Woman typing a work email

Just hit SEND already!

Perfectionism

Okay, so you’ve mustered up the discipline to write that important email you’ve been dreading sending. And you’ve probably read over it about 10 times by now. All that’s left is to hit ‘send’ and you’ll be free of it – able to finally relax.

But the problem is as soon as your mouse hovers over ‘send’ the sense of doom creeps over you and suddenly you can’t even remember if you’ve spelled the recipient’s name right.

So, you take a breath, and read through it again. And the cycle repeats itself.

I’ve been stuck in this nerve-racking cycle before. I’ve even snapped a photo of an email and texted it to my husband just to get a second pair of eyes to look over it. The ridiculousness of it is I am trusting his opinion of the situation  and my response more than I am my own, and he doesn’t even know who it is I am sending it to. It’s like I’m saying, here honey, you have no idea what this is about or really what I’m trying to communicate here, but go ahead – you know best. Tell me if I can hit send. I’m trying to pass the responsibility over to someone who has no idea what’s going on.

Why do we do this? Why can’t we just hit ‘send’ like a normal person and be on our merry way?

Instead we play a game of constant second guessing and worry – and suddenly an innocent email becomes a nausea-inducing situation.

The truth of it is, an email – is just that – an email.

It only creates anxiousness and dread when we make it mean something about ourselves. What I find happens is we tend to attach our own sense of worth to that email. And as soon as we do that – we set ourselves up for a nerve wracking experience in which every  word – every punctuation mark even – becomes something that determines if we are good enough.

Sound a bit dramatic? It is. But it’s not an overstatement, at least from what I’ve found from personal experience. What we need to do is realize that there is no perfect way to phrase our message. And how the receiver takes the email has nothing to do with whether we are good enough – smart enough – capable enough as a person.

The more we give into this game – the one where we read it over and over and over…and get second opinions, and ruminate about whether or not we’ve phrases it perfectly – the more we fuel this behavior to continue. Because we’re building this habit – this terrible habit in which we tell our brains that we have to stress worry and spin out over every word of an email before we send it. And we make this the pattern so that each time that next important email needs to be drafted, we’re already feeling the sense of doom.

We need to take some of the pressure off ourselves and – and off that email.

We need to realize that even if the very worst happens – it’s still just an email. And just because somebody reacts to it differently than we were intending them to, doesn’t mean we’ve messed up, or didn’t say it right, or are a terrible person.

The only way to break this habit is to just hit SEND already and stop reinforcing the cycle. And the only way we can get to that place is if we can remind ourselves that the email is only an email. It has nothing to do with who we are, how good we are, how capable we are, as a human being.