Coping Skills, Life, Uncategorized

Judgments and shame about applying to jobs

I’ve been struggling lately with a lot of judgments about myself. It seems that whatever I do, there’s a voice in the back of my head telling me what’s wrong with it.

I have a lot of judgments about where I think I “should” be in life, about things I think I “should” have done already, about the school I go to, about my mental health and its effects on my life… so many.

I feel afraid to put myself out in the world for fear of people gossiping about me, thinking negative things about me, and then ostracizing me.

I’m trying to apply to internships and jobs for the summer. I feel ashamed that I haven’t had a job before. When I think about applying to certain jobs, I immediately discount them because I immediately think of the negative things my family could say. I go to a “good” college, and people seem to expect more from me as a result. If I got a “typical” summer job, I can imagine that my mom would not approve. I can imagine her stare down at me and her sigh of disappointment, and then the twenty minute speech. I think she would either tell me to “just relax,” or to get a better internship and then give me a list of names or websites and tell me to email people… (“just relaxing” and staying cooped up in the house all day has made me really depressed in the past; emailing even one person is really intimidating for me and takes a lot of work; plus, I’ve already emailed people)

My purpose in getting a job this summer is to 1) make money and to 2) get out of the house.

Making money helps my long-term goals by making me less financially dependent on my parents, as I am now. I could also start saving for life expenses after college or maybe for grad school, if I decide I want to try to go there at some point. (Right now, my parents are paying for college, which I definitely appreciate, but I would likely be paying for grad school on my own.) I could also have “spare cash” to spend on eating out with friends and birthday gifts, and I wouldn’t have to feel so guilty every time I used my parents’ money.

Getting out of the house would help me get away from my family, be productive, have something to occupy my mind with, and possibly help me to socialize with people beyond my family. I suppose a theme in this is that I want to be more independent from my family!

So, I have good reasons for wanting a job (or internship). I’m sure that this is what I want. It’s valid to want a job.

I’m still in school, so of course I don’t have lots of experience. I’m still qualified in other ways. I’ve done things in the past. I’ve had a lot of schooling! I’m an okay person. I have some good qualities.

Some of my shame around not having experience comes from the fact that I spent most of last summer doing a partial hospital program for my mental health while my friends had jobs or internships, or both. But I can’t tell that to an employer, even though I was working hard and being quite productive, even though I wasn’t just hanging out at home as I normally tell people.

Sighhh

I think I just have to do my best with what I have now, knowing that the work I did last summer on my mental health was very valuable, even if I can’t tell everyone that.

Another thing I feel shame about is general formal interactions with people. I don’t know the proper etiquette. No one’s ever taught me! So I feel shame when I think I may have done something wrong, or when I’m not sure how to act, when to send an email, what to write, etc.

Shame signals that you have broken a group’s value and could be excluded, so when I’m applying for jobs and I could be rejected, yes, shame is justified! Shame is justified, but the intensity that I feel it is probably not effective. It’s probably more effective to send an imperfectly worded email than it is to send no email at all. The intense shame would prevent me from sending any email, but a little shame could make the email better.

Agh, it’s hard! And getting rejected is hard, too! I will keep trying… maybe not forever, because this is exhausting, but for a little more…

So, skills that will help:

  • checking the facts and doing what’s effective
  • self validation
  • FAST (especially Stick to your values)
  • fake it ’til you make it / opposite action
  • being nonjudgmental towards myself, noticing judgments and saying “a thought is just a thought,” not necessarily believing judgments

I was writing (most of) this at the time that I was struggling with this issue, in more of the way I write things in my journal than how I write them on this blog. So, if this seems a little unclear, like it’s jumping from one idea to another, or like some loose ends weren’t tied up, that’s why. I did try to go back and clarify things so that it can make some sense to people-who-aren’t-me.

And, a couple of weeks after I started writing this post, I am very happy to say that I did finally get a job!!! 🙂 It is not an internship, and it’s not full-time, but it will get me out of the house and earn me money, and I think it’ll be fun, too! I’m looking forward to it. 🙂 And if I find some unpaid, part-time internship, I could potentially do both things and still accomplish my goals of earning money and getting out of the house. Wooh! It actually worked out! 🙂

Affirmations

Affirmation #4 — Self-Validation

(note: mentions of death)

IMG_9332

 

It says:

 

Self-Validation

I have been through a rough time.

I am grieving.

