You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside.
– Stephen Covey
POINT TO PONDER:
Where do the relationships in my life rank in my priority list?
Identify one way you can invest in a relationship this week that you don’t usually take the time and/or effort to do.
A few weeks ago I had a run-in with perspective. Of course having a toddler and a five month old always has a way of doing this, however there are many times when I become hyper-focused and move so fast that my priorities and common sense become skewed. For example, Durant, our funny two and three quarter year old toddler just started a Mother’s Day Out program, and as to be expected, cried during the first two weeks of drop-off. As painful as it was to walk away from him with a smiling face, we knew that if we freaked out, he would freak out more and this would only prolong that difficult phase. Thankfully, on his fifth day he walked in without hesitation, smiled and waved goodbye.
Following his first successful walk-in, my dad and stepmom offered to take both Durant and Malaine (my 5 month old daughter) for the night. Initially I jumped on the offer, but then my inner “Crazy Voice” took over, telling me: Durant was just starting to make “walk-in progress,” and if he skipped Thursday he would likely regress, which meant more crying. As I began retracting the kind proposal, “Common Sense Voice” shouted, “Calm down sister! “What in the world are you thinking and why in the world do you think that Durant going to Mother’s Day Out is more important than spending time with his grandparents, whom he adores?! Furthermore, at the end of the day what’s more important? Making memories with his grandparents or making two-year-old “walk-in” progress?” Thank goodness “Common Sense Voice” prevailed.
Lately, I’ve had several random yet profound life conversations with my husband Russell and friends. We discussed how quickly we can become robotic, get tunnel vision and lose perspective of what’s most important. More often than not, it feels like life moves at breakneck speed and before long we lose consciousness, become a slave to our work, our lifestyle and societal expectations. It’s as if we jump on the bullet train to nowhere and before long we’ve traveled thousands of miles with nothing of real substance to show for it. During this speedy process we may have received a special title, collected things and accumulated different experiences, but in the midst of riding on the accelerated track it’s likely that our most valuable and precious cargo (our relationships with family and friends) have suffered.
Whether it be family, work, children, friends, or just a typical life situation, it’s easy to lose perspective and focus on the trivial and inconsequential. However, I urge you to stop the train, get off the tracks and make sure the most important part of the ride (time for relationships and with the people you love) are your highest priority. Everything else is replaceable.