This past month I completed a move from Southern California to the Northern Chicago area. Throughout my transition back to the Midwest, I have felt a lot of ups and downs, sometimes questioning the move and other times questioning myself. From my reflections, I have come up with 2 focus points of my difficulties. The first difficulty I faced was finding the value of what I brought to this transition, both for myself and for my relationship. The second difficulty I faced was who I am now is not who I was the last time I lived in the Midwest. This particular post is going to be focused on the first, difficulty of me recognizing my value.
To give some context, I have been between jobs for about 2 months now. After leaving California, I spent a couple of weeks with friends in Minnesota and then about a month in Wisconsin with my family until I finally secured housing in Illinois. During that time my partner had been supporting me and our search for housing. While I was tasked with finding a place for us to live, I started to build this coaching business and passively looked for regular employment.
One night as I was listening to music, I began to get into my head and thoughts which led me to sink into a depressive state. I kept thinking “What am I doing?”, “Should I have stayed in California?”, “What do I want to do now?”, “Will we be okay financially?”, “I need to do something to help”. It began to spiral but I recognized that these were unhelpful thoughts. I took a breath, gave myself a few more seconds to get all the thoughts out, and then regulated myself back.
A lot of how I valued and saw myself prior to the move was my career. I was a proud clinical social worker. I loved what I did and was pretty good at it. Now, I did not have that, and a piece of me was and (for now) still is not a part of me. This caused me to feel down on myself.
Another factor that contributed to these feelings was that I had become, once again, a true dependent. I had not been a dependent since I gained full-time employment and lost my parent’s benefits. This was hard for me to take in. After some reflection, I realized this was a societal value that was creating a negative narrative in my thoughts. Society has taught me that I, as a man, should not be the dependent. Whether I wanted to or not, I internalized this lesson and it was showing up in how I saw myself.
After a call with my mentor, she helped me grow my perspective of where I saw my value. She helped me realize that I was making a sacrifice for a new committed value of mine – my relationship. I was taking the time to build a home for my partner to return to, I was building a lifelong partnership, and I was bringing value to myself and my partnership in a way that was “hidden” to my perspective. The value of my actions was always there but was “hidden” due to my mostly masculine and patriarchal lens of values. Luckily for me, I was pushed to grow my perspective with my mentor.
An occasional values check-in can produce a similar perspective growth that may bring out a greater sense of yourself. We can get boxed into one view of ourselves and our worth. If we do not ever step out of that box we will not have opportunities to see how much more value we contribute!
I have created an initial values exploration worksheet that might help start this process for you. Please sign up here to get a free copy!