I like to wake up early each day so I can get the most out of my mornings. This morning I woke up at 5:50am with the sole purpose of strengthening my inner world. I’d planned to spend the morning journaling, deep breathing, stretching my body and refocusing my mind for the week.
Instead I found myself lying in bed tossing up between getting up to journal or getting started on my work emails. There were a lot of emails on Friday afternoon and I did think I should try to get to them all before 9am Monday…
Here I was, looking to fall back into my same old trap. I’d literally spent the weekend researching and planning how I need to spend more time on my heart, my inner world, and spend less time building my life around my job and at the first hurdle I was falling…
And then I had a moment of psychological whiplash.
I’ve been in unhealthy relationships with people before, where you’re trying to feed a bottomless pit and their need for you is suffocating. Where you give and give and give but it’s never enough. Where you are watching them feast while you starve.
Now it’s happening again only this time I’m in a toxic relationship with my work.
There are boundaries, but I keep ignoring them, because I believe that I have to rescue my job.
I have to run to it and ensure it’s all ok, everything is taken care of, everything is working and happy and smooth. Ensure everyone is satisfied without complaint.
Even though the rescue effort will cost my my mental health, even through the anxiety will nearly kill me, I’ll do everything I can to make sure work doesn’t suffer.
The reality is that there are a lot of deadlines in my role and somethings can’t wait until tomorrow, so it’s my responsibility to get them done within my work hours, but overall so many of my deadlines are self-imposed. They’re not between myself and my boss or clients, they’re between me and my work.
So how do you heal a toxic relationship? The brutal way, by starving it.
It’s heartbreaking, but you have to learn to ignore the cries for attention, you have to stop feeding the bottomless pit, you have to turn your back even when you feel like they need you the most.
You have to let unanswered emails sit there, even though they will only take a second to respond to.
You have to make peace with the fact people may need to wait a little longer to hear from you.
You have to renegotiate people’s expectations.
You have to turn it all off and believe that the world will keep turning even while you’re not working.
It’s a hard road but, I’m hoping with all my heart, it’s my road to freedom.
[Art by Hisashi Okawa]