I had the best of intentions. I aimed to get to that project I learned about two months ago. I didn’t mean to let my friend down. But in reality, I had.
Has that ever happened to you?
I kept chipping away at my to-do list and finally got around to what my friend had asked me to do. But why did it take so long? What kept me from making it a higher priority? And what if I hadn’t gotten to it even still?
We all have good intentions. You’ve likely heard the proverb, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions,” which summarizes the dilemma. The truth is we judge ourselves by our intentions, but we judge others by their actions. It’s a double standard, and it’s not fair.
Think about the last time you had to wait for someone to do something for you or to get back to you about a matter. How did that waiting period feel? Wasn’t it frustrating to know that your priority wasn’t your friend’s? How do we remedy that?
The best solution is to take the Golden Rule to heart: Treat others the way you want to be treated. If we want to be a priority in the lives of others, then we have to make them a priority in ours. As with many things, it’s easier said than done.
It would probably also help to have the same standard for ourselves that we have for others. A lot of times, that’s not the case. The grace we judge ourselves with should be extended to those around us.
And we need to know our limits. If we’re steadily busy with extracurricular activities, we don’t do our friends any favors when we say we can help with their requests — but know we can’t really get to them in a timely fashion. We need to be willing to say no in those cases. No, we don’t like to let friends down, but our honesty actually helps them and avoids disappointing them. If they know we’re too busy to help with a certain project, that frees them to seek help from someone else.
Contrary to popular belief, the thought doesn’t really count. It’s the follow-through that matters. What can you accomplish today that you’ve been meaning to get to for a while?
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"