The title of this post was inspired by an e-mail I got from somebody, last week.
This person had e-mailed me a question, asking about possible therapy supports for someone. When I didn’t answer back within a day, she sent me another e-mail, starting with the title phrase — “Friendly reminder” — asking for the information again.
I took note of that, because quick responses are something that matter to me, a lot.
I sometimes feel a lot of stress, when I don’t get back to people quickly enough. That’s true at work and elsewhere (including here in the blogosphere, I must confess).
Of course, that leads to the question, “What is quickly enough?” My supervisor, at work, has suggested that I ease off on myself, and allow myself more time and room to get back to people. That’s always an important, friendly reminder from her, because, in my work, a lot of people ask me questions, looking for help, every day. And I CAN’T get back to everybody as quickly as I would like. It’s impossible.
That’s an ongoing struggle for me — to allow more space and time for myself to respond. I need to remind myself that — while I’m not responding back as quickly as I would like to — it’s the best I can do. I’m only human.
But I struggle with that, a lot. And when I’m feeling down about myself, I label myself as “not responsive enough.” (And other harsher things, which I won’t name here.) (However, I will direct you to this list, for a friendly reminder about cognitive distortions including “labeling.”)
(Strangely enough, in my two yearly reviews, “responsive” was a word that people used, many times, describing me. That surprised me, each time, because it didn’t match my own wishes and expectations for myself.)
One thing I’ve considered: maybe I want to respond quickly to people because that’s what I WANT FROM OTHERS.
I’m sure that’s true. And my own yearning for quick responses? It’s based on old feelings and experiences. When I was a kid, I needed people to respond quickly, when I was in pain, and they didn’t.
I’m sure I’m not alone, in that experience (even though the circumstances may vary).
Another thing I’ve noticed: I’m more forgiving of other people’s non-perfect responsiveness, than I am of my own.
I’m sure I’m not alone in THAT, either.
So, to get back to the beginning of my post: Somebody, last week, sent me an e-mail saying “Friendly reminder,” when I didn’t respond to her initial request within a day.
And this was my reaction to that:
And what did “Wow!” mean? Lots of things, including:
- Gee! She has some nerve, asking for me to respond that quickly. Doesn’t she know I have LOTS of requests, every day?
- I wish I could ask for something I need, with that kind of nerve.
- That’s really an effective way to express that need. (My proof of that: my first, annoyed response faded within seconds).
- Obviously, her need was more critical than I realized at first.
- I want to learn from her, and use that phrase when I’m feeling the need for a quick response.
And then I responded back to her, very quickly, and I was happy to do so.
Okay! It’s time to look for photos on my iPhone, to adorn this post before I end it.
Actually, when I take a photo, it’s a friendly reminder to self: “Share this image with somebody, some day.” I do give myself space and time, with those reminders. I don’t pressure myself. I know I have all the time I need, to decide when to share those images.
Here are the photos whose times have come, today:
Friendly Reminders: A Photo Essay
That photo is a friendly reminder that our last Argentine Tango lesson is coming up, this Wednesday. That’s Chloe, the instructor’s dog, who has been attending dance classes for many years. Because she’s watched so many dancers, I’m assuming Chloe may be better* at the Tango than I am, at this point.
Friendly reminder to self: Decide whether to sign up for more tango lessons.
When I was walking around the hospital where I work, yesterday, I saw this at somebody’s work station and quickly snapped this photo. That flower looks blurry, not just because of my hurriedness in taking the photo, but also because that friggin’ flower was DANCING. There was no sound or music of any kind, but that flower just wouldn’t stop.
Friendly reminder: When people are doing challenging work, with no windows in sight, it helps to remember flowers. And dancing, too.
Here are the plants outside my office, photo also taken yesterday. If you look at the far right of that photo, you may be able to see the bird that appeared in a previous blog post, here.
Friendly reminder: the holidays are approaching.
Last photo, taken before I started this post this morning:
Friendly reminder: More snow is coming soon, to many neighborhoods near me.
Thanks for reminders — friendly and otherwise — and for all of you reading today.
* For those of you who are keeping score on Cognitive Distortions, there’s another one: Comparisons.