Yes, these questions make me extremely uncomfortable, too, and it's only recently that I've realized what my greatest weakness really is: guilt. The main source of this problem is that I never feel like I know the right thing to say, and I am worried that I will forever be saying the "wrong" thing. This stems from an even larger problem: my desire to be all things for all people--within limits, of course. I find myself saying "Sorry" more times a day than I can count, even for the smallest things, because everything is somehow always my fault (wow, I guess I have a more inflated sense of self-importance than I thought). I do not consider myself a perfectionist, although that is probably what I am. I want to do right by other people, and when I fail in even the slightest way I feel extremely guilty. Perhaps Louis C.K. explains my feelings more effectively:
Here's how my brain works: it's stupidity followed by self-hatred and then further analysis.
I've realized that in deciding to be an editor, I have nevertheless failed to escape this personal path of torment. Making even a small mistake or failing to recognize one weighs down on me in ways I can't describe. First comes the initial stab and pang of regret, then a sensation of even deeper loathing, one that sticks and seeps and pervades. The sharpness of the pain dulls into discouragement, which is survivable, although not the most healthy. But then you get to the bigger issue after you overcome the guilt: maybe I'm just not cut out for this. Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no. Rewind and freeze, please. I didn't really make the biggest mistake of my life in choosing this path, did I? Did Daria's prophecy come true?
My goal is not to wake up at forty with the bitter realization that I've wasted my life in a job I hate, because I was forced to decide on a career in my teens.
Why is this advice so hard for me to swallow? If I am a perfectionist, I hope it helps my career and doesn't rob me of my sanity. If I can't learn from my failures, I have to accept them anyway, and not let the smallest error destroy me entirely. I think the work of editors is extremely important, but the work has always appealed to me because I adore words more than anything else. But sometimes my relationship with words can be complicated. And if I fail to make a piece of writing the best it can possibly be, I've failed. And that's a responsibility that I sometimes find incredibly hard to handle. In other words, being a fallible human isn't a picnic.
That's my weakness: guilt and the fear of it. Next question, please, Mr. Human Resources.