The Coaching Situation

My issue is about my future - how to plan it, I'm in my late 20's and I'd like to get a college degree, but I have SO much debt it'll take me at least 12 years to pay off. I feel like it's impossible for me to go back to school. I feel so useless in one meaningless dead end job after another. I am a well trained stage actress, I just don't have the self esteem to make it, you have to be pretty, or a certain type, and very confident to make it. I never really gave myself a chance, never got an agent or went on any real auditions, but I just don't think at my age and having some adult skin problems that it's even feasible any more. I just want to do something meaningful with my life - help people.

But you have to have a college degree to be in the Peace Corp, you have to have a healthier medical history to be in the armed forces. I’m on Zoloft for depression and Ritalin for ADD and I still feel miserable about myself and my life. Every time I do try to do volunteer work, something that will pay me to put food in my mouth gets in the way. Right now I'm just barely getting by. I STILL have to borrow money sometimes. And I live from place to place, whoever will take me. I don't own anything besides the clothes on my back and in my pack. I don't have good enough credit to rent. I can never stay in one place long enough to really make any friends - I only have two and they both live far away. I can't afford regular therapy.

I sent a few questions to get more information:

1. Tell me more about how you feel so "useless some days". Well, I don't have a job right now. I just feel like what I have to offer isn't much and I wish I was smarter and better educated so that I could do something really important to help the world be a better place.

2. How do you define your self-worth? By what I do and don't do, how I treat people, feel about God and the universe, what actions I take to feed the hungry - clothe the poor, which right now are NONE!

3. How do you feel other people define your self-worth? I feel judged by my family and others because I don't have a home or a place that's mine, a husband or children and I never made my dreams of becoming an actress a reality, but instead of doing something else it's like I've been in a coma for 3 years since Mom died. Most days I have to drag myself out of bed or I just stay there.

4. How do you feel that your job defines who you are? I feel that since I showed so much promise earlier in my child hood I had high hopes for myself and I'm having problems settling for these retail and waitress and Nanny jobs I've been doing since I graduated.

5. Is it possible that you want to help people because you feel so helpless is your own life? Maybe. I was given every opportunity anyone could ever want and I'm homeless, jobless and searching for the meaning of life. If I didn't have friends and family that cared about me, I could be EASILY living on the street.

6. How would you define a "useful" life? Someone who's kind and generous with their time, in the Peace Corp, a politician who helps the world, or a councilor like you, who helps people find peace and happiness or a sense of well being, people who raise and nurture children and provide for family, people who volunteer and work on campaigns to save the environment or the world, people in the media who inform or help others (like Oprah) or who write books that help someone discover who they are, find love or a connection to the spiritual world. Someone who works in an old folks home, or doctors and nurses.

7. Realistically, what could you do to cut your spending habits, even if it's a few dollars here or there? Do you do these things? I've been cutting back in the past year since I don't make much money (none right now). Food is something I need to be more aware of. I find it difficult to plan ahead and pack a lunch. But even today I found myself staring at a dish cloth I really wanted. And THEN when I left I thought, oh need a treat, maybe I'll get a flurry. Luckily THIS time I didn't, but in the past I would've gone right over and had whatever I pleased. It's like I had no concept of things adding up. I don't think of being an extravagant person, but constantly needed new, new, new.

8. Have you ever felt suicidal or attempted suicide? Today I can't believe I'd even think about it, but just a week ago I did. I thought about how it would be nice to be free of this body, free of decisions and of debt. Then I thought about how we're here to learn things, to do things that matter on a spiritual level. I knew at that moment that my choice would affect my afterlife, that I'd have to start all over again. I DON'T want to come back here once I've left. But what really made me not do it was the idea of my Dad finding me. I was afraid my death would push him over the edge. And that would be a bad karmic debt. The other time I was 19 and my fiancé had just told me that he couldn't marry me. But I didn't, something about the stars above calling out to me to enjoy a little more of what life has to offer and my Mother, we had a really strong bond, I'm an only child and she seemed to live for me .

The Coaching Response

Our definition of ourselves, our lives, and the people around us is established when we're children. We learn all our ideas and judgments from the adults around us when we're young. We're taught not to question those beliefs and if our parents are anything other than positive and loving, then the impact on us as adults can be severe.

Your situation is a culmination of a set of beliefs and negative judgments on yourself that keeps you in circles, rather than on a forward moving line that allows you to grow and reshape your life. Changing your experience requires that you change how you think, many of your beliefs about how the world should be, and how you define yourself.

If you're suicidal, have some phone numbers near you so you can speak to somebody to share your pain. Please look at and bookmark this site: It has phone numbers you can call and speak to somebody for free.

There are local numbers for most states as well as international numbers. In the meantime, make an appointment to see a doctor. You need to be medically checked to make sure there isn’t a physiological reason for the feelings that led you to want to attempt suicide.

When you feel suicidal, your body and mind are telling you they are tired, that things are overwhelming, and the feeling of hopelessness is significantly larger than hope. The body and mind can’t think of any new solutions to old problems, resulting in the body and mind wanting a break from the pain.

Since you can’t find a way out of your current situation, the brain wonders about ending the pain by suicide. You really don’t want to die, you just want to end the pain and suffering you constantly feel. So, what do you do when you’ve lost hope, feel worthless, and have nowhere to turn?

You need to "change your mind", consider new possibilities, and reprogram old ideas. Your definition of what gives a person value in this world needs an update. If you think about how every human being on this planet has value, everybody can't be of value to others in the definition you give. One person doesn't has value while another doesn’t.

This definition gives you justification for believing that YOU don’t have value, which is hurting you. By maintaining this belief, you’ll never be good enough, because you’ll always end up negatively comparing yourself to others. What’s the solution? Drop the beliefs and judgments that hurt you or are no longer useful to you. This belief wasn't created by you, you learned it from somebody else without questioning it.

Do this exercise for at least one day. Every time a belief or judgment comes into your head, ask yourself and write down:

  1. Where did this belief come from?
  2. Does this belief make me feel good or bad about myself?
  3. Does this belief make me feel better or worse about life?
  4. Does this belief make me happy or sad?

If even one answer to questions 2-4 is bad, worse, or sad, it’s time to examine that belief and change it. The way you’ll be satisfied with your life is if your beliefs help you maintain peace of mind. Change negative beliefs into ones that don’t add to your pain. The belief that some people have more value than others is one that hurts you.

The way out is to refuse to believe that some people are more valuable than others. Consider all people equal on a spiritual level. Needing to be “in service to others” is a way for you to avoid your own issues. Think of the analogy of a parent on an airplane with a child. In case of an emergency, when the oxygen masks are lowered, a parent is instructed to put their mask on first before assisting others.

You can’t really help others effectively until you’ve first helped yourself. Wait to volunteer until you've dealt with some of the other more important issues. You’re calling in life may or may not have anything to do with helping others. Open up to different possibilities for your future.

You need to find ways to love yourself again. As a child, before you were taught fear and judgment, you loved yourself and loved life. When you love yourself, you provide the best service to the rest of the world, an example of self-love and nonjudgmental acceptance of others. Make those two things your new way of helping others.

Do some more research on your financial options. Go to the library and find out what your best options are. Then take steps towards the goal you choose. Before you make any decision, be it in finances, education, funding of education, or anything else, do a lot of research on each topic. Don't rely on other people's opinions or frequently limited knowledge. Rely on yourself and your creativity to get the information you need to take some new steps in your life.

Don't rely on other people's opinions or frequently limited knowledge. Rely on yourself and your creativity to get the information you need to take some new steps in your life. By taking these small, simple steps, you will change your life.

recommended books