Let’s say you are in one of two relationships. You can say for yourself what kind these are: romantic, familial, or what have you. But let’s also assume that, for other reasons, you can’t easily disentangle the bonding, so that leaving it would have a steep personal cost to you. OK, here we go.
In the first relationship, something feel very strongly is that the other person is committed to you. They show you this in a hundred ways. They cheer you up when your down, they’ll do something that you both know needs doing….without prompting. They “get” you; they know when you need a kick in the butt or a pat on the back, even when you don’t! They see you at your worst and smile benignly. “I love you” need not be spoken; that’s in their glance or their hands. It’s not like they don’t have their own interests different from yours; they get energy from more than you. But their first and second impulses are to want to share what they love with you because they want you to love it like they do! And how happy they become because your happy! You sort of become 3 people; “you”,”them” and “you and them”, it’s own entity.
And how do you deal with each other when things get rough? ‘Shared sacrifice’ is just the start of it, right? You give up things, you work harder, you put yourself in hazardous positions (financially or emotionally, amongst others) because….it’s about that other person first, second, third. If it’s truly hazardous for them (an illness say) and there’s nothing you can do….you suffer far, far more than if it were just yourself. The important thing is that, come fair weather or foul….you will both prevail, and prevail together! Everything in life becomes better….because there is another person to share the joy of life with.
Now let’s move on to the second relationship. You’re constantly “negotiating” things, time, money, friends. That other person learns you like in the first relationship, but here they do what they need to get you to do what they want! A lie that gets them what they want is better than a truth that does not. Bullying, sweet talking, “rational argument” (where what they want is “rational” and what you want is….) all of this is the norm for their behavior. There’s a lot of ‘zero sum’ thinking in this couple, and even if they get along, they’re never really happy. And when things get tough here? The first, second and third things they are looking for are the exit signs. If you ever get your mind clear, how much are you going to commit to them? In bad cases, how many escape fantasies — and worse! — do you get in your head?
Extend this dichotomy out into other major relationships in your life. Your employer, your industry, your government…. Look how often people hate ‘work’, as if that were the natural state of it, and maybe it is! People hate showing up and then their bosses wonder why their productivity is down! And even dealing with this question is viewed negatively; it’s ‘touchy feely’ or ‘New Agey’ to actually respect what people do to make something succeed!
I wouldn’t mind letting my government borrow trillions more if I felt that they really will try to cut costs. But I feel that they want to spend now….and spend later! It’s no wonder they’ve lost the trust of a lot of people.
4 responses to “Two Relationships”
The first would describe the relationship between me and my late husband. The second would describe the one between me and my former employer, with whom I was “stuck” several years beyond my intentions because I needed the benefits and stability for said husband’s illness.
A year after my husband’s death I was considering a professional move and then the economy went kablooey in October 2008. Whereupon my employer stopped all annual cost of living raises, and the cost of living of course went up, and the benefits got smaller and the premiums got larger.
The PTB in my old company talked about sacrifice. “Sacrifice?” I thought. “I’m barely tolerating you guys as it is!”
Fortunately–or unfortunately depending on how you look at it–I was laid off soon after, with a decent separation package. I’ve had no problem committing myself to the projects from which I’m getting satisfaction, even the ones that are getting little or no pay. The next step is to still love something and get paid decently.
Melinda, let me then ask…Leaving the ‘getting paid’ part out for now…..what would you love to do, no holds barred?
Write funny things. Perform funny things. Organize messy things. Make boring things interesting. Make tasty food.
All of these get corrupted somehow when you go to make a living out of them. Or at least they’ve been corrupted when I’ve done so.
To my mind, the ultimate career ideal is to find something that you really love doing, to the point that you would likely do it as a hobby. And then find someone who is willing to pay you big bucks to do it.
The challenge, of course, is to find such a thing. I confess I have no idea how to go about it . . . in spite of having blundered into such a career early on. It wasn’t something that I had thought of. It wasn’t something that I had particularly studied or trained for. “Blundered into” is exactly what happened — and I don’t know how to advise someone on how to get lucky.
Note that I’m talking about a career, not a particular job. (I’ve had jobs where I liked the people I was working with and for, but didn’t much care for the work itself. Something like that is fine if you are in economic circumstances where money coming in is a priority. Or if it’s some kind of start-up, where there is the potential that you will find yourself paid extremely well for a few years of less than delightful effort.) With that kind of career, you have options — if the current company isn’t congenial, there is someone out there willing to hire you away. If you think that doesn’t happen, you were’t in IT in the late 20th century.
But again, I have no idea how to help someone find that perfect fit. I only wish I did.