I pissed off a woman I consider a friend today. A lot.
And it's really hard to figure out how I could have prevented it because if I had, there just would have been something else. There is ALWAYS something else. Working on something like the yearbook, you're bound to encounter very negative reactions to your work; it is inevitable. Even if it is the best job you could do, you're still gonna screw up. I guess it's like any position with responsibility or really any position in life. You can't please everybody, so the song says...
The problem is that, while I have relaxed a lot of the expectations and pressure I put on myself to believe that somehow, I am supposed to be able to do better than I am, I still am upset by my own shortcomings. I try to comfort myself with the fact that I tried my best, which is really all I could have done, but that little nagging perfectionist keeps at me. I feel like a bit of a failure.
Yet, now here's the odd thing, this is the first time I have been more upset at the possibility of losing a friend than of my own failure. My failure is what it is--but I'm so much more accepting of it this time. I can't really explain this. I am not (despite this post focused on it) all that hung up on my personal shortcomings as imperfect yearbook advisor that I clearly am. I'm more worried that my friend, a teacher who was accidentally left out of the book (actually, even worse, her whole department was--yikes!), might have lost her respect for me. I guess I'm just a lot more sad about that than about the error, as egregious as it was.
Even more interesting, I'm noticing that with all these negative feelings, there is balance. I'm not beating myself up over the mistake or the angered friend. I'm disappointed and sorry that I made the mistake; I'm sad and worried that I upset my friend. However, neither situation has absorbed my life in any way. I have other things on my mind at the same time.
I think I'm developing what we might call "perspective."
I've always been mature (almost too mature at a young age), but this is something else beyond wisdom and good sense. And I'm not sure if it's good or bad. It certainly feels healthier and better, but a nagging part of me suspects it could also be labeled "selfish." I'm hoping it's in that good put-yourself-first way, not the bad ignore-others'-feelings way. Do selfish people know when they have crossed the line into arrogance and apathy? Is the line different depending on whether you are the slighted party or the offender?
There is so much about the world that I don't know, and just as much I could learn about myself if I cared to. How strange.