informal_homeWhat have you done for me lately?  How often we imagine our boss saying that to us?  What if we heard it from our significant other, our kids or our friends?

Being judged by our performance of tasks is not always unusual or unfair.  This is the norm in a world where companies do not have a lot of wiggle room in their job descriptions and where the humanity of the employee takes a back seat to the bottom line profit.  In larger companies a competent manager will see the value in an employee apart from immediate performance, and seek ways to capitalize on his character, education, and experience by assisting him through training or internal transfer to a job more suited to him and more advantageous to the company.  This seems to be increasingly rare, however.

What happens when performance becomes the criteria in our personal relationships?  This is a common stage many young people go through as they explore the world of intimacy and love by having to deal also with infatuation and narcissism.  “If you really loved me you would…” is thus demanded as a proof of loyalty or affection, and often leads to misfortune…or babies.

But I’m amazed at how many supposedly mature men and women find themselves in this kind of codependent conundrum.  Couples sometimes stay together solely because it’s a convenient business arrangement, which is okay if both agree to the conditions with eyes wide open.   Usually it’s not the case. One popular scenario: he provides the cash for shopping trips and vacations; she provides hospitality and sex appeal-on-demand.  At some stage one or the other may realize that their intrinsic value as human beings has been seriously diminished and divorce ensues.

Who are the people who value you for who you are and not what you do?  Are you one of those who do?  What perspective can you adopt that distinguishes when and where you are being judged solely on performance versus your intrinsic value?   Where are key sources of appreciation that fill in the “value-deficit” in your life so that, so that despite having to perform, you can value yourself apart from performance? 

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