In mining a person stakes a claim to a plot of land, registers it with the mining office and then mines it. What they find is theirs. In relationships some people do the same thing. The jealous boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse, the micro-managing boss, or the needy friend all stake their claim to you. You become entrapped in their claim and your life is no longer your own. You are doing what they want you to do how they want you to do it. It is absurd and maddening.
But there is another sort of claim made upon us that is harder to figure out. For example, this morning I heard a report about a woman who was complaining about her company because her boss made her wear high heels to work. She wore flats one day and got in trouble because the dress code called for heels. Is it an ‘absurd, maddening claim’ or is it a reasonable one?
Which is Which?
I work at Fleet Feet as a coach. They want me to wear their products when I am coaching, not the products from other stores. That is a fair claim upon my employment. However, if Fleet Feet required that I wear only short sleeve shirts when I run, even if it is freezing outside, that would be absurd and maddening, as well as dangerous.
The same is true of the woman in heels. If she works for a company manufacturing or selling high heeled shoes then requiring her to wear them would not be absurd. If she works for a company where everyone wears a uniform and that uniform includes heels for women then it might be ok or not, depending on how necessary the heels are, how harmful they may be to wear over long periods of time, etc. But if they are simply wanting her to wear them for no other reason but that some guy at the top thinks women look better in heels than in flats, that would be absurd and maddening. It is also sexist.
How do you fight it? The number one thing is stand firm from the very beginning of the relationship or job. That way you become known as someone who everyone else knows will resist allowing absurd and maddening claims to be laid upon you. Two caveats though; First, remember, not all claims upon you are absurd or maddening and second, if you are too serious or angry about it all the time then you will be seen as contentious and hard to get along with, even by those who agree with you. Having a sense of humor and a light touch in what you say and do can go a long way to both appealing to those who are claiming you and resisting them at the same time.
Then you will be a success on your own terms.
Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
Quote by Christopher Morley, 1890 – 1957, American writer and journalist. “There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way and not to give others absurd maddening claims upon it.”