Where are your priorities??

I have a hard time relating to people who have their priorities out of whack. It’s like there could be a giant tree that has fallen and crushed the roof of their house but they want to talk about the weed in the lawn that is really bothering them. I don’t know what to say to this kind of talk. I don’t have a lot of patience for it.

It could be that focusing on trivia when there are much bigger issues at hand is a coping skill (albeit not a very good one). And that might be the case in some instances, especially when the bigger problem is out of their control or simply too much to deal with all at once. That I understand. As I write this, I’m trying to think if I ever do that; become preoccupied with small stuff when I can’t do anything about the larger concerns. It’s possible.

What I’m getting at, though, isn’t about situations where nothing can be done. It is when people willfully refuse to prioritize, when they could do something about an important problem or issue that needs their attention, and instead obsess over minutia and – significantly – want to talk about it and enlist your involvement. They want you to respond in kind. That I cannot do. Humoring people is not my strong suit.

I gauge my response, if any, depending on the relationship, with responses like:
Why is that important?
Why are you telling me about this?
Why is that bothering you?
Don’t you have bigger problems?
You might want to forget about the weed and do something about the tree in your roof.

One idea that keeps coming up time and again is that what all people, whoever they are, really want is to be acknowledged, valued, and heard. To feel that they, and their contribution, matter. And I see a good deal of evidence to support that. On a personal level it rings true too. I have a hard time, though, reconciling this apparent truism with all the trivia talkers, the people who forego important things, the high priority stuff, in favor of minutia. Who seem to have no priorities.

10 thoughts on “Where are your priorities??

  1. Jim Link

    Years ago , Colette, in the late ’70’s – 1970’s , not 1870’s – I had a touch of this inability to prioritize. During long periods of unemployment I beguiled the hours – months actually – by playing chess, reading books, visiting friends, watching TV, worrying about our foreign policy,writing bad fiction. I reveled in a frenzy of avoidance until I ran out of money and HAD to concoct a resume, put on a suit, submit to interviews ,etc. Idleness was bliss ; change was agony.

    One very weird aspect of this dance of irresponsibility was that I could SEE myself doing it as it painfully lingered on – I was very aware of myself fooling myself.

    I suspect that at the root of this sojourn in cloud cuckoo land was a deep unawareness of my limited virtues and gifts and of my very real limits. Introspection was painful, therefore action and cure were beyond my grasp.

    Of course now I am a disciplined , generous, workaholic, always doing the right thing at the right moment with pizzazz and certainty!

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Wow. Jim you’ve impressed me. (Sincerