Recently I read an article in Elephant Journal about why our relationships fail. Its advice wasn’t just, “Talk more” or “do things together.” This article particularly wanted us to understand how we abandon ourselves in relationships.

It talked about four different reasons why we fail ourselves in relationships.

When we are in dysfunctional relationships, we seem to make odd choices.

Self destructive choices.

Choices to abandon ourselves. How do we abandon ourselves?

Well, somewhere down the line, we decided that to be in a relationship, it meant we had to think of the other person’s wants and needs first, before asking ourselves what we want and need.

This article talks about Abandoning our physical selves. Abandoning our emotional selves. Abandoning our relational selves. Abandoning our mental/spiritual selves. Abandoning our financial selves.

We’ve all seen relationships where one partner financially depends on the other, with some messed up dynamics coming into play. We’ve seen relationships when we abandon our emotional selves, and stay in a relationship that is no longer serving either person. We’ve seen relationships where people wear themselves out to do so much for the other, abandoning their physical self. Or people who abandon their previous interests or spirituality for the sake of a relationship. Or in a relationship, the person might just not speak up about what they really want or how they really feel.

I got to thinking, could these four ways be true for us in work relationships as well?

Job self abandonment

We are programmed from early in life to seek approval from those around us. So when we get into a work environment, we want to do well, and we start to let our own needs and wants take a backseat. We might stay late every night for the first three months. We might forget to call our relatives. We might bounce out to get some takeout at 5pm and get right back to work til 9pm.

Does your dysfunctional workplace actively encourage you to abandon yourself?

According to FastCompany, the high paying jobs of the future will eat your life.

Hey, even nonprofit low paying jobs can eat your life! How can a job eat your life? What does it make you do? Or what do you do to yourself?

Abandoning our financial selves.

Have you ever had a job where they told you to give up any other way you were making money, if you were going to work there? Sign a non-compete agreement or something else that would prevent you from making money while you worked there? If you had a side consulting gig, and the nonprofit said nope, you have to quit that now, have you done it to get the job? If so, hey, that’s abandoning your financial self.

You shouldn’t have to be dependent on one job to make money. When they require you to forgo any other ways to get money, they make you financially dependent on them.  That is dysfunctional. And conveniently, if you are working more than 40 hours a week, it’s unlikely you’ll have the energy to go do a side gig anyway.

In an at-will work environment, you are beholden to their every whim. They don’t have to have any reason to fire you. So do you owe them any loyalty? Nope.

It would be nice if you could trust the people you work for.  But if you are in that environment, you need to keep making money any way you can, because they won’t hesitate to drop you on a whim. Believe me, I know.

On that note, imagine if you could make a real living wage at your nonprofit job. I still know nonprofit folks who are working for under $15 an hour. What does $15 mean?

Tomorrow we’ll look at other ways you might abandon yourself in your job.

We’ll look at what a world might look like if you didn’t abandon yourself.

Click here to go to part 2 of this post.

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