Have you ever considered what the term limits or expectations of all of your relationships are? Think about it, you have so many varied relationships in your life, but do you treat them all the same? If so, what is that based on?
I heard a great line from someone that I knew through a business relationship that basically sums it all up: “I love you until I don’t”
Well said, as too many of us make the mistake of saying that we will always love someone or that “I am going to work here forever!” These statements may seem innocuous at the time, but they, like all the other words that you say in your head and aloud, have meaning to them. I am not a fan of gross generalizations and other blanket statements, and find myself correcting people (annoyingly so, I’m sure) when they do it as well. “I will always love you” or “its always hot in Phoenix” or “that restaurant is always busy” are perfect examples of these kind of statements that are just not accurate. There are times when your loyalty should be limited, and I’ll share some examples as I go. You SHOULDN’T love someone who frequently hurts you in one way or another. There are no absolutes in life…it is 60 degrees in Phoenix this morning, and *breaking news* restaurants have peak hours and off-peak hours. Being the wordsmith that I am, I am sure this bugs me more than it does many people, but even so I do believe what you say matters.
Let’s unpack the “I will always love you” statement first. I have said this myself, multiple times over the course of my life. I absolutely love my wife with all my heart and soul, but if she changed drastically as a person I am quite certain that my feelings would change accordingly. I love the person she is now, but if she started being a meth addict, I’m out at some point. I am not going to turn and walk away at the first sign of issues in our relationship, but I am going to draw the line somewhere. I am suggesting that you do that same, for your own good. You have to manage the relationships in your life…ALL OF THEM.
You CAN pick and choose who you send time with, INCLUDING your family. I have more than one toxic family member that I do not spend any time with. NONE. I had eaten a bucket of crap a spoonful at a time with a couple of them before drawing a line in the sand and saying “No more”. If you are in a relationship that is no longer healthy or happy, you need to take steps to change that or improve things. If you have given your best effort to fix or resolve things and they are not going to change, get out. Termination the relationship, period. I have done it…it isn’t easy and it will ruffle some feathers, but it will be the best thing for you. At some point you will likely do the same thing I did, which was ask myself “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”
If you are an adult by definition of age, and you have a family member or are in a relationship that is mentally, emotionally or physically abusive, get out. Take every measure possible to leave that situation and don’t look back. There are a lot of screwed up people in this world, but you do not have to be one of them and you certainly do not have to be subjected to someone else’s treatment because of their own issues. If you look closely at the situation you may realize that none of this is your fault, and therefore you are in a role that can be defined as a a recipient. I am not a fan of the word victim unless you are a child or young adult; as an adult you can make changes and remove yourself from a situation. Yes, I realize that is too broad of a statement to be entirely accurate, but in many cases it is true. You have options as an adult that younger people simply do not. Remember that…
Let’s switch over to a work related thought process now. If you are getting taken advantage of, over worked and/or underpaid, get called in at a moment’s notice or whatever, you may need to rethink your employment choice. And let me emphasize the word CHOICE, because it is. Whether you are an attorney that works 90 hours a week or a cashier at Dollar General, you have to manage this relationship as well. If you don’t want to or need to work 90 hours a week, then do something else. Yes, that seems over-simplified, but it is actually that simple. The DECISION is that easy, the process will take a little more work. You’ll need to either save up a bunch of money to pay off Law School or make some major life style adjustments if you are no longer going to bring in lawyer money. It seems many are learning that a Lifestyle is far more important than an Income. What good does it do you to make a lot of money of you don’t get to spend time with the people you love or doing the things you want to do? You DESERVE a life, remember that.
If you are working at a low paying job that makes you miserable, there are LOTS of other jobs out there you could do instead. You can do a lot of other jobs to make similar money, so why would you put up with ridiculous work conditions, hours and/or expectations? You just have to be brave enough to make a change. I don’t recommend quitting your job and then looking for another, I would highly recommend that you make the transition easy for yourself by looking around while you have a job and then leave. Or if needed, go to school online and increase your own market value by getting a degree or certification and upgrade your value to a new employer.
And here is an additional thought on the workplace relationships, do you think the company you work for would shut its’ doors if you left? Or they would replace you immediately if you quit, got sick, moved? You’re crazy if you think the company has a ton of loyalty to you, so why should you have a different mentality towards them? Again, I am not advocating for you to be indifferent to your job and do the bare minimum, but when it comes to you taking a proverbial beating in your job every day, why would you do that to yourself? What does that job provide to you other than a paycheck and healthcare coverage (in some cases)? If their loyalty is limited towards you, why would you not reciprocate?
Circling back to the beginning, making blanket statements impacts your thought processes and how you evaluate the world. I had played racquetball for 15 years before I retired and walked away. I took a few years away from the game and then took a role as Head Coach for the ASU Racquetball team for the next 15 years. In March of 2022, I am leaving this role, despite it being the most personally rewarding thing I have ever done. It is time. I am not defined by my title of Head Coach. I got an immense amount out of this time; relationships that will last a lifetime in some cases, wonderful memories in others. But it is not WHO I am, it is something I did. I feel that this is no longer providing me what it used to, and there are other things I want to explore, so I am moving on. I do not have to stay in this role forever. It will be hard to walk away, but I will do it. My loyalty to that title, but not my players and friends, has ended.
I do not want to tell you how to live your life, but I am suggesting that you need to evaluate your relationships based on factors other than “This is what I do…” You are a human being, one of the most adaptable creatures on the planet. Act like it. Change your mind, your circumstances, your life.