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.
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.