Living the Answers: Priorities

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The tagline of this blog is “living the questions.” I’ve been alive and asking questions for over two decades now, in seven different countries and many more cities, as a student, teacher, intern, employee, traveler, tourist, sister, daughter, girlfriend, niece. I like to think I have some preliminary answers, or at least hypotheses. Here’s the first one:

You can’t please everyone, but you can choose whom you want to please.

This is a corollary to one of the life lessons that Sarah (of Yes and Yes) shared on her birthday: that excuses are embarrassing and simply a way of saying “I’m not making this a priority.”

News flash: not everything and everyone can be a priority. And when you prioritize something, something or someone else is demoted, leading to the possibility for damaged expectations if not managed.

What does this mean in daily life? Don’t lead others on with the belief that they are a priority. Don’t make promises you can’t keep (this is hard for Americans–we tend to be ingratiating, saying “yes” to things we don’t intend to follow through on). Rather, clearly communicate what is important to you right now, and why the certain person, activity, or thing doesn’t fit into that schema.

Conversely, if someone doesn’t make you a priority when you thought they would (this is easy to imagine: friend flakes out on date, etc.) don’t get down on yourself. It’s not a reflection on your value, but a reflection on their situation or something external to your relationship. In other words, it’s a them problem, not a you problem.

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