I’m not sure if I am the only one who does this. Sometimes, more often than I’d like to admit, I feel bad for myself. And immediately… and I’m talking seconds after these feelings creep in… I feel an insurmountable level of guilt about ever having had these feelings in the first place.
Then, I have an internal dialogue with myself where I tell myself that I do not deserve to feel badly for myself. I tell myself that my life is amazing. My children, my husband, my parents, and those that I love the most in this world are healthy and safe. I am healthy and safe. We don’t worry about where our next meal is coming from. We have a nice home. I really do not deserve, even for a second, to feel badly for myself. There is nothing to feel bad about so suck it up and stop it…. RIGHT NOW!
This little pep talk that I have with myself, more often than not, gets me out of the momentary funk that I am in, and I table those feelings of self-pity typically for the remainder of the day. But eventually these feelings return and I go through the above process again and again. What I’ve realized recently is that we all have feelings for a reason and I am becoming a believer that the healthiest way to live is to not downplay your feelings but rather to embrace them.
Now, when I feel bad for myself instead of trying to deny the way that I’m feeling, I cry – if I need to. I do. Typically, I cry in the car on the way to work or on the way home. The shower works too but my showers these days last a total of 3 minutes with my twins yelling MAMA! MAMA! at the door so … yeah… I cry when I’m alone in the car.
And during my Tear-A-Palooza, I tell myself that it’s okay to feel what I am feeling. Instead of deflecting my feelings and feeling guilty, I take ownership of my feelings and embrace them. Feeling bad for yourself does not make you a bad person. It also does not undo the fact that the majority of the time you feel blessed, happy, and grateful for all that you have.
I know that I am blessed. That is a fact. And probably a good 80% of the time I am beyond grateful for the many blessings that I have in my life. So the rest of the time I allow myself to feel a little negative – annoyed, tired, sad… you name it. Because you know what? I rock. I totally do! I, like so many women, handle a whole lot of crap day in and day out and I do it with a smile.
I help to support my family financially; I run my house; I provide support and love to those around me, etc. Every single day my kids are appropriately dressed, well fed, safe, happy, are learning, growing and laughing. Go me! Every day, I go to work and I get things accomplished. I make a positive difference in my company and in the lives of my coworkers. Um… go me again! My kids ate on clean dishes today because I cooked something and ran and emptied the dishwasher. My kids are playing on a clean floor today. Did a fairy come to my house and clean it? No. Me again! I cleaned it. My kids are wearing clean clothes because I washed and dried several loads of laundry this week even though I didn’t want to.
So if I feel bad for myself for 15 minutes because at the end of the day I am exhausted, don’t have even a moment to myself, feel a little unappreciated, and cannot figure out how I am going to find the strength to do it all again tomorrow, then I am completely 100% entitled to feel exactly that way! And you are too!
So embrace the bad feelings among all the good ones that you feel everyday. Feeling bad does not undo the good. Allowing yourself the ability to see your feelings through is healthy. I am not a doctor but I am willing to bet that validating your sad feelings probably wards off depression. So my advice is: frown for a little bit in order to be better able to show off that beautiful smile of yours for the long-run!
I have always felt that job searching and dating are very similar. You put yourself out there on the open market and approach companies that interest you. If you look good enough, the company will arrange a first date called an interview. You make sure that you look your best, and even rehearse some of the things that you are going to say beforehand.
On the day of the interview, you wonder how early you should arrive. You want to look interested, but not appear desperate. You are a little nervous walking in. You ask to see the hiring manager, who comes out, offers you a drink, and leads you to his office. You sit down and he looks at you and starts off by saying:
“So, tell me a little bit about yourself” and concludes with, “We will be seeing other people over the next week or so and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can after that.” In other words, right now we still want to see other people but we’ll let you know when we want to be exclusive.
As you wait to hear back, you wonder when you should follow up. You can’t call too early but you can’t wait too long either. The days pass as you sit by the phone. Maybe you can just send a casual email… like… “Hey… Monday was really fun. Just wondering if you had any additional questions for me and where you might be in the decision making process.” Just remember to be cool.
And like any relationship, your JOBromance doesn’t end when you are hired, it merely evolves. At the beginning, your boss and fellow colleagues are just psyched to have you around.
Anything and everything you do is totally amazing and wholeheartedly appreciated. This is probably due to the fact that your job had been vacant for a while before you were hired and stuff just wasn’t getting done or because the person who held the job before you was partially disgruntled and was only doing the bare minimum.
Also, at the beginning you are in the learning stages of the position, so you are blameless for almost anything that you may do wrong. If you make a mistake, your colleagues will say “oh that’s okay” and look at each other and exclaim “she’s new” while giving each other sympathetic nods.
Time passes and that honeymoon period is just a distant memory. Now you can’t get by on just your good looks anymore. You better be churning out some quality work by now because colleague and supervisor expectations are at an all time high. People are getting demanding and aren’t praising you or thanking you like they used to.
They are officially taking you and your relationship for granted. The nice compensation package that you received at the beginning was your last “gift”of appreciation. You even had a meeting yesterday where the CEO announced they are having a bad year and you might not get that merit increase or bonus you had been hoping for.
Months and even years go by and you don’t remember the last time a co-worker actually thanked you for doing something or the last time that your boss recognized you for your hard work. Most days you and your colleagues don’t even speak. You just communicate with loud grunts, eye rolls, and sighs. So there you are, at your desk, getting no respect, no raise, and no appreciation. You begin to question if you should turn to someone else to find these things. Right then and there you decide that enough is enough. You are better than this. You need to find something new. You start your search, again putting yourself out there on the open market, and eventually you receive and accept another offer.
After accepting that new offer, you march confidently into work, look your boss straight in the eye and say “This just isn’t working out. It really hasn’t been for a long time now. We both know that. So, I think it’s best if we part ways. I won’t just up and leave you flat, though. We have too much history. I’ll move out over the next two weeks and tie up any loose ends. Don’t feel too bad, though. I know you’ll find someone else very soon. It’s not you… it’s me.”
Never lose site of the fact that people are people and this does not change in a workplace setting. A relationship from a romance, to a friendship, to a casual or work-acquaintance, is similar at its core. People in relationships just want to be respected and appreciated at the end of the day.
The best relationships maintain the perfect balance of give and take between both parties. It’s imperative for employees to appreciate the opportunities that are afforded to them and not take them for granted. But at the same time, it is also equally important for firms to not lose sight of the fact that employees are company assets that need to be protected and appreciated because if they are not, someday they will walk out of your life… forever.