I’m bad at a lot of things.
I’m bad at common household tasks that most people take for granted.
I’m bad at logistics.
I’m bad at “common sense.”
I’m bad at caretaking.
I’m bad at vacuum cleaners.
I once bought a new vacuum cleaner because the old one stopped working. I didn’t know that the vacuum bag needed to be changed.
Internal critic: You are such a putz. That’s just common sense, you idiot. How could you have not known that?
That’s not fair, critic. Common sense is just knowledge that people are bad at explaining.
No one ever teaches you common sense, they just expect you to somehow pick it up as you go. That’s not my learning style. I’m great at learning things when people explain them to me, but I often don’t notice patterns that are obvious to most people. And that’s okay.
Now I know that vacuum cleaner bags need to be changed. Each time I slip on a bit of “common sense”, I learn it and remember it. It’s okay for me to not know things that no one ever taught me.
I hear that it’s easy and obvious to you, critic. But “common sense” is hard for me. And it’s okay for it to be hard for me.
I’m bad at batteries.
Many years ago, I stopped using my Palm Pilot because it was too hard for me to constantly change the batteries.
Internal critic: You are so lame. Changing the batteries? That’s such a simple task it’s ridiculous for you to avoid it. You’re lazy and you suck.
I hear that changing batteries is easy for you, critic. It’s hard for me. And it’s okay for it to be hard for me.
I’m bad at scheduling.
I often avoid spending time with friends because scheduling a time to hang out fills me with dread.
Internal critic: What is your problem? You just pick a time that’s free and suggest it. What’s so hard about that? Just get over it.
I hear that scheduling is easy for you, critic. It’s hard for me. And it’s okay for it to be hard for me.
I’m bad at caretaking.
Taking care of Kyeli these past few weeks has been very difficult and stressful for me.
Internal critic: Oh, get over yourself. She hardly needs any help. All you have to do is a few errands, a couple of chores, and occasionally bring her food. Since you love Kyeli, you need to love taking care of Kyeli, too. You want to help her and be there for her, right?
Of course I do. And I will. But it’s hard for me. I hear that it’s easy for you, critic, but it’s hard for me. And it’s okay for it to be hard for me.
I’m bad at playing the violin.
There are a million things I’m bad at. Some of them, like the ones I’ve mentioned so far, I’m bad at because they don’t come naturally to me. All of them I’m bad at because I haven’t yet put in the effort required to get good at them.
I’m bad at playing the violin, but I don’t care. My internal critic doesn’t care, either. I’m bad at playing the violin because I haven’t practiced it enough to get good — in fact I’ve never practiced it. And that’s okay.
If I can accept that I’m bad at playing the violin, I can accept that I’m bad at anything! It’s all the same — it’s all a matter of choosing not to put in the hours/days/months/years it would take to become good at it.
How to be awesome while still being bad at lots of things
I could choose to put in the effort to become good at the things I’m bad at. For some, it would take emotional effort — self-work to unravel my resistance. For others, it would take a lot of effortful practice.
Or I could work smarter, not harder.
I could create clever systems and infrastructure to let me avoid the hard things altogether, and focus on my strengths instead. I could ask others (e.g. Kyeli) for help with the things I’m bad at.
It’s okay to be you, just the way you are.
Regardless of whether I choose to struggle with the things I’m bad at, get better at them, or avoid them entirely, it’s okay to be me. It’s okay to be me, just the way I am, good at all the things I’m good at and bad at all the things I’m bad at.
What are you bad at?
Repeat after me: It’s hard for me. And it’s okay for it to be hard for me.