Last Tuesday night, I wrote an article called “Doing the Wrong Things Right”. I had done something at work and I felt like I had done the wrong thing. My boss and I spoke about it and I was not happy with myself. This bothered me for a couple of days but it was eventually resolved in a text conversation in which I told her that I don’t want to disappoint her. Her view was that we will disappoint each other at times but it is our actions or decisions that may be disappointing, not the person. The actions and decisions can be discussed and put behind us and the working relationship goes on.
This view of handling disappointment is somewhat new to me. I think that if I disappoint someone, they won’t like me as much. Being accepted in a relationship has a lot to do with what I do, not who I am. I don’t know where this came from but I can think of many examples from my childhood when I thought that I had lost a friend because of some minor disappointment. Not only that, I was always so afraid to talk about it that there was often no resolution other than a lost friendship for no good reason.
As a perfectionist, it is easy for me to feel like I disappoint people since it so hard to please myself. One of the easiest ways to avoid disappointing people is to never say “No”. By being the nice guy and being willing to take on more than I can handle, I try to please everyone. But at what price? Increased stress and worry about not being able to live up to my commitments, fear that I will not do something right, and more doing the wrong things right. Even doing the wrong things wrong.
What would happen if I accept the fact that I will disappoint people? I think it would be a great step forward for my own self-care. I would be able to say “No” with confidence that the other person will still like me. I would be able to accept that I am not perfect and that I should not try to be. I would be free of the stress of being perfect and over-extended. I would be able to prioritize and focus on what is truly important. I could be me and not worry about what others may think.
I know that when I am disappointed by someone, I still like them. So why shouldn’t I expect the same. Nobody’s perfect. Not even me.