Thinking for Others

I’ve found myself getting frustrated with everyone lately. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent a lot of time with my shoes glued to my feet recently and my brain is feeling a bit hot and sweaty from the lack of fresh air but I’ve noticed my temper flaring more often. I seem to be very short on patience and even shorter on tolerance. All around me, incompetence and stupidity overwhelm me in gross volumes.

I feel as if I am explaining how and when to do everything to everyone. How to use the photocopier, how to scramble eggs, how to write an essay, how to tie shoes, when to start the dishwasher, when to the book catering, when to study, when to take some initiative and do something yourself because I’m not going to have the time to do it and I’m wasting time even having to explain to you that you should be thinking/anticipating/doing yourself!

I find myself constantly uttering “Why can’t you think about this yourself? Why do I have to tell you?” to everyone. I say it at least twice a day out loud and many, many more times in my head while fighting the urge to poke people with a very sharp stick.

The thing is, this is entirely my fault. No, I probably shouldn’t need to remind anyone that the photocopier needs to be turned on before you try to use it or if I am working late that someone else should take it upon themselves to cook dinner (without me having to ask) but the problem isn’t them (well, maybe a little teensy bit) it’s me.

I plan a head, I make lists and devise mental schedules that ensure I can get everything done that I need to get done because I rarely say ‘no’; I grew into the consummate, ball juggling organiser. But, because I don’t say no, I’m overextended and I need someone to give me a hand, which I usually then try to bite off. I assume people think the same way I do and when they don’t read my mind and do something that I haven’t actually asked them to do before I get upset with them for not doing it, I get…well, upset.

Somewhere along the line I got far too efficient; I’m always one step in front (or trying to be). I’m quick to anticipate – so quick that I’ve stopped letting others do any thinking. It’s just easier if I think for them, anticipate for them and, ultimately, do for them because it’s a quicker result. This isn’t only unsustainable, it’s unfair. I fix the photocopier, scramble the eggs, *, tie the shoes, start the dishwasher, book the catering and write a study plan instead of teaching, showing or sharing the way with others.

I know how/when to do all these things. They don’t. And I am not giving them the opportunity to learn. I’m doing what’s ‘easier’ in the short-term but the long-term consequence is my frustration and their continuing ignorance. Yes, it’s time consuming to teach-show-share what you know. But that time is an investment; work smarter and make teach-show-share part of your life/love/livelihood.

*But I won’t ever, ever write someone’s essay. Sorry. Never.

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