Have you ever been in a relationship where you’ve thought ‘this isn’t right for me’ but you’ve continued nonetheless?
There are many reasons we do this. And there are many types of relationships that we do this with. When I talk of relationships you probably automatically think of a love interest. But you can apply the reasoning to a job as well.
I found that I was in a relationship with a job that I no longer loved. And like a duplicitous lover, I was having an affair. An affair with writing. My true love and the only thing to scratch the constant itch in my brain. And yet I stayed in my 20-year relationship with my career. I continued the masquerade that we were happy together, and I would spend day after day in its arms. Until it became too much and the secret was out.
“I’m a writer,” I shouted. The room stared back in surprise.
I stood and announced, “I’m leaving you.”
But why do we take so long to make the decision?
Here are five reasons that keep us in unhealthy relationships.
THE FIRST SPARK
You’re frantically trying to find that first spark, the one you lost at a point in time you can’t define. It was there before and there was no relationship defining incident that would change your opinion of this person. No one act. No affair, no abuse, and no arguments. Just one day it fizzled. It just stopped working for you. But you can’t admit that you’re so fickle that you would just get… ‘bored’.
Guess what, you’re not fickle (well some of you might be but most aren’t). It’s just that you’ve learnt a little more about this person every day, until a tipping point that rationalises in your head that they just aren’t ‘the one’. This relationship doesn’t challenge your mind anymore.
And when the relationship with a job stops challenging, then time can start to feel as though it stops for eight hours a day.
YOUR LOVE HAS CONVINCED YOU THAT YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT THEM
This one usually takes time. There are personalities that go well together and there are personalities that should not be left in a room alone together. In some relationships, a clear Alpha is established, and over time they can chip away at the other person. That other person may or may not have had any submissive personality traits. Ultimately the issue isn’t with them, it’s about the Alpha’s desire to control their environment.
Quite often it’s about the Alpha’s own insecurities. A fear of losing control, a fear of being alone, and a fear of not being good enough. They will do everything in their power to convince you (and themselves) that you can’t live without them. That can sometimes materialise as emotional and/or physical abuse.
Unfortunately, there are many of these personality types in leadership roles, and it can have a detrimental effect on the rest of the teams confidence. It can convince them that no-one else would employ them.
YOU BELIEVE YOU’RE NOT WORTHY OF LOVE
The most important person you should show love to (aside from your children) is yourself. Give yourself a break. So you’re not perfect. Guess what, none of us are, but everyone still deserves and is worthy of love. If you show yourself the same love that you would show a partner, then not having a partner is no longer a point of sadness for you. You are all the company you need until the right person comes along. Don’t stay in a relationship because you’re ‘grateful’ that someone loves you.
We understandably allow our experiences to define how we approach love. But if we set aside those experiences and try to approach each new relationship with an open heart, the outcomes in those relationships will begin to change.
But, and this is exceptionally important, don’t love blindly.
If someone does not treat you with respect and kindness, you should walk away.
In the same way, you must know your worth in a job. If you work hard and devote time to learning beyond the boundaries of the role you have, you do not need to be grateful that someone has given you a job. Instead, you can carve your own path. If an employer doesn’t appreciate what you can bring to the workplace then start to plan what you need to do, to move on. Maybe you need to do a night class, or attend networking events, or just simply start job hunting.
Maybe, like me, you need to rethink your career path altogether.
It’s just easier to tick along than to take control of your life and your relationships. Sometimes, for so many complex reasons we lose interest in ourselves. We no longer make the effort in our appearance or the way we treat ourselves.
How you treat yourself shows the world how they should treat you. Stand up tall, brush yourself down and face the world with energy and the world will have to mirror that energy back at you. People will want to be around you, and you can begin to assess how your life with your partner fits into that new energy.
Most importantly, never stop learning. A lazy mind starts to stagnate. Make the effort to learn new things and this will open up a new world of relationships to you. New friendships, new job opportunities and new career paths.
Some people will marry for security, both financial and emotional. Others will become so tied to their partner financially, they feel as though the effort to decouple those finances is too great. In both situations, the answer is the same, start establishing your financial independence in small ways. Make plans to pay off debts, set up your own accounts, begin saving even if the amount seems ridiculously small, in 12 month’s time you will be better off than if you hadn’t started.
As time moves forward you will develop more financial and emotional confidence, and have a feeling of more freedom. That will either improve your relationship or be the catalyst that shows you it is a relationship you no longer need or crave.
A stronger financial independence can also make you less dependent on a job you may not be happy in. With less debt and/or more savings or investments, a career change can seem less risky too.
YOUR LOVE, YOUR JOB, YOUR WRITING
Once you start taking control of your heart and your head, the path to happiness and contentment will start to look less confusing. Once you’ve taken control of yourself and your finances you will start realising your own value.
We are all comprised of the same raw materials that make up the sun. The energy that flows through you is the same energy that heats stars.
No matter where you are up to in your journey through life, you can change direction.
Change your future.