Everyone I know wants the best for those they love. I have said – and heard others say – many times, “Do what you want to me, but don’t you DARE mess with my child (parent, sibling, friend)!” Literally every person who loves another wants that other to be happy…even if that happiness comes at their own expense.
And that’s the problem. Many of us are so willing to sacrifice our needs in order to empower others, that we forget – or forego – the importance of our own power. Let me explain:
I have a friend who started a new job recently. It wasn’t really new to her, she had done it years ago, so everyone (including her, I think) assumed that she would get back into it pretty quickly. As things do, however, over the years, some processes changed. There were new rules to learn, new actions on the computer, etc. She shared her frustration with me, and eventually said “I’ve cried when I got home from work for he past two nights. I think tonight, I’ll just have a nervous breakdown.” My response (because she’s amazing and I want the best for her) was “Of all the things you have to stress about, don’t let your JOB be one. You’ll get it, and you’ll be great at it!” And I meant it. And she will be. In fact, she already is. But like most of us, she doesn’t give herself enough credit. And that’s when it hit me.
Four years ago, I took a job with a decent pay raise, and the ability to make a positive difference for people every single day. The increased salary brought increased responsibility, but I was so ready! After a couple of years, I found that the position wasn’t all that I had hoped, and chose to take a less stressful position with the same agency (which decreased my pay a little, but it was so worth it!).
After about a year in that position, changes came and I felt overwhelmed. I let myself worry about it, and even started looking for other positions. Then I realized that I was happy where I was, regardless of the changes and “issues” that came up. I started to relax again. And then my friend told me her story.
The observation I made about her was genuine. I don’t hand out compliments just to be nice. I WILL, however, remind you of your strengths when you forget. I will always speak kindly, and build you up and cheer you on. It’s what I do. More than that, it’s who I am. Why? Because everyone is important and necessary.
As I heard myself offer words of encouragement to my friend, I – perhaps for the first time – HEARD the words come back to me. Don’t stress about your job, we work to live, we don’t live to work! Of all of the things there are to stress about, THIS job should not be one. Give yourself some of that love and encouragement you so freely share with others!
The cool thing about love is that giving it away doesn’t decrease it. You can truly love with your whole heart, and never run out. Patience is the same. You can have patience with your children *and* yourself. You can be understanding of others and lenient with your own shortcomings as well. Why do we think that “you can do whatever you want to me…” is okay, if it’s not okay to do to someone we love?
No person is “less” than another. No person is “better” than another, we just make different choices. I, for example, choose to be a cheerleader. I know people who choose to be instigators. Their outlook on life is very different than mine, but that doesn’t make one of us better than the other, it just makes us different. I may, for my own peace, have to love those people from a distance…but I still love them.
The moral of the story is: If it’s not okay for someone to steal from my friend (or family, or loved one), then it’s not okay for them to steal from me. If I’m not okay with hearing you talk garbage about people who I love, I’m not okay with hearing you talk that way about me. If you want to start an argument with someone, stand in front of the mirror, because I will not argue with you. I’m going to give myself the credit I deserve. WE ALL DESERVE THE THINGS WE WISH FOR THOSE WE LOVE.
So, from now on, I’m going to start taking my own advice.