first published September 15, 2014
I was a precocious child, adorable and smart as a whip. Things came easily to me. I mastered whatever was put before me quickly and perfectly. I could not understand why others struggled with things that came to me so naturally. I always aimed for perfection (and usually achieved it) because I loved being praised for my cleverness. It made me feel special and more important than everyone else.
As I grew up, I become more and more accomplished at various things. I could do more in a day than anyone else I knew. I looked down upon those who could not complete tasks which to me were simple; or solve problems when the solutions seemed obvious to me. I felt pity and contempt for the lazy, the ineffectual, those who did not have the capacity to do what needed to be done. I assumed that anyone who claimed not to be capable of these things was just being lazy or purposely obtuse. I had no patience or compassion for those who struggled with what (to my mind at least) should have been straight-forward tasks and easy-to-attain goals.
I entered the business world and was extremely successful. It never occurred to me that I would be otherwise. I went over and above what others expected of me, always working hard to top what I’d done before. I was driven, but the rewards were great.
That was the upside.
The downside was that I pushed others relentlessly. I expected them to value perfection as I did. If I asked someone to do something and the result did not meet my high standards, I would get angry or dismissive or even cruel. I had no use for imperfect people. Those who wanted to work with me and for me, knew what was expected of them. Failure, laziness, mistakes, miscalculations were not options.
I was not well-liked.
There was no place for laziness in a relationship. How difficult was it to get things right? All they had to do was pay close attention, watch how I did it, and learn the right way. Wasn’t it better to do things the correctly than to make mistakes? Wasn’t it better to be industrious than to be lazy? My motto was “Properly not sloppily.”
How convinced I was about this! How sure I was right; that my way was the best and only way. I worked myself relentlessly towards perfection in everything.
Ironically, this was my greatest flaw.
I had no respect for the journeys of others. No compassion for their challenges. No empathy. No understanding of different values. And worst, no ability to feel or give unconditional love.
I was successful in life, but in death I see I was an utter failure as a human being
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