Sense of failure, guilt and permeating lack of self-confidence

by Leanne
(West Salem, WI, USA)

People reflect back to me that I have a lot going for me - a job as a business professor, being smart, married to a good guy, two good daughters, able to communicate well, etc - but I have inescapable sense of feeling bad about myself.

I wonder if it is my job, my boss is very driven and it seems like she keeps me from meaningful work opportunities (but she is great at managing up so the "uppers" think very highly of her so that I don't feel like I can make any waves).

I think about quitting work. I am good at what I do but I do not love it. I used to love it when I was able to participate in meaningful projects like developing a sustainability center and connecting the university with other community organizations around the topic of sustainability. Partially due to my work in bringing sustainability to our department, we hired a PhD (I have my MBA) in Environmental Resources who let me know that she was the sustainability "leader" and that every time I did something related to sustainability, I was doing her job. The dean seems to have taken his hands off the issue, maybe wanting us to work it out and maybe wanting to appease her because we need more PhDs on campus if we want to become accredited for our own PhD program.

What keeps me from quitting work is that I actually did give my notice a year ago. I felt SO good about it for a few days then I had a very intense time, not able to sleep at night, feeling like I had made a bad mistake.

I had become good friends with another faculty member last year. We did things together all throughout the summer and I watched her kids for her. She suddenly stopped talking to me and has not responded to my request to talk about why we are not hanging out anymore. Her office is just down the hall from me (we have a very small department of 15) and she has not spoken to me since August. It is very uncomfortable.

I wish I could say I always had good self-esteem and now is the exception because that would mean that it would be situational and I would only need to wait this out. The truth is that I have always had a very poor concept of myself and yet my expectations or dreams were always so big and earth-changing.

Aside from raising two awesome girls, I feel like my life is mundane and unimportant and that there is something else I have to give, no matter how humble, that would make a difference and that would make me feel like my outer world is in alignment with my inner world or purpose.

Any help would be so appreciated. Has anyone else struggled with a deep lack of self-esteem/confidence and "recovered" :)



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Low self esteem and confidence
by: Kay

Thank you for contacting Positive Personal Growth. Isn't it surprising that no matter how well a person appears to be doing in his/her life, things are not always as they seem. People have no idea how you feel inside, and assume everything is wonderful for you, and some may even envy your lifestyle.

It all comes down to how you feel about yourself, how you feel inside. This is where your problem lies at the moment. But you know this. Even so its difficult to get past.

Thousands upon thousands of people are attempting deal with their lack of self esteem, lack of confidence, sense of guilt or failure. There is no quick fix, I have suffered since childhood with it, but I stay determined within myself to move past it and not let it get control of how I handle myself.

It's a matter of believing in yourself no matter what, not putting yourself down all the time (this is the big thing and I think most of us are expert at this.) I am not certain that you can be self assured 100% of the time, but if you can control your doubts when they come to mind and replace them with positive feelings, this will help you to work your way through these insecure feelings.

If you aren't happy with your job you can of course always change, but don't leave until you have secured a better position, one that offers permanent employment. It would be dreadful in these times to lose what is a steady job.

I wish you future happiness.


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