My mom was known for her phrases, well at least by me she was. “Two wrongs don’t make a right” is one of her all-time favorites, she still uses that on the grandsons. So much so that when Jake and I are talking and the urge comes up to say this to him, I tell him, “Don’t make me pull a g-ma and say it”. He knows exactly what I am talking about.
Her favorite one for me over the past 20 plus years has been “Be sweet”. To which I normally reply that I am always sweet, it is just in degrees. As I get older I find that she is having to say that less and less to me. I realized this the other day and started to wonder if I am getting more mellow in my age, growing as a person or just accepting things more easily. I decided the answer was yes.
I try to add perspective to my day. What I mean by this is I try to evaluate winning a battle versus winning a war. I think this comes from age and understanding that sometimes “winning” is letting go and in doing so we have the freedom to win a piece of ourselves back rather than relinquish it to someone else by engaging in a battle. If I do not agree with someone I no longer feel the need to prove my point when I know it is fruitless, I just let it go. Are you fighting just to fight? If so – knock it off for crying out loud!
I forgive much easier than I ever have and I think that comes from growth. Having stood by my ex-husband, and sometimes serving as his crutch, though an excruciating battle with cancer and the decade long journey of recovery and residual effects gave me a profound appreciation for life, family and friendship. You see he and I had the typical divorce – mean and nasty. But the day he was diagnosed with cancer I was the first person he called and the first one at the hospital. We developed a friendship that never existed in the decade preceding that date. To this day he is still one of my best friends.
Acceptance has come of myself as well as others. I try to see people for who they are and not who I want them to be and do the same for myself. I think I am the only one in the family that has forgiven my ex-fiancé. I was to be married in a few weeks but that was derailed when I discovered he was having an affair. Surprisingly the two people who helped me forgive him are two of the people who probably never will – my ex-husband and my best friend Jackie.
Both, in their own unique way reminded me that this was who he is as a person, he had done this when we were engaged at the young age of 18 when he had an affair and got a married woman pregnant. Both were gentle and kind to me, to a point, and made me realize that in some people are so miserable with the man in the mirror that they cannot help but permeate the unhappiness to others by destroying the good in order to give themselves permission to continue with their patterns. My forgiveness is more a matter of accepting him for who he is rather than who I wanted him to be and not a matter of it is okay that he had attempted to destroy yet another family. Yes, Mom, I am trying to be sweet.
This is a very personal journey that I share but there is a point. For my clients in transition and those that attend my workshops I always compare job searching and employment with relationships and marriage. They are very similar. So often I work with people who are still so very bitter about the ending of their work relationship. They are hurt, betrayed and angry. Oh, trust me, I get that.
But the best thing to do is to move forward and forgive yourself and that partner. Holding on to that last job will not help you move forward into the next one and to move forward you must forgive. The war is over, like it or not, and it is time to get yourself whole. Even if this company took what you think were the best 20 years of your life, it is time. And who said they were your best years?
My best year is this year through the midst of chaos, pain, uncertainty and family crises. Because all of the things that are given to us, good or bad, are really growth opportunities in disguise. Opportunities to accept, grow and learn the lessons that we have been given. When you look back at that last work relationship try looking at it for the things that you have learned and the positives that you want to find moving forward and the intelligence to recognized the things that you will not accept in the next one.
Look at it honestly in that how did you change as a person. Did you lose your enthusiasm and love for what you did, if so, why? If you did not then how proud of yourself can you be that in the midst of an ending you still had passion for what you did. The ending is an opportunity to discover something new, perhaps a new career, perhaps a chance to go back to school, or perhaps just a much needed break. Sometimes you just need a break to realize you have been running so long so hard but in the midst of all that running you went off course and did not even know it. This could be your blessing. It was for me and I am proud to say that it has been quite some time since my mom has had to tell me to be sweet.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Polish, Inc.