I notice patterns.
Good patterns, and bad ones.
Recently I noticed a pattern of how often I can frustrate others when we work together.
I noticed a pattern of people around me defaulting to doing things my way, or pausing before taking action to see how I want it done.
I also noticed a pattern of how often I interject how I want things done a certain way when they start to take action.
And there is another pattern.
I noticed a pattern in my solitary projects.
I noticed a pattern of demanding perfection in my own work.
I noticed a pattern of self-criticism for any mistakes.
The other day while running with a close friend we talked about these patterns.
“I’m not trying to create such a high standard for those around me. I want them to be able to do things their way.”
The run continued. The next question exposed the underlying pattern.
“What is it like for You to work with You?”
A brutal pattern.
A pattern of unrealistic demand for perfection with no grace.
I had never considered what it was like for Me to work with Me.
My mind scanned the various projects over the years.
I still see the flaws, the imperfections, and the issues.
I also saw the list of unfinished projects, and those projects never started.
Working with me was so daunting that I stopped various projects and there were others that I could not bring myself to start.
“Maybe you need to learn to be kind to yourself first.”
The last pattern.
The pattern of fooling myself.
The pattern of fooling myself into believing that I could hold myself to a standard of perfections, but I could show kindness, grace, and flexibility to others.
But they saw the pattern.
They saw how I treated myself.
They knew they would be treated the same way.
It was time to be honest.
I don’t like working with me.
I’m too harsh, too demanding, too intolerant of mistakes.
I’m the reason why others are frustrated, defaulting to my way, or not taking action.
Where do I go from here?
I need a new pattern.
A new pattern of being kind to myself.
A new pattern of allowing reasonable standards, grace for mistakes, and progress over perfection.
Isn’t it funny how often we assume the pattern is outside of us?
What is it like for You to work with You?
How could a little self-kindness change your patterns?
P.S. Thanks for your patience in this long blog post drought. I’m working on a new website, but working with me as been rough and getting in the way of making progress. More details soon, but thank you again for reading and sharing these posts.
2 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Like Working With Me (and how it explains why others don’t either)”
Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing you. Grace and acceptance are the words of encouragement I try to give to myself and to others. Your mom once shared a story of her Indian heritage where the people deliberately add a mistake to their work to humbly acknowledge that they were not perfect as only their Creator is. They believed the mistake is where man allows the creator to enter into the project. I never have to make a mistake deliberately, they happen without trying. I know where my mistake is up close, but stepping back the beauty of the whole shines brighter. I frequently say to myself “This Is Me” today and I’m trying with God’s help to be the best me I can be. Tomorrow will be an other grace filled day.
Thank you so much for the words, and the story of my mom. Nice to remember those stories and her.
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