Have you ever looked at your life and thought, I got everything I said I wanted and it’s still not enough? Did you feel like a jerk for thinking that?
Like what is wrong with me?
How can I be so selfish?
Why can’t I ever be happy?
What are you doing to fix this problem? Drinking? Shopping? Complaining? Medicating? Hoarding? Cheating?
Is it affecting your confidence? Your marriage? Are your kids and co-workers avoiding you? Or worse, have you shoved it so far down, when people ask how you are, all you can say is “busy!”
If this feels like you, I promise you’re not alone. This is an epidemic in middle to upper-class American culture. Here’s what I think is happening.
We’re trapped between levels 3 & 4 on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Level One - Food, shelter, clean water and rest are basically such givens, many Americans forget to even be grateful for them.
Level Two - Security and safety problems are often theoretical since many of us (not all) can carry out our days without interruption.
Level Three - We have people in our lives who love us; a network, even if small, of trusted loved ones, colleagues and companions.
Level Four is the problem - Esteem.
Respect, recognition and a feeling of accomplishment are proven psychological needs for humans. However, a lot of people - women in particular - can’t climb up to this level because of historical trauma, physical or sexual abuse, limiting beliefs, negative self-talk, etc.
Loathe to be stuck looking up at something unattainable, many women choose to focus back down the pyramid - piling on more safety, more security, more hair products, clothes, shoes, food, kitchen gadgets, pens with rhinestones and feathers - oooh there it is in pink, I don’t have that one.
And later, feeling disappointed, almost trapped by their “abundance,” they wonder why it all feels so empty and lame.
We’re trying to buy esteem and it can’t be bought - It can only Be won.
It takes hard work and support to deal with old baggage and realize your full potential. That’s why people don’t do it, opting instead for a new Escalade or the latest security system on their gated community home. At least it looks good on the outside.
But here’s why we must climb.
If you enjoy the first three levels on Maslow’s hierarchy, every day, almost without thinking, who is better equipped than you to help someone who doesn’t even have level one?
Whether across the world or across the street, those people are everywhere, and you - middle to upper class American women - are in a position to send your elevator back down and help them come up, but you have to do your work first.
The good news is that’s where your joy and esteem is found.
When you start doing the real work God built you for, with all the courage and grit that takes, you get happier and more fulfilled, because it’s not even about you anymore. It’s about taking the seed God gave you and sowing it into some broken earth, so your garden makes earth look more like heaven.
That’s our job here, and that’s how our faith grows. It’s where altruism, community and fun live.
I promise you will not find this at Bed Bath and Beyond. Your esteem and self-actualization are found when you do your real work and then courageously pull other people up to your level.
If you agree with me and are ready to do your work, but have no idea how, book a free call and we can talk strategy for getting you climbing again.
**My calendar fills up pretty fast these days, so hop over and grab your spot. If you can’t find a time that works, come back tomorrow, new slots open every day.