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What makes you happy – people or accomplishments?

Posted May 10 2011 1:51pm

Does your mood and self-esteem change according to how well you think you did in a job or project?

Then you may be attributing your feelings to the activity you perform and that is a mistake.

The truth is more to do with the nature of the relationship you have with the people you work with.

Distinguishing between the activity and the person you do it with makes all the difference to finding consistent satisfaction.

Discover if you are using your job as a shield from attachment?

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Exhilarated by your accomplishments rather than by connecting with loved ones?

 

 

Is the job making you happy or the people you are doing it with?

The nail studio interior design project was coming to an end. Lindsey felt a pang of regret as she put the finishing touches on the décor and furnishings before the grand opening in two days. Next week Lindsey would be onto her next job working on the front office of a medical clinic. Yet the sadness of the current job ending lingered. It had been fun and exciting working with Emma, her team mate. The thrill of bouncing ideas off each other, trying things out at all hours of the day and night, checking in on each other to make sure each was well fed, rested and cared for had been an experience of a life time.

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Great job, good feelings but what is the true source of them?

 

Lindsey believed the good feeling came from being recognized and validated in her job.

But she was wrong.

Sharing her cravings for rocky road ice-cream and jalapeno pizza, as well as her dirty feet covered in varnish, paint, tape and sandpaper grit made Lindsey feet good. Emma’s enthusiasm for her ideas and interest in her vision was like the sun shining on a rosebud, inviting her to open her petals.  The light in Emma’s eyes and the excitement in her voice when Lindsey talked of her color scheme and lighting ideas made Lindsey feel like she could walk on water! It felt so good for her creative talents to have a genuine admirer.

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Lindsey thought her happiness stemmed from the accolades she received from Emma about her ideas and skills.

But she was wrong.

Lindsey felt good because she had a connection with another human being that made her feel treasured, worthwhile, special and lovable.

But she didn’t want to believe that. Lindsey preferred to think it was her professional persona that was being wanted and approved of. That way she could just go from job to job, get topped up with praise and adulation, but never have to make a commitment to staying attached to another human being.

The same job without the human relationship brought Lindsey down

Working on the medical clinic was a drag. There was tension in the air. No one was available to ‘okay’ her ideas and Lindsey was frustrated and lonely . No one seemed to take a moment to try things out with her, give opinions, or show an interest in what she did or how she did it. She felt like a machine that had to produce a specific set of items without any sense of the effect it had on those who lived in the environment she created.

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Bound and tied to a job without human validation makes the job a nightmare

 

Without warm connections, Lindsey’s job became a prison

She didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning during the time she was on the clinic project. Every aspect of it was drawn out and frustrating.  Lindsey wished she had never agreed to the project. It was just a job, a grind, something to get through. Her heart wasn’t in it. Lindsey’s energy was low; her creative juices came in fits and starts but couldn’t be sustained. She began to feel trapped in a job she hated but had to complete to get the money and preserver her image as someone who honors her contracts.

At the end of the job, Lindsey felt elated, free and able to own her own time again.  She had no pangs of loss or sadness. It was like being let out of prison.

Connections with other people was the fuel for Lindsey’s emotional gas tank

The contrast between the nail studio and medical clinic projects made Lindsey sit up and think about her two very different experiences.  She didn’t want to believe that it was the people contact that mattered. She wanted desperately to believe it was the actual physical job and being respected for her ideas.

Lindsey was shocked to discover that what really gave her energy, momentum and confidence was the connection with Emma and others. The job was just a vehicle through which Lindsey allowed it through. It was the gas pump on which she chose her octane rating, pulled the trigger and filled up. Lindsey confused the pump with the energy that came from the fuel.

The fuel borne of shared feelings.

The fuel stemming from not hiding, not censoring thoughts, feelings and desires without fear of repercussions.

The fuel derived from taking in the fact that another person’s interest and focus is deserved and unconditional.

 

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It's the personal connection that makes the job feel good!

 

It was hard for Lindsey to accept that she like all human beings was addicted to being wanted, loved and cared for.

It took her a while to give herself permission not to hide behind a job or an activity.

She practiced letting love in ‘neat’ and pure rather than through her performance in a job.

It got easier.

Lindsey became less afraid of attachments.

She didn’t need a job or activities to legitimize the love and care she received.

Lindsey become more comfortable being loved for herself and now she can enjoy jobs for being jobs rather than be disappointed when it didn’t provide the love and care she craved.

 

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond,Ph.D.

 

Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the article or implementing the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond.

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