by Cheryl Fonseca

I've just discovered a reoccurring pattern in my life. I've noticed it before – but didn't quite hear the message.
I believe I understand the message now. I've decided to thank this reoccurring habit for its contribution to my life, and try something different, because, frankly, I'm tired of this one.

The issue centers upon my ability – or inability – simply to be able to speak up. It arose at work this time, in the following form. My work load was too heavy so I was assigned an assistant. This assistant helped and tried hard, but sometimes didn't try too hard at all, and made many mistakes. He didn't think these mistakes were such a big deal. I would quietly fix the mistakes and then get back to my own work.

I was protecting my assistant, but in the end I did more harm than good to him and to myself, because my work load got heavier and I was fixing more of his mistakes. Suddenly I was resenting him, and feeling sorry for myself for having too much work. At the same time I was grateful to have any help.
I had to put an end to it. I stepped out of my comfort zone and deliberately confronted my problem in a way different than I’d done in the past. It was a very hard and uncomfortable task.

I spoke up, despite being worried that I would hurt my assistant’s feelings. Although I may not have done it “perfectly,” I'm glad now that I did. I can handle my work load better now, and I have a more experienced assistant. We both benefited because I spoke up.
I've taken a look at it, and have seen the place in myself from which this habit stemmed. I can see how silly I've been in the past by not speaking up in similar situations. I even used to pride myself for handling uncomfortable issues by avoiding speaking up.

Now I'm seeing my habit from a different perspective. In retrospect I feel lighter and proud of myself for taking a different stand than I have in the past.
If, like most habits, this one returns, I will not be surprised. Thus I remain alert and watchful, and ready to exercise my new skills.

Maybe now I will get a completely different message?