I won’t lie.
I get frustrated when people complete tasks subpar to what I could do. Whether at work, on the home front, or some other occasion, a little something inside ticks when I see other people cut corners or invest less than 100% into a project.
I think, “I would have done x…” or “next time I’ll just do it myself…”
I started asking myself why.
If it’s a project under my department, or in my home, I completely understand why: it’s because I have to deal with the outcome. I have to cook in the less-than-clean kitchen, or I have to work with the client given messy paperwork by my colleague.
So I think, if it’s something I could, should, or would have done, it might have come out better. And this may sound conceited, but if I complete the work, 90% of the time I would have done it better. In my eyes.
That’s the key: in my eyes.
From my perspective, I like the way I accomplish tasks. I like the way I prepare paperwork. I like the way I clean the counter tops. I like the way I get things done. I’ve developed quite the skill set and pay close attention to detail. As my mother ingrained in my brain growing up, I always give 110%.
But while I may have intelligence, common sense, and acute awareness, that doesn’t always mean I know or do best. And it certainly doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the way someone else might choose to accomplish the same task.
Still, it frustrates the hell out of me when I review paperwork and it has a spelling error. A spelling error! Come on people, don’t you know how to use spellcheck? Don’t you know how to read? My brain goes into hyperdrive, but my face smiles. Because I’m also insanely polite and diplomatic and professional. I can’t yell at my family or colleagues for their errors. Sometimes I do, again, I won’t lie, but it’s becoming less and less and less frequent as the years pass by.
Well, mostly it’s because I learned to stop expecting other people to be me.
And that’s hard.
It’s actually one of the most difficult tasks I find myself trying to overcome and I would be lying if I said I’d worked through it completely…
But here’s the thing: everyone is unique. I think of people like I think of trees: we’re not all straight and tip top shape or perfect. Some of us may be growing sideways, missing branches, or have weird tendencies, but we’re all still trees (humans). And you don’t look at a cluster of trees and start picking apart which are the real trees and which are subpar. We look at that same cluster and think, “wow, those are some pretty trees!”
I want to look at people and think the same thing: wow, those are some pretty people, even if they can’t spell and I have to correct their work (again). The thought that keeps me going is recognizing that everyone is doing the best they can at their level of awareness.
Let me say that again for those in the back. EVERYONE IS DOING THE BEST THEY CAN AT THEIR LEVEL OF AWARENESS.
I can’t take credit for those words. When I first heard them they hit me like a deer crashing into my windshield. I was in awe at the phenomenal power of that statement. Because it’s true. For the most part, each and every person is honestly doing the best they can based on what they know, believe, and fits within their means.
And not everyone is going to be like me. Not everyone is super detail oriented and pays attention to every little pan that gets used and left out on the counter tops (I do). Not everyone is going to remember exactly what they used and me sitting there staring at a pan for an entire week that I know my roommate used but hasn’t washed doesn’t bring me anything except anxiety and resentfulness. I’m better off just washing the damn pan with my dishes and being done with it. It’s a single pan; who cares. And you might say I could just ask my roommate to wash the pan…
That’s also true, but here’s my fault: I hate confrontation. About anything.
I’d rather keep my feelings and wants to myself because I know I can handle it. I know I can deal with it. I don’t know if someone else is going to break down or get upset or lose their cool because I brought up something that bothers me (and yes I understand that’s technically unhealthy and speaking my truth is something I’m working on). But there’s also something to be said for letting things go, especially things that aren’t earth shattering, end-of-the-world problems, such as a single, dirty pan.
What I remind myself is that not everyone is like me. Not everyone is going to accomplish tasks the way I accomplish them. And that’s actually a good thing! Just think – how boring would this world be if we were all exactly the same?
So while it still irks me when I review paperwork and find a spelling error, instead of fuming over the incompetence I’ll just smile to myself and thank my lucky stars I was born the way I am. That I am aware, and detailed, and thorough. That’s what’s going to take me places in this world and help me accomplish my goals.
Not everyone has goals. Some people are happy working their day job and playing video games, eating dinner and sleeping. Not me. I’m constantly working on projects and looking for ways to enrich and better my life. I’m constantly growing.
Not everyone is like me, and I have to remind myself that each and every day. When I get cut off by a driver without a turn signal, I try to remember that I have no idea what’s happening in that person’s life. I have no idea what they’re like or where they’re going, but I know they’re doing the best they can.
If you keep that simple fact in mind with each and every human encounter you make, you’ll find yourself more compassionate and understanding. You’ll realize that you can’t expect YOU to come out of everybody else, because there is nobody out there like you.
Stop fussing. Stop whining. Stop nitpicking.
We’re all doing the best we can at our level of awareness.
And you can’t expect more than that of anyone.
Until Next Time –
Yours For Happy Writing,