Q. I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts on how folks who are not able to work for pay, can keep a good sense of self esteem and health. Our culture tends to push the idea that employed = good and unemployed = bad. In the face of this, folks like me on SSI, disabled, surviving and thriving, sometimes have a tough time carving out our own way. I am disabled with Fibromyalgia and PTSD, not employed, on SSI. I’m in good therapy when needed and I have good coping skills. I am also entering Midlife. I know I am valuable, good enough, even if I am not able to -do- much at times. I lose sight of this fact sometimes.
A. Life is about growing as a human being. Read Abraham Maslow and his idea of self actualization as the only human growth process. It is important to grow as a human being and to realize your latent potentials. If you are unemployed, that does not mean you can’t study things that interest you or pursue things that are of value to you. The ultimate measure of your life will be how much you achieve in self actualization i.e. becoming who you were meant to be. I do not know to what extent your disabilities limit you. You could be the most skilled guitar player in your town or the county expert in wild life or a phone volunteer for a local community agency. What you should do depends on what is right for you and what is right for you is what is of value to you. Try a number of things until you have found the right one(s). As long as you find something that you feel is valuable to you, you will be on the right path.