A gentle nudge for myself this afternoon: is this something I need to care about? Answer: hell, no.
I’m a stickler for rules. I mean, I love them. And I follow them. To the letter. And that’s OK. It’s who I am and it works for me. What doesn’t work is when I start to over-care about how other people go about things. On the counselling course, we have a WhatsApp group chat that boils over when we’re getting close to an assignment deadline. It’s super helpful and we check off with each other what to do with this, that and the other thing, plus help each other out. Awesomeness.
Now we’re handing in our case study essays. The case study consists of a recorded “helping session” where we play the roles of helper and helpee. We are not qualified counsellors so we don’t call it counsellor and client, but essentially that’s what the roles are about. So for my case study, I’m the helper (or would-be-counsellor) and a course mate was acting my helpee. Ahead of the session itself we created a contract listing things like time, location, duration, my limits of competency, confidentiality, general guidelines and so on. Along with this we also had to give the helpee a letter summarising some of these points, again ahead of the session. The essay itself contains transcripts of the recorded session and various things we have to demonstrate and define/discuss, along with the usual bibliography and also include the full recording on a USB.
All very clear.
My little group went first, and whilst we were doing our sessions, the rest of the group created a contract and letter as a joint effort, whilst my group had all done our own ahead of the session. The others are using this joint template to include with their case studies. I did see these circulated and just figured at the time it was sent to everyone as a helpful pointer or example to use as a starting point but then adjust accordingly. And today someone mentioned “are we allowed to do this?” in the WhatsApp group.
And here’s me wanting to say this: “uhm, what are you doing, you fools? You need to submit your own work!“. I don’t want to say this, and I haven’t. So what if they do it that way? It’s not my problem. But here’s my dilemma – I wouldn’t feel comfortable myself doing that, because it’s not a group assignment and I would worry the assessor might fail me if it isn’t my own, individual work I’m submitting. Someone else chimed in saying “we’ll just point out we agreed as a group to do it together“. Again, I wanted to say “noooo, don’t! You fools! Why would you do that? That’s risky!” but stopped myself. I’m dithering between shutting my mouth as I don’t want to be some fucking killjoy or goodie-two-shoes telling grown women what to do and speaking up as I don’t want anyone to get penalised for not using their own work, or worse, fail as a consequence.
I also don’t want to throw a spanner in the works for those who are still working on it right now by making people feel they have to create a new contract and letter on top of everything else. I don’t want to create drama, stress or panic. But I will fucking kill myself if it goes tits-up and it transpires they can’t do it that way, knowing I did think they’d got it wrong and kept quiet. That feels like sabotage.
So on the one hand, I’m thinking SHUT UP ANNA AND MIND YOUR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS and on the other I’m thinking SAY SOMETHING TACTFULLY, like “perhaps double check with the tutor that this would be OK?“.
This afternoon’s nudge to myself is to stop caring about whether other people do things the way I believe things should be done. I’m happy with how I’ve done my work and feel good about it. End of story. But the fact remains that I feel I should say something veeeeery gently to the others because I want them all to do well.
Shit. Perhaps I just put it to Wifey. She’s good at telling me when I’ve got a point and also, more importantly, when I’m creating non-issues and should pipe down. Also, it’s given me something to reflect on, this tendency to want to involve myself in what other people do. It’s nothing to do with me. Nothing whatsoever. Absolutely pointless irritation. Is it a control thing? That I feel a need to go in and tell people what to do? Hmm….. Grant me the serenity to mind my own damn business. Yep, that sounds about right.
One thing remains as true as it was this morning when I wrote my last blog post:
Today I’m not going to drink.