“If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late, you might as well not even show up.”
Most of us have had a statement that we heard from someone growing up that’s stuck with us. Even if we forget what the actual phrase is, something from it stays with us. It may be the thought of, “I can’t be late to this event,” or, “Someone’s going to judge me if I’m not there on time.” It may be the feeling of a pit in your stomach or your heart beating quickly. It may be the action of setting four alarms to get ready to leave at a certain time.
Statements like the ones above seem like unspoken rules of engagement that create uncomfortable feelings when we feel we “fail” at them. We find ourselves holding guilt and shame related to what others have told us in how to act. When we take a step back to think about it, here are some questions to ask the thought or feeling:
Does this thought originate from me or is something else influencing it?
Am I validating my emotion and creating acceptance around it?
Is this thought or action in line with what I value?
When we take a look at what we value, it allows us to really see what’s important to us. When we use the statement above, it illustrates that if we are late, we may as well not even show up for the event. However, if we don’t show, we might miss out on opportunities that come with attending. It’s finding the balance between valuing time and the other meaningful things that make up life.
Next time that you have a thought or uncomfortable feeling, reflect on the things that can influence the thought or emotion and then see if it aligns with what you value to move forward.