Coping With Job Dissatisfaction And Finding Your Joy.

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“THE ONLY WAY To Do GREAT WORK Is To LOVE What You DO.” ~Steve Jobs

Recently I saw research on TV regarding job dissatisfaction, and I was amazed at this revelation, although not surprised given the way our world has changed over the years. According to this report, a large number of people are greatly dissatisfied, many are somewhat dissatisfied, and many are no longer even mentally or emotionally involved while on the job. In too many situations people go to work, do what’s expected, get a pay check, and go home stressed and exhausted.

In my younger years I did waitress work, and while it was hard work and I sometimes dealt with rude customers, employees were not taken for granted like cattle to be prodded into submission. We were valued and appreciated, and this was reflected in the work environment. But not so in many places today. We live in a different world.

Having also worked in the mental health field for many years, I look at the psychological reasons for today’s dissatisfaction in the place where we spend most of our daily life. It’s not only our response to what goes on outside of ourselves but something that’s going on inside too. We humans have basic needs that must come from both our outer world and our own sense of well being on the inside.

In our outer world, we need validation and appreciation for the work we do. This means receiving fair pay and treatment in a safe work place where we can enjoy doing what we do. It means a sense of security with benefits and a solid future. It means respect from supervisors and congenial relationships with co-workers. It should be a place we look forward to each work day…a place that enhances our quality of life.

Utopia? Not really. I remember when most work places were like this.

“Burnout is what happens when we ignore the soul whispering against an unhealthy job or relationship.”  ~Unknown

On the inside, each of us is endowed with a ‘knowing’. But how often do we listen to our inner voice telling us what we need to know for our life to be fulfilling? Maybe we’re too busy to listen. Every day our mind is caught up in what we need to know on the job to keep the bills paid. And we push buttons to communicate and get things done. Our modern world is efficient in many ways. But there’s something inside that needs to be fulfilled. It’s that innate need to create and find satisfaction in our creation. Our God-given gift of creativity feeds our soul and maintains our identity. And you can’t get that from a stressful job or a hand held gadget.

If you’re employed in a happy work environment, enjoy the years you spend there, and express gratitude every day. You’re blessed. And I’m happy for you. On the other hand, in our society, many are not so fortunate. Some do turn to more gratifying pursuits, but as months turn into years, some feel so trapped, they don’t even try to change the status quo. These are people you see every day who live from one pay check to the next without hope for a way out.

“Use your smile to change this world, don’t let this world change your smile.”  ~Unknown

If you feel unhappy in your job, even miserable at work, know that you can change your own life in spite of your situation. First, change the way you perceive your work environment, and do the best you can with what you’ve got there. Start taking your love and your smile to work, and you may find it’s contagious.

Then create something in your life that reflects who you are, that says your life matters…You matter. Focusing on creative satisfaction can compensate for the negatives at work, and reduce stress, and give your life meaning. Hopefully, this could be at your job, but if not it could be found in something you just enjoy doing…maybe volunteering, gardening, cooking, writing, music, sports, sharing interesting knowledge, whatever. There’s much-undiscovered talent within you. So look within and find your joy.

I wish you peace and joy in all of your life.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country  on Amazon.

How Well Are You Living On Your LIFE Journey?


We seldom think of life as a journey, but that’s what it is. For most, it goes from infancy to old age, and we travel through many situations with different people, places, and experiences. And most of the time we don’t really notice where we’re going. We just move along and deal with whatever comes up. But every single moment is a precious part of what makes your journey unique.

“Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of. It’s yours.”  ~ Unknown

Our journey is like a tapestry where our life weaves many designs reflecting our happiness, our pain, our challenges, opportunities, lessons, and yes, our blessings. We face many changes, some welcome, some bitter memories, but all a part of our own individual journey that no one else can live for us. As you move through the years, every thread is woven by you and becomes a part of who you are.

Sometimes your journey provides pit falls with people and situations that pull you down. And you feel lost. Did you make a wrong turn? Where is your road? How can you go on? But then you dig deep inside where guidance is always there to lift you back to your familiar path, the one you know in your heart is where you belong…your rightful place on your journey. And you begin again, stronger and wiser than before.

“Somewhere on your journey, don’t forget to turn around and enjoy the view.” ~Unknown

Our journey consists of a series of stages where life takes on new flavors with new ways to live each day. Although we may fight the passage of time, each stage is equally important with opportunities to learn and grow. We all know nostalgia, and sometimes we want to go back. But on this journey when the road gets rough, we can’t make a U turn and go back to happier, easier times. Those memories you want to recapture now live in your mind and heart.

