Snip, Snip, Snip

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Ebb and Flow.

Part of my mentor’s role is to help me identify bad habits and  replace them with good ones. That could as easily be patterns I’m replacing. Or programming. In any case, it’s a new way of thinking and new patterns to follow in my doing.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

One thing I’ve discovered  in my new mindset that is so unlike   me   is….   No,   was so   unlike   me.   I’m   re- programming. I’m snipping  threads that are flung at my time.

I used to return every phone call. Even to telemarketers.  I  answered  every  email,  no  matter  what.  I  responded. I was very good at responding.

Somewhere in my life, a notion was instilled in me that other people had spent their valuable time to call or write me and so I owed them a response. The unsaid was, my time wasn’t as valuable, that I had to  respond. That takes up a lot of time!

I get tons of emails asking for my help. Not people who buy my  books  or buy from my website,  but they found me online and want my time and advice for free— and expect an answer for free. And up until  recently, I responded to every single one. I’ve learned to hit the delete button.

It’s rather  odd  how  I  came  to  this  decision.  I’ve known for  years that answering emails and phone calls “because I’m a good person” or because my mama taught me to be nice was a huge time sink for me. Usually with no return. I spent many lunch hours and evenings advising a local non-profit  group—for free—and the return I got for my efforts was a request for me to pay for membership, pay for advertising, and  pay for my own salad when I had to take time off from work to meet them for lunch. The advice I gave them was worth thousands of dollars and they couldn’t even buy me lunch, once. But if I didn’t value  my time, why should they? I knew I was giving away too much of my time and too much of my fire to people who didn’t appreciate it, and I came to resent it.

I also came to resent myself for doing it.

But even  amid  all  the  emails  and  phone  calls,  I’ve made some new friends online via my blog, my websites, and other websites I joined to socialize on my own terms (as in, when I feel like it). They’ve brought  new experiences to me and I enjoy chatting with them and the intellectual stimulation. They have no idea how few people I respond to online these days.

What affected this change was an old friend’s suggestion that I sign up at collarme.com  to see what kinds of new friends I might meet. What I got was a bazillion men begging me to talk to them, and hundreds of resumes and photos  for me  to review  from  men  who claimed  they were willing to relocate to be near me, flog themselves to death if it would delight me, or sign over their bank ac- counts to me if I would  adopt them as my pets. So far, I’ve responded to 3 people, ironically all women who had some interesting and informative exchanges  with me regarding religion.

The men? None have intrigued me yet. Okay, possibly one as an online friend because of his background in hypnosis. I’m still waiting for any man on there to knock my socks off. For the most part, I hit delete. The difference is, these men tell me they will feel fortunate if I respond at all but understand that I’m not required to and that my time is valuable  and they hope I have a wonderful  day with or without their presence. That’s different.

So now I pick and choose  people I’m interested  in getting to know better. I don’t answer every question I’m sent, either personal,  social, or professional. When I do, it’s because I genuinely like the person or would like to know them better. As for the others, there’s no requirement for me to answer. The only person saying I should is the one who gains from my time while I  lose something. So I’m taking better care of myself and my time and directing it where I want it to go.

I’ve had several men (not the submissive  boys from collarme!) write  me a second or third time recently, demanding to know why I haven’t responded to them. After all, they emailed me out of the blue and they deserve to know why I’m not interested in them. I’d say their second and third emails are confirmation of my intuitive response to their first emails. But I don’t say anything. I hit delete or block them.

Why? Because I’ll correspond  with whomever I wish to, and if I take the time to write, it’s because that’s where I choose to focus my energy.