“I’m so sorry I didn’t call you back, I was so busy!”
I experience communication like this all the time. We break obligations and commitments because we’re “so busy.” And then this: “You understand, right?”
When I lived in Los Angeles, it was easy to back out of plans. It seemed acceptable to be too busy to show up, because of work or something better. I started canceling when it wasn’t convenient for me and sometimes even when it was.
This approach worked for a while until one evening, I blew off the wrong person. I had made plans, maybe intending to keep them at first, but followed up with a last-minute text saying I couldn’t make it.
My friend’s response stopped me in my tracks. It was filled with comments of anger and frustration, directed at my lack of respect for another person’s time. “Pffft, whatever,” I thought. But later the words sunk in. In my heart I knew I wasn’t intending to use people, but that’s how I was showing up, using up other people’s expectations and time.
At the same time as this experience, I was also feeling the need to attach myself to others, even those who blew me off. “Me time” was too lonely to bear, so I stayed friends with people who didn’t show up for me, either. I was not lonely from lack of company; rather, I was lonely because I had abandoned myself. I had no idea what I liked about myself, or what I was interested in.
I was left with a giant question: How do we heal those emotions that come up when we choose not to be busy?
I responded head on and spent more time alone with the things that lighted me up as a child. I revisited those hours I had spent in my room, filled with wonder, in an effort to collect the clues of my soul, to remember myself. I colored, wrote poems and danced by myself for hours, days and weeks. My nights in became much richer than my nights out, and I started to fall in love with myself, maybe for the first time. This empowerment came from a process of unfolding and welcoming the lonely parts to join the table with the creative, weird, sultry and silly parts.
As acceptance transitioned into wholeness, I shed the shallow relationships in my life that no longer served my highest good. I wasn’t afraid to set boundaries around how others treated me. When I said no to people who didn’t value my time, I said yes to myself, to my time and to my own self worth.
When we flake, we are saying, without words, that our time is more important than the other person’s time. Why? Because we’re so much busier? If we don’t show up for others, how can we expect them to show up for us?
I now choose to stop using the busy excuse and instead ask myself, “Are you keeping your word? How will it affect this person if you break a commitment at the last minute?”
Of course, things come up, so if I can’t make the obligation, I’m honest. When we move energy in the direction of truth, it will be directed back to us. So, retire white lies and busy excuses because they’re lame and nobody buys them.
Show up for the people in your life, but more importantly, show up for yourself. How you show up for yourself is how you show up for the world.
Author: Callie Maggiori
Editor: Jean Weiss