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Oh, how I remember when my children were small. I rocked my babies, rode on the sled with them when they got older and when my son fell off his bike, I got the gash in his head sutured, I ordered art lessons for my other son and made my daughter’s prom dress. Treasured memories, some wonderful, some not so wonderful. You know what I mean. You have yours too. Did you realize time was passing when you lived those years? I didn’t. I just took it all for granted.

Then one day I looked around and realized I had aged, and I wondered where it all went–those precious memories, my clear skin, my flat tummy and my firm rear end. Wow. It must have happened when I wasn’t looking. Time has a way of creeping up on us, and we don’t notice the changes until they’re demanding our attention to make necessary adjustments.

“Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.”  ~ Alan Alda 

So much is said about living in the present, but I think we don’t realize the full meaning of the word ‘living’. To live is to learn, to savor, to share, to be aware of self and others, and to know where we are on our journey and what we want to do with it. We have the power to create the quality of our lives in spite of challenges. Did you know that? And you’re probably a lot smarter than you used to be, so you’re more able to create the quality you want.

Think about where you are now, and where you want to go. Keep the precious moments from the past, and forgive your mistakes. You did the best you could according to your growing ability at the time. Don’t carry them now. You’re a beautiful being on a glorious journey of self-realization. There is a Divine purpose in your journey, and you’re part of that Divine plan for yourself and humanity. Hang on and enjoy the ride.

I wish you much sunshine on your journey…

Marilyn Fowler Author, and writer for “Keys To Recovery,”  “Silent Echoes”  and  “Me and Granmama in the Hill Country”  

How Do You Perceive Your Suffering?

Each of us is a unique being, expressing a unique self, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And no one else can live our life for us or deal with all that happens to us. But as we move through life, we do a lot of feeling without an accurate understanding of all that’s taking place at a given time. And it’s important to also experience life with knowledge and understanding and find meaning in our being here.

When we suffer, there’s one question that usually comes up, “Why do I have to suffer in this life?” There are all kinds of answers, but in the end, who really knows? Maybe it’s there to teach us something, to make us grateful for the good times, to appreciate our blessings, to emphasize compassion…and more. Whatever the reason, it’s part of life, and we can learn to see it in a different way with our innermost self.

We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are. Unknown

No one wants to suffer at all, but suffering must be included in a meaningful life. Step back, look at your life, and ask questions. What is yours, and only yours, to do in your life? What is, or was your suffering, and what do you see in it…pain, loss, bondage? Your own perceptions of your suffering create what it is, and no one else can experience or express it. Therefore it becomes something more meaningful than simply pain. And you can learn to not only survive but to thrive in spite of it…or because of it.

Your suffering may be temporary or of a chronic nature. But your perception of it is vital to the quality of your life, and it can save you or destroy you. In a positive way, your perception can provide valuable information about you and help you see personal qualities of which you’re not aware. Maybe you’re stronger than you think, or you have ‘first hand’ experiences that can help others, or you’ve developed skills to compensate for the suffering.

In a negative way, your perceptions of your suffering can influence the severity. Or when you allow your suffering to become who you are, your true self may get lost in the pain. We apply meaning to everything. And if you assign negative meaning to your condition, defining what you believe it is, that may lead to more pain and inability to deal with it. But sometimes life itself will heal your suffering and provide a way to escape.

Until my early forties, I suffered from serious depression and cursed the pain every day. Then 2 years of intensive therapy released me from my prison and opened a door to a rewarding career as a Mental Health Therapist. Looking back I blessed those bitter years and expressed gratitude for the suffering that led to renewed purpose for my life. Those years provided insight into the lives of my suffering patients, and I understood their pain.

While working in a jail setting, I circulated a book titled, “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. I can’t imagine how many read this book, or tried to read it, but its pages are yellowed, phrases underlined in pencil, words scribbled in the margins, and many questions from my patients about its contents. It offered new understanding and possibilities for their lives…some attainable, some not.

In this book, Dr. Frankl offers various ways to deal with your suffering and find meaning in it. Imagine you’re 85 years old looking back on your life when you did a lot without thinking about it. Be an observer and remember…happy times when you laughed and had fun, the people in your life, problems you solved, your skills and talents, your accomplishments, things you did well and mistakes you made, lessons learned, small kindnesses like hellos to strangers, warm hugs, holding doors open for others, blessings given and received, etc, etc. Look at your life, and include your sufferings. They were an important part of it.

