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Managing Your Thoughts

The Inner Voices

If you have been unemployed longer than you expected, there is a good chance that situational depression has set in. This can take the form of lethargy (e.g., lack of interest or motivation), sadness and low self-esteem. These feelings are the body’s reaction to how you think about your situation.

This internal voice might sound something like this:

  • “If only you worked harder at finding a job, you would be employed.”
  • “The reason you are unemployed is because you are not as qualified as the other people applying.”
  • “You don’t deserve to be employed because you just aren’t good enough.”
  • “You’ll never get back to work.”

You might hear advice like:

  • “Just try and remain positive.”
  • “Distract yourself with exercise.”
  • “Make a daily routine for yourself and stick with it.”

This advice might work in the short term but in the long run your attempts to resist and ignore “the voice” can sometimes make it even worse. The way to overcome the voice is to literally separate yourself from it. Treat the voice as a foreign entity or a parasite that feeds and grows strong on the negative energy generated by resisting it.

Where it comes from:
You will gain a degree of liberation by realizing that this voice is in actuality a foreign entity as opposed to some part of you. Think of it as the accumulation of negativity and criticism you have received and internalized over your life. This was a natural response because the criticism was presented as helpful advice. It may have caused you to feel ashamed and probably sounded something like:

  • “What you want to do or what you are trying to do is wrong. Here’s what you should be doing.”
  • “If only you listened to me, then you would be successful.”
  • “I’m trying to help you. Why can’t you appreciate that?”

Insane Logic:
You may feel that ignoring this voice would be irresponsible or disloyal. Therefore, according to the insane logic of the voice, by being depressed about your unemployment you are actually being responsible.

The exact opposite is the truth. The voice is not being helpful and is actually undermining your efforts to be successful. How can you put forth your best effort living with this kind of negativity?

Depression and negativity born from shame makes you want to isolate; and isolation will prolong and harm your job search.

The Truth:
In reality, listening to this voice is being irresponsible and disloyal to yourself. This understanding is crucial, if you are going to embrace the reality that this voice is what is keeping you from being employed. It is not you and it is a foreign entity—not a part of your true self.

As you read this article, do you notice the voice telling you things like:

  • “This is a load of new aged nonsense.”
  • “You are a fool to believe this.”
  • “Intelligent people don’t believe this kind of bunk.”
  • “By believing this you are not taking responsibility for your own failures. You are making excuses and passing the blame that you deserve!”

The voice will always try to outflank your reasoning and its goal is to establish a negative emotion – to pull you back into depression. Its goal is to make you depressed because your depression is what feeds the voice.

What to do:

  • Become aware of the voice.
  • Deny this voice its sustenance.
  • Recognizing the voice for what it is – a foreign, parasitic entity.
  • Remember that the voice is not you.
  • When it speaks, say something like, “I see what you are trying to do.” This will begin to break the chain of negative thinking that leads to negative feelings (which leads to even more negative thinking etc.).
  • Break the chain of conversation; starving the voice weakens it.

Once it is weak enough the negativity and depression will lift and you will no longer feel the need to isolate. Then you can put forth your best effort without fighting all the negativity.

  • Interviewing for Introverts
  • Job Search Distractions
  • Managing Fear During your Job Search
  • Underemployment: Is it an Option?

Are you getting interviews from your job postings? If not The Forward Motion Differentiation Workshop can change that.

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