Stress is a Muthaf’er

I am currently having a major internal conflict and stress surrounding my job. Most days I want to just leave, give my boss the middle finger and just walk out…Literally, I’ve contemplated just saying “fuck it” however I am not that ballsy. Also, when you’re an adult with bills, fuck it, is not exactly a choice for me right now; but there are choices and other avenues available to those like myself struggling with stress that likes to latch on to us everyday at work.

What I can do….

I can, work on how I respond to my work related stress. I can stay mindful; recognizing when I do bring it home that I don’t let it come out in hurtful ways that don’t benefit my life in the long run.

You see, I was in a relationship once, where my live-in boyfriend, at the time, let his work stress eat at him. It never seemed to matter how supportive or caring I was. Work became his sole focus (or so it seemed). The stress that his job put on him, coupled with his blinding determination to succeed (and trust me when I say that his determination to succeed was something I admired and loved about him), but when those two things were put together, in my personal opinion, his house of cards was already halfway built. Ultimately, that stress went unchecked and his way of dealing with it, (although it was not up to me to slap a “good” or “bad” label on his behavioral outcome), well let’s just say the pairing of those two things were not benefiting his life in any way. It became a struggle for me just to be in a relationship with him because it felt like I caught the negative end of all that built up stress he brought home from work. Not to mention, I had my own stuff/stress going on too. My stress, may have not been like his but I did have areas in my life I needed to be able to focus on too. Now when looking back, I know I did not always respond to his bad moods/stress that were caused by work. I did however know in my heart that I was not deserving of the ways he chose to deal with his stress; For example, blaming me for being the reason he was stressed or putting me down in ways that ultimately made me feel like nothing I did and no matter how much I showed up in our relationship to support him, was ever good enough. My support never seemed “good enough” for him. It never mattered when he failed to show up for me or for the relationship. All of his compounded stress made him treat me in ways that were not normally apart of his character. I am not saying that to make any excuses for his behavior or mine. It’s what I believe and the reality of who he was during that time. (Also the reality of who I was).

Now…I am in a strangely similar situation as the one he was in. Yay! (Joking..I’m definitely not stoked about it). The universe has a way of testing a person, doesn’t it? I think the universe is testing me to make sure that the beliefs I hold are grounded in my truth and that I am strong enough to learn from experience, as well as, continue to be a woman of integrity. I believe in being honest with myself regarding my stress at work. Honesty helps me to bring it into a space that’s easier to deal with it. I want to confront the beast head on, slay it and move forward. Stress form work can easily become overwhelming if it is not dealt with when it starts to show up in life. Being able to admit, “this is were I am, this is how I feel and I can’t (always) handle the heaviness of this stress alone.” Knowing its okay to reach out for help. Furthermore, if someone does their best to offer kindness and support, I will NOT turn around and make them feel like every bit of what they offer me isn’t appreciated. For me, what it comes down to is not being afraid to reach out for help and take action like, getting into therapy or doing something which leads to a more beneficial way of handling the stress that surrounds my work life. I wholeheartedly refuse to bring my current work stress, into my next relationship. I think talking to someone who has no choice but to listen to me (because well…it’s her job haha!) has also been a really positive thing for me. Finding outlets, as well as taking my stress and owning it for myself is how I am working to turn it into something more manageable or perhaps, positive. That’s my ultimate goal.

I understand that loving what you do in life is not easy 100% of the time; when stress from work starts to spill over and cause you to view other parts of your life in a negative way or causes you to blame others who try to help you, does nothing but make things into a HUGE shit storm of bad vibes. At this moment in my life, I am working everyday on being mindful of how I bring my work home and accepting help from others in dealing with the stress that I don’t always know how to deal with. It is a shame that relationships can go downhill so fast if you let that stressed-out attitude from your workday creep into how you treat your partner (or anyone else for that matter). It was hard seeing the man I loved, supported and would have sacrificed, pretty much anything for, let his stress from work, effect his view of himself, his life, me, our relationship, where we lived at the time…and much more. It broke my heart and was one of the biggest reasons I had to leave the relationship. In the end, he wasn’t willing to recognize how his job was not something I could change for him. I couldn’t take his stress away but I could and tried to make things easier and better for him. That’s what I believe you do in relationships. Relationships are a give and take. I would’ve given everything to him until I had nothing left to give. That sounds kinda corny when I read that out loud so if you’re reading this I swear I don’t mean that as dramatic as it sounds. Anyways…In the end, I felt like no matter how much I tried to communicate things to him, nothing got through because the stress became a wall. A wall that shut me out. I became bitter and angry which ultimately led to me grasping at anything that appeared remotely positive or any sort of kindness shown to me. I craved for someone to be interested in my life and people who enjoyed my company and actually wanted me around. Not just there to ignore or criticize. It broke my heart leaving someone I still loved and wanted to be with. I am also still dealing with that pain and hurt to this very day.

Nonetheless, your job should never define who you are. The amount of money you make, should never define you, your happiness or anything in life. In the end, you can’t take any of it with you but you can leave behind awesome memories, the feeling of knowing you were loved, your legacy…there is so much more to life than stress from a job. At some point I was hoping my boyfriend at the time would wake up and recognize that he didn’t want to keep treating me like he was or in the other end of the spectrum, ignoring me and my accomplishments. I hoped he would ask himself, was all the stress worth losing our relationship for? Was the stress maybe causing him to treat me in ways that were not in his character? Was his stress not only hurting himself but causing him to take that hurt out on someone who loved him? If so, I had hoped it would motivate him enough to AT LEAST look for another job or go find a therapist or mentor who could help him find ways to manage the stress he was under. People do it everyday. But they only do it if they WANT IT TO HAPPEN. If work stresses you out enough to cause the good things in your life to fall completely apart, then, do something about it. If that relationship is worth it to you, I hope you will make the decision to do what it takes to preserve what could be a source of lifelong happiness and memories; a life full of growth and many wonderful adventures. For me, his career had nothing to do with why or how much I loved him. My love for him was never dependent on how much money he made nor how successful society tells him he is. He was already the most amazing man in my life. Just for being him. I loved who he was and who he was not. In the end, his career seemed to be a major factor in how he loved himself though. Watching him love himself less and less over a job, that could ultimately be replaced, became painful for me to be apart of. I tried to be patient and let him come to his own realization own his own terms. That didn’t seem to go over well either because then he kept demanding I do more. He did ultimately come to a realization but not until long after the damage had been done. It’s all turned out okay though. None of that matters anymore. I accept him for who he is and I will continue to love him, just differently now than before. What he gave me was the experience and tools to move forward in my life; to stand in my truth and know what I will not accept. I learned so much about myself and that I am strong enough to love through good days and bad days. I am confident that I can be reliable in a relationship and I don’t have any hard feelings.

So….my point is, be mindful, be conscious of how you let your job stress effect other aspects of your life. Don’t let it ruin a great relationship or friendship. Stress is a crappy thing but it’s manageable and there are so many ways that one can learn to manage it without letting it bring others down or make you into a difficult person to be around.


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