They say the British are very polite. It’s true. Even in London, there’s always two of us apologising to each other when we bump in the tube. I’ve aplogised to rocks, trees, edges of tables, you name it.
I’m very comfortable saying sorry. I’m very comfortable taking the blame. Perhaps too comfortable.
If you’re also the sort of person who’s the first to blame themselves when things go wrong in your own life, at work, at school, wherever - we have something huge in common.
There’s a point where “polite” turns into self-flagellation and anti-self-love. But the problem is, if you’re already the kind of person (like me) who doesn’t really mind a bit of self-hate here and there (or finds it comforting even), then it won’t help to think “oh no, I shouldn’t be so rude to myself.”
So how about thinking of it this way in the meantime: you’re not that powerful. How could you think that single handedly you are responsible for things not going well?
You didn’t reach targets at work? Well maybe the manager should’ve stepped in at some point. Maybe the rain made less people want to leave the house. Maybe the products you’re selling are just not that great.
Someone is rude to you? Maybe it’s not that weird message you sent and you’ve been overthinking for the last 7 hours, but one of the hudrends of things not going great in their own life. You’re not the centre of their universe, it’s not just you that pissed them off.
You performed dreadfully in a project? Well, maybe it doesn’t mean you’re worthless and terrible at your job, there’s probably a few other people and situations which contributed to the problem.
I’m not preaching that we become unresponsible, shameless, unreliable and over-confident, and if you’re already healthy in this way, this really isn’t for you. But if you’re on the end of the spectrum where you can’t help but come to the conclusion that you suck a million times a day, and blame yourself for everything happening around and to you, I just want to say: you’re not that great. It really isn’t all you.
Let’s stop flattering ourselves and be a bit more healthy and balanced when interpreting what happens around us. Sometimes, we really do suck. But never always, and never for no reason.