I have to admit that besides wanting control over my own time, another reason I was so interested in retiring was to have control over my own self-esteem. When I was working, a hefty amount of my self-worth was impacted by what others thought about me (mainly my bosses, but also my co-workers.) A glowing performance review or nice, big raise would have me feeling just great about myself. Feeling valued made me feel valuable. A critical comment or, worse yet, periods of no feedback at all would have me assuming the worst. While I was working, I let an inordinate amount of my self-image be influenced by what others thought about me.
Ironically, this praise or criticism didn't necessarily bear any relationship to my actual performance. But since my role was in large part a function of what my superiors thought of me, it was more important to me what they thought about me than what I thought about myself. Since work represented such a large portion of my life, a large portion of my self-worth was driven by how I thought I was viewed at work.
When I say I'm discovering who I am without work
, what I'm really discovering is what I value about myself. It's all up to me. It's kind of hard to break away from the praise-equals-I'm-a-good-person mentality. That may be one of the reasons retirement is so scary for some people. Some people thrive on what that work feedback does to their egos; it can be tough to give that up.
The truth is, it's much harder to figure out what you value in yourself when you are not viewing your value through other people's opinions of you. But how great to get to spend the rest of my life feeling good (or bad) about myself based totally on what I value: friendships, family, health, and creativity.
This whole idea of loss of identity, and all of the whirling thoughts I've had about the root of that identity once it's no longer in a career that I've devoted 31 years to is what's prompted me to start my blog at http://forthefirstime.wordpress.com
There are so many questions. You've got a head start on me and so I really appreciate the wisdom you share from your thoughtful perspective "down the road" a bit.
Posted by: Sylvia B | July 25, 2008 at 06:52 AM
There is no doubt that happiness is the most precious thing in the world. Without it, life will be empty and meaningless. happiness consists in contentment. A man who is dissatisfied with his present condition is always in distress.
Posted by: coach handbags | June 25, 2010 at 06:50 PM
This is wonderful. Positive affirmations are a great way to push out negative thoughts or negative put downs that so many people have been locked into thinking from years of doing so. At first it can feel weird doing it because it is unnatural especially after years of being told negative things. However, after practicing and saying some of the same ones over and over a person can really change how s/he thinks about him/herself. It is a real awakening. Thank you for a great read!
[url]http://www.myselfesteemaffirmations.com[/url]Self Esteem Affirmations
Posted by: Account Deleted | October 29, 2010 at 12:56 PM