“Your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same.”  ~Unknown

Now return to your present time and see your life with new eyes, with a new mind and heart, with knowledge and understanding, and with love and forgiveness wherever it’s needed. Can you now accept your suffering as something you deal with, while your light reduces any darkness you face? You have the ability to rise above any situation, and your beautiful self can find peace.

I wish you, “Angels,” to tickle your nose.


Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer 

of  “Silent Echoes” on Amazon.

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Opening The Package vs Assumptions…

 

“You don’t know what’s in the package until you open it.”  ~Unknown

When you receive a package do you spend time guessing what’s inside and assume what the package might contain? And does the wrapping affect your attitude about the contents? Well, this is what we sometimes do with life situations. We might miss something wonderful because the situation doesn’t come wrapped in a pretty package, and we discard it without looking past appearances. Or we might too quickly accept something based on its attractive wrapping and set ourselves up for disappointment.

We use this approach with all kinds of life situations, and we can’t always back out of the holes we dig for ourselves. Too often we accept our assumptions about a job, people, how we spend our money, a trip we plan to take, a home we buy, companies for repair work, and even food past the expiration dates. The list doesn’t end. That’s life. Just think about everything you do or need on a daily basis. Do you manage your life based on assumptions, or do you open the package and see what’s inside…to see what you’re getting?

“Assumptions allow the best in life to pass you by.” John Sales

One time I had a supervisor who pushed my buttons every time we encountered each other. This package was certainly not wrapped in pretty paper. But I wanted to keep the job, so I took the time to examine my own attitude and look beyond our differences. I was quite surprised to find she had qualities I’d not seen before. And we had a lot in common, much upon which to build a good relationship. As time passed, we became friends, and I remember her with a warm heart instead of with my initial assumption.

Then later I moved to a different city and searched for a job in my field. But the only one I could find was with a mental health team in a county jail setting–definitely not a package I had in mind. But I took the job until I could find what I wanted. I performed as required, but my attitude was not productive until I began to open the package and notice the many unexpected challenges and rewards in my work. I gradually realized I was in the right place. And I stayed in a job I loved for 10 years. I would have missed this rewarding experience if I had clung to my first impression.


“Do not blindly follow anyone or anything. Always seek the truth out for yourself.”   ~Unknown

Nobody gets it right all the time, and we all know what it feels like to end up where we don’t want to be. But we don’t want to be a skeptic about everything either. So when you need to make a sound judgment about something, a few rules might help to reach an accurate conclusion, at least most of the time.

1. Don’t be fooled by first impressions, positive or negative. Take your time and keep an open mind.

2. Use self-talk and plan your strategy. You’d be surprised at how much more clear something is with words than with thoughts. Words paint pictures, and pictures are revealing.

3. Gather information. Take notes and compare them as you go along.

4. Ask all kinds of questions from anyone who might have answers. Example: People who’ve had their stoves repaired may know who does or does not do good work repairing stoves. Etc. And only accept complete answers. No half…answers.

5. This is not rocket science, so be kind to yourself. It’s okay to make a mistake. Most of the time you can back up and start over.

6. When you feel ready, review your information, check your feelings, and act.

Of course, there are times when people, places, and situations we encounter are true to our first impression. But things aren’t always what they seem. And it’s usually worth our time and effort to look past the wrapping and open the package without judgment and find what’s really there. As least we won’t have to look back and wonder what might have been.

I wish you happy discoveries.

Visit me on Amazon and see all my books!

I Appreciate My Follow Friends! Now, What To Do With Regrets From Your Past That Live In The Present?

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Congratulations on getting 100 total followers on The Self-Help Road To Freedom!

“A very special THANK YOU to all my followers, friends, and all visitors who made this new milestone HAPPEN.”  🙂   Author, Marilyn Fowler  🙂
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Do you ever think of your past and find ‘what ifs’ running around in your mind? What if I hadn’t done that, what if I’d done something different? Mistakes and Regrets. And you spend your whole life agonizing about how different life would be had you made wiser choices in the past. Everyone goes through it, but you don’t have to live with it.

