ran away from a challenge - how to forgive myself?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-18-2008
ran away from a challenge - how to forgive myself?
Sun, 06-16-2013 - 2:44pm

Hi, recently my new big boss offered me the leadership of something I've been doing forever. I've been going through a bad phase at work where I lost confidence and I told him I need stability and support because I'm feeling stuck. I also told him what I was really interested in (not the subject I was handling all these years) and he heard me out but I think maybe I made an idiot of myself with him. I also expressed a preference to work in another section for the stability reason, not because I enjoy the work.

Well, if that wasn't bad enough, one of my old bosses with whom I've worked forever is coming back to head the section I asked for and I've been really bummed since I heard that - he's good but he uses me and it's no good for my self-esteem that I cannot say no to him. 

How do I forgive myself this tactical error and live with myself? In reality, I am not confident of my abilities for the leadership position, but the fact that I owned up to it, and the fact that I am choosing something for stability's sake, and not ability - and will probably get stuck again with my old boss - all this is making me feel bad. I don't want to go back to the big boss and ask him to change things around because I really don't know what I want except stability.

If you can all send me some good vibes that my life will improve, please do. Also please tell me how to respect/forgive myself. 


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2002
Mon, 06-17-2013 - 8:33am
Hi there. YOU stood up for yourself and what you needed. Congratulations. It is much easier to go with the flow, but you used your words and said what you needed and what you wanted. People respect that in the long run even if they don't appear to in the short run. You asked for stability for a reason - trust that. You don't always get what you want, but what you need, and maybe you need another go around with your boss to improve your confidence because you won't let him do the same thing to you this time as last. Chin up, brush yourself off and move forward. (I speak from experience - I am having to do the same right now due to a work situation that makes me sad every day right now!) This will not be forever and there will be other opportunities. You were not meant to take the leadership position right now - trust in that. Warm thoughts your way. :)
Avatar for lizmvr
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2001
Mon, 06-17-2013 - 9:58am

Did you learn anything about yourself, how you might handle things better going forward to get what you want? If you're able to look back at the situation and make some analysis that will lead you to do things in a way that benefits you going forward, you've accomplished something. Sometimes situations that don't feel so great while they're happening are experiences that teach us new skills, and if you can say that you've now learned how to communicate more effectively, that you know better what you want out of life including your job, or some other insight, you've gained from the situation. You should be able to take what you've learned to better handle situations, like working for a former boss, better as you go forward in your career.

What happened, happened. Please don't see it as a failure, but more as another experience from which you can learn, good and bad. Take that and don't focus on beating yourself up, but rather practice the new better way you have learned how to act and react.

Lots of things are more about how you perceive them than they are about being objectively beneficial or detrimental to your position.

Good luck!


Clinical Research Associate


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-18-2008
Fri, 06-21-2013 - 3:31pm

Hi Ldp and Liz,

Thanks for your encouraging replies. I am still skulking around the office trying not to meet my big boss' eye as I still feel awkward.

I am not as fraught as I was when I wrote the message but I don't like the situation all the same - I hate confrontation and don't know how to do it without being unpleasant. (I imagine it would be unpleasant.) But I do need to tell my old boss that he can't take me for granted again - if that situation crops up - staying later than the others, etc. I don't know what to say if he says you're senior and you have to stay back, but he's good at escaping after delegating work. I'm just worried old patterns will repeat themselves and I won't/can't put a stop to them.

I'm also worried I can never learn 'no' skills or 'negotiating' skills.

Anyhow, thanks for taking the time to answer me. Whoever's reading this, please throw your wishes out into the universe for me so that I'm calm and collected in my job and that it's not as bad as I thought it would be.