It makes sense that I am sad because there are important people missing from my life.

It makes sense that I am angry because their deaths block my goals of spending more time with them and showing them my love.

It makes sense that I have thoughts like, “I don’t understand why I’m not dead yet,” because with all the people that have died, it has shaken my foundation and made me more likely to believe that anyone can die at any moment. AND, at the same time, the vast majority of people I know have not died, and there is no rational, causal reason that I would have died, either.

It makes sense that I have the thought, “I don’t understand why people are nice to me,” because I have received conflicting messages and amounts of help in the same situations.


I wrote this when I was struggling with the thoughts mentioned above. I was invalidating my feelings and feeling shame, guilt, and anger at myself for thinking these things and reacting this way. I was just making it worse. So, I wrote this rather intentionally to validate myself. Because what I’m feeling and thinking is valid and comes from somewhere, even if I don’t always know where that is.

Coping Skills

How to be non-judgmental (towards yourself)

I’ve been trying to be more non-judgmental towards myself.

I wasn’t sure how to go about this at first, and google searches didn’t really help and were more aimed at being non-judgmental of others. (“Start by being non-judgmental towards yourself!” yes, but how?!) I’ve been thinking about this and working on it, and now that I’ve made some progress, I can share (what I think is) how to actually be non-judgmental.

  1. Notice judgments. (Observe) How will you know how you’re being non-judgemental if you don’t know how you’re being judgmental?

What is a judgment? According to Merriam-Webster, it’s “the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing,” or “an opinion or estimate so formed.” A judgment is an opinion. It is subjective, not factual.

People make judgments all the time. Most of them are harmless or even helpful. “Pink is the best color” is a judgment. “She’s smart” is a judgment. “I’m an awful person” is a more problematic judgment.

Notice judgments in what you say out loud. For example, I preface a lot of things with, “This is weird, but…” “This is silly, but…” “This isn’t a big deal, but…” and I say “Sorry for being annoying” and “sorry for being weird.”

Notice judgments in what others say. When you’re talking to someone one-on-one and can really listen to what they’re saying, be on the lookout for judgments. At my DBT day program one day at lunch, I was talking to someone new, trying to get to know him. Someone else asked him to tell us something about himself, and he said, “I’m a failure.” I said, “That’s a judgment” (this was a therapy program, after all). It was helpful for me to notice what judgments others had in order to be more aware of what judgments were in general. And it can help other people have a more balanced perspective if you point it out.

Notice judgments in what you think. I think, “Aah! They hate me!” “I should shut up” “I’m so weird” “Why am I doing this, this is weird” “I’m so annoying” etc.

Notice judgments in what you write. If you have a journal, notice judgments you have in it. I’m generally less judgmental in my writing, but I do say things like, “I need to…” “I f***ed this up” “I can’t do this” “This is awful”

2. Label them as judgments. (Describe) You could say something like, “I notice that I’m having the judgment that I am annoying.” “I notice the thought that I am weird.” “I am having the thought that I am pathetic.”

3. Stop yourself from saying them. Freeze your muscles, pause, stop in the middle of the sentence or word.

4. Replace judgments with facts and self-validation. Be as specific as possible. (I’m not good at this still working on this part, so these examples below aren’t that good could probably be improved on!)

  • Replace “I can’t do this” with “I’m having a hard time doing this.” (self validation and more true)
  • Replace “I’m so weird” with “I walked into the room when everyone was silent. I did not know that they were going to be silent when I opened the door.” (the facts)
  • Replace “This is silly” with “It makes sense that someone I know going on vacation makes me anxious because I was in a bad car accident while on vacation.” (self validation)
  • Replace “Sorry for being annoying” with “I hope I wasn’t bothering you by texting you twice in one day” (being more specific)

It’s probably hardest to be non-judgemental in your thoughts.

  1. To start, try writing your thoughts in a journal in a stream of consciousness way.
  2. Read it over and highlight or underline the judgments. I notice that I am much more aware of my thoughts when I’m writing in my journal.
  3. Then, practice noticing, describing, and replacing your judgements while meditating. Set a timer and pay attention to everything. I like to use the Calm app.
  4. Finally, catch yourself while thinking.

Yay! Being non-judgmental towards myself helps me feel much better about myself. 🙂

After writing this, I realized that my initial google searches weren’t actually very thorough, and I was able to find some websites that were useful:

Do you notice judgments that you have about yourself?