“One day, perhaps, you will see for yourself that regrets are as nothing. The value lies in how they are answered.”  ~Steven Erikson, House of Chains

What kinds of feelings come up when you think of your mistakes…anger about what you did or failed to do, sadness at how things turned out, guilt, stupidity, disappointment in yourself or feeling others disappointment in you? We can be pretty hard on ourselves for being imperfect. I’ve never known a perfect person. But I have known some pretty great imperfect people. So you don’t need to keep beating yourself over the head and getting into ‘what ifs’ because you stumbled in the past.

Getting stuck in regret, self-criticism or blame can rob you of confidence and clear vision and then sabotage what you may want to create now. You can harbor your regrets, and stumble through life, but every decision you made was based upon your knowledge at the time. And maybe the path you took was necessary to move you to create something better. Louise Hay says, “Every experience I have is perfect for my growth.”

When I worked in the jail with a Mental Health Team, I counseled homeless inmates incarcerated for trespassing, stealing food, yelling at police officers, etc, some with mental illness and some without a mental disorder. And many came from dysfunctional homes with physical and/or mental abuse. I heard a lot of ‘what ifs’ from them with poor self-images and memories of one mistake after another. They saw few worthwhile qualities in themselves and no hope for a positive future. But as I worked with them I found many bright minds with potential for a better life, and many learned to see their mistakes not as reasons for blame, but as learning tools to turn their lives around.

Cut away the nonsense, the drama, the regret, the scars of the past, and make a decision to no longer let them govern your happiness and freedom. ~Steve Maraboli

 

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Awareness: Sometimes we’re not aware of what’s churning in our subconscious robbing us of the freedom we need to grow on our journey. If you have a sense of something holding you back, look inside and see what’s in there. Any guilt and self-condemning thoughts? Any memories you’ve hidden somewhere so you don’t have to re-live them? Bring them up and begin your road to freedom.

Forgiveness: You’re not your mistakes. You’re not stupid or incompetent. So you don’t need to forgive yourself for being who you are. You need forgiveness for doubting yourself and allowing your mistakes to create a false image of you. Deal with your mistakes and feelings from your true self. Affirm your positive qualities often, acknowledge who you are, and claim your true identity–a beautiful person who goofs up sometimes.

Confrontation: There’s power in thoughts and more power in words. So when any self-condemning thoughts come up, talk to them directly, out loud when possible. Tell them you’ve had enough, and you’re letting them go … goodbye! Refuse to let them hang around.

Comfort: Comfort that inner child part of you who’s been suffering for too long. Give her/him lots of hugs with love and approval. And when you make your next mistake–and you will–do the same with that mistake and all the others that follow. You’re the caretaker, and your inner child needs you.

I can’t count the times I kicked myself in the rear end with regret, and it always took a while for those thoughts and beliefs to give up and go away. But each time it was a new step forward. And I wish those steps forward for you.

Let the past go and enjoy your freedom.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of Silent Echoes



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“Sit Under A Tree And Discover Your Peace In Nature.”

“Sometimes life really is a bumpy road, and some of those bumps hurt. We need to find a place of rest, so when the bumps come, we have what we need to pass through them. That place of rest is within you–that place of peace, joy, comfort, wisdom and strength. It’s a safe haven sometimes overlooked as we rush through life to worn out and stressed to deal with all the stuff that hits us in the face.”

That place is always there, but it’s not something to be just tapped into occasionally when we’re desperate for rest. It’s where we need to go on a continuing basis, where we need to live as we meet each day’s demands. We can form a daily connection through prayer, meditation, music, whatever way pulls you inside to your quiet place.

In every walk with nature, man receives far more than he seeks.” ~John Muir

We hear about the benefits of nature where we can also connect with our inner self, but how often do we seek out places where we can actually experience those benefits? Most wooded areas have quiet paths with trees that whisper messages of peace, flowers that dance in the sunshine. maybe weeds with beautiful blue flowers, a few muddy places for children to make mud pies, snow in winter, and puddles after a spring rain. Something all year to soothe our jangled nerves and tell us that life goes on with wisdom and peace, in spite of daily challenges. As often as possible, allow nature to become a part of your life and feel the benefits of being one with nature. You might even sit under a tree and hear it whisper what you need to know.

“There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.”   ~Minnie Aumonier

One year while visiting in Seattle, I sat on a shady porch taking in the pristine beauty of giant northwestern trees. I’ve always loved trees, and this majestic sight left me feeling breathless. Then a nearby tree called my name, and I thought of what I’d heard about the benefits of sitting under a tree. Something shifted inside, and I was drawn to try this new way to reach my quiet place. As I relaxed against the tree, the earth poured her loving energy up through the tree and into my body, wrapping me in exquisite peace and strength. And my heart was very quiet.

