On being a mean human

The other day I looked myself right in the eyes in the mirror and thought “stop being such a moron.”

It was, as it always is, work related. In my personal life, I generally don’t think I am stupid. Well, there was that long interlude of ..never mind that. At work I think I’m stupid quite frequently. In this case, my crime was that I didn’t immediately know the answer to several questions which folks ask me via email.

There are reasons for feeling dumb at work. Partly because I support multiple complex applications without much in the way of training. Things are in a continual state of change, the stakes are high, and it can be hard to be as much of an expert as I want to be in all of the things I am expected to be an expert in. No one knows everything, but for some reason at work I think I should.

But that isn’t really the problem. It’s the excuse for the problem.

The problem is why I think it’s OK to think of myself as stupid, or constantly tell myself that I am.

If I thought a friend was making decisions that were unwise, I would never tell them they’re an idiot. It would be mean, and they’d immediately stop listening to anything else I might have to say. Are my friends always perfect? No. Sometimes they do things that aren’t necessarily good decisions. And sometimes I feel like I need to point it out.

But that decision would never start with “ boy are you an idiot!” It might start with “this thing you are doing is dangerous, and I’m worried” or “this thing is making me feel a certain way.”

So why do I, why do WE (we all do it) treat ourselves so much more unkindly than we would ever treat our friends?

That, my friends is why we have counseling and friends who tell us to not be so hard on ourselves. I’ve made so many strides in my personal life, but work is the one area I still need to get over myself in.

Work on work self in progress.

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