One day I was chatting with a friend of mine and she was complaining about work. I work from home, she still has to go out and deal with people she doesn’t particularly like. She was talking about this one particular young lady who is clearly an asshole, but a good brown nose type. There’s this silent war between them and neither likes the other so they do petty stuff to each other in kind of a “one-up” fashion. Not sure how that lady is feeling, but I see what’s going on from my perspective and it’s not all that cool.
People that know me well, know that I almost always come with an analogy when giving advice. My friend spent the better part of a work week complaining about the people at her job, wishing she didn’t have to see folks, trying to figure out a way to rid herself of this one annoying person in particular. Fortunately, I can’t relate to that feeling. I’ve worked with many assholes but none of them ruin my days or weeks like this. Finally on the Friday of that week I said, “you can get one more complaint off, but then you have to move on to something that’s productive”. Instead of complaining, she said she just doesn’t feel like she has anything left in her to give…and there’s the problem.
My Cup Runneth Over
Since I work from home, typically the only people draining me of my energy are my wife and daughter…honorable mention to my dog. They always want and/or need something from me, but I’m told that’s normal. As a result, my energy levels and what I feel I have left to give is typically a lot. For better and worse, since I have so much to give, I’m constantly sharing my thoughts, brainstorming ideas, and giving advice to the takers in my home. Here’s the tidbit I shared with my friend, and now you.
Protect your cup! Some folks will see your cup filled with goodness and take communion sips until it’s empty. Others will see your cup empty and decide it’s a good place to store their shit. I suggest keeping the lid on more often than not. If they don’t know what’s in the cup, they’re not likely to deplete it and they certainly won’t be putting their pens in your cup with the lid on. Simple idea, not overly deep or anything, but people have a very difficult time with this.
You can’t pour from an empty cupA meme that I saw
Where’s The Lid?
Keeping the lid on is actively not allowing folks into your mental space. Make boundaries with people and even more important, make boundaries with yourself. For years I would never talk about my work day with my wife, especially if the day sucked. Not because I didn’t care to share, but I don’t want people I don’t enjoy being around, manipulating my off duty time as well. I refuse to allow those folks to work my nerves at work and at home. That’s just my method of closing the lid, some people feel better to release that stuff with their spouse. If that’s the case, limit how much time you allow their shit to sit in your living room. That’s my opinion as well, but I’m not the only one that would say this apparently there’s some validity to it.
What If My Cup Is Drained At Home?
It is highly likely that the person you live with is taking the biggest swigs from your cup. Not only are you hearing about the stuff they don’t like about work, they let you know what they don’t like about you too…AND you have to deal with their underwear in random places. Everyone is going to take from your cup, but it’s up to you how much and how you deal with it.
Venting about home life at work is a thing and it can create a pretty wild dynamic if you let too much out. The same thing applies at home though. Set personal boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable, remind the person/people you live with (nicely) when they’re routinely falling short. Everyone has a slip here and there, but if they’re slipping daily for an extended period of time, it’s time to chat. Unlike the people you work with, your significant other is someone you have to deal with to a certain extent. Also, try not to bring too much of your home life to the office, the opportunists are listening.
I remember watching Floyd Mayweather fight Victor Ortiz. The fight was going on as normal, Floyd was feeling him out, analyzing his moves and Ortiz was throwing punches trying to knock him out. For some reason, after a flurry of punches (most of them missed) Ortiz decides to head butt Floyd in the mouth. The ref stops the action Ortiz apologizes a few times and about 2 seconds after the fight is back on, and maybe 1 second after the last apology from his opponent , Floyd threw 2 shots to an unprepared Ortiz, who spent the next 25 seconds trying to register what happened because he ignored boxing’s main rule, “protect yourself at all times”.
This is similar to what happens when you allow people to infiltrate your personal space. They set up shop with bad energy, you start bringing it with you wherever you go, basically inviting them into all areas of your life, next thing you know you’re wondering why your mood is off, why you’re in a dark place or how you got knocked out. When you have people draining all of what’s good in you and leaving you empty or worse, filling you with negativity, it’s time to make changes. If you can’t change the people (which you can’t), you can certainly change what kind of access they have to impact your day. Protect yourself at all times, you never know when life is going to try to pop you in the chops when you aren’t paying attention.