As I sat in this blissful space, I remembered singing in my school choir many years ago. We sang Joyce Kilmer’s poem about trees. I still knew every word by heart. And now I truly understood his poem…and so much more.

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Trees
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Too many people go through life so busy they never really know the beauty that lies within them. They don’t know who they truly are and the wonderful achievements of which they’re capable. Every day their attention is given to the busyness of everyday life, and they miss the best parts. Find your way to go within and be quiet. Listen for the truth in your heart. You really can walk through life in peace and joy when you know where to look. Look there often.

I wish you beautiful discoveries within a quiet heart.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Me and Granmama In The Hill Country and Slient Echoes”

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Happy Memorial Weekend! How To Cope And Survive When Illness Knocks You Down…

We live in predictable patterns involving every aspect of life. Every morning we expect our day to be as we’ve planned it. And we don’t want any unexpected situations forcing us down a different path. Usually, our plans are easily fulfilled, and our days are as they should be. No problem. Everything’s under control, and all is well.

But we don’t live in a fairy tale. Our world is real, and unforeseen things do happen, like a check bounces at the bank, the car has a flat tire, or you forgot an important appointment, etc. Bothersome interruptions, but solvable. And that’s okay. You’ve been there before, and you understand that life sometimes gets bumpy, and you have to roll with it. 

“I can and will make it through the storm…simply because I’m a survivor. It’s what I do.”  ~ Unknown

But what happens when a sudden unexpected illness temporarily invades your predictable life, like the flu, various viral infections, a chest cold that turns into pneumonia, etc, etc. Such health challenges are not life threatening, but they put your life on hold, and they require more than a band-aid. And what about the more serious chronic illnesses like COPD, diabetes, a heart condition, etc…illnesses that require a lifetime of attention. Whatever the illness, they all take their toll. And your life is changed. But you can survive.

“You’re allowed to scream, you’re allowed to cry, but do not give up.”  ~Unknown

Recently I spent 6 days in a hospital, then a slow recovery at home. Hospitals are there to promote healing, but the experience can add stress to what you’re already going through. In the hospital, every time there was a change of shifts, the new shift contradicted what the last shift required. And I felt like a ball bounced back and forth by the different shifts. One said get out of bed and move around, and the next one jumped all over me for getting out of bed and moving around. I ended up yelling at the walls and crying to go home. The whole thing was like a page out of the movie, “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” I had to come home to begin healing.

We experience illness on 3 levels, physically, mentally, and emotionally. In our response we may physically see or feel it; mentally we think about it, “Can I afford the medical bills? How can I function with it?” etc; and emotionally we feel angry, scared, frustrated, helpless, etc.

Each illness will manifest in different ways. One may involve physical pain with fear and frustration. Another may involve guilt, worry, or resentment. Another added expense, loss of mobility and independence, leaving you feeling helpless. And each person responds in different ways. Some perceive even a minor illness as devastating, while others take it in stride. The way you perceive it depends upon your personality, your life situation, and the way you view your life.


“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”  ~Arthur Ashe

How do you respond when illness knocks you down? Have you ever thought about the way in which you deal with it? Knowing and understanding yourself at those times supplies a sense of control and is the first step in the healing process as you implement other resources. But once you’ve made that first assessment, it’s important to quiet your mind and allow your body to heal.

Too often, some in the medical field have a ‘one size fits all’ agenda. But this is the last attitude a person in pain needs or wants. One size doesn’t fit all. You are unique, and you need individual care. So when you need medical care, look for a care giver who cares.

“People start to heal the moment they feel heard.”  ~ Cheryl Richardson

Have you ever felt alone in a health challenge? Have you ever longed for someone to hear you and put their arm around you and tell you you’ll be okay? Well, that someone is a major part of your healing. So find that person, and allow their caring energy to help you heal. And whether you’re facing a temporary or permanent situation, look within for guidance, strength, and confidence, knowing you will always be the same beautiful soul that you are. And no illness can ever change that.


I wish you healthy days and loving arms around you.

Marilyn Fowler
Author, and writer for “Keys To Recovery,”  “Silent Echoes”  and  “Me and Granmama in the Hill Country”