and "letting go" ...
Grace emerges in the ebb and flow, not just the flow.
The waning reveals a different kind of blessing than the waxing.
But whether it's our time to ferment in the valley of shadows or rise up singing in the sun-splashed meadow, fresh power to transform ourselves is always on the way.
Our suffering won't last, nor will our triumph.
Without fail, life will deliver the creative energy we need
to change into the new thing we must become.
Read the rest: http://bit.ly/w3buzJ
Excerpted from "Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings" by Rob Brezsny- http://bit.ly/Pronoia