An employment relationship is a two-way street which benefits both the employee and employer. As an employee, sometimes it feels like the employer has the power and the employee has little-to-none. We do have power at work- power over ourselves, our attitudes, our treatment of ourselves and co-workers, and the work we do.
Loving my work-life means I have the opportunity and choice to be responsible for myself. I start by practicing an attitude of gratitude. I make frequent, almost daily, gratitude lists. While there’s usually something in my work-life that doesn’t go the way I want it to, there are also many more things that are energizing, beautiful, fun, engaging, inspiring and happy. For me being happy doesn’t mean everything’s going my way, it means I’m grateful for everything that is going my way.
Another important practice for loving my work-life is taking care of myself. Every day I practice meeting my basic needs such as getting enough sleep, making good, or at least decent, food choices, getting even small amounts of exercise, drinking water, taking breaks, and most importantly, giving myself a break. I absolutely can’t do my best or be my best if I haven’t taken good care of myself first.
I do my best to apply the same care to others, giving family, co-workers, friends and strangers on the street the opportunity to take care of themselves. I practice treating others with a loving and accepting heart. I can trust and respect my co-workers enough to believe they can and will take care of themselves, and it is not my business to try to do so for them, or tell them how to do so for themselves.
I also have power over the work I do. I can practice working mindfully and keeping the focus on my work. There are times when I am tempted to focus on the situation around me instead of the work I am doing. I have found time and time again that I end up feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and usually dissatisfied when I focus on all the things I do not have power over instead of the things that I do.
I do not choose to accept mistreatment or legitimately unfair situations at work, however once I have productively stated my specific concerns to the appropriate person(s), I find much more satisfaction when I let go of any complaints and focus on doing my best on the work in front of me.
None of these behaviors of love were easy to come by for me. They take practice and more practice and even more practice. Sometimes I still slip back into less loving ways of interacting with my work-life, giving all my power away to others to determine what type of day I will have. When I step away from loving my work-life, I have the chance to learn from the experience, laugh about it if I can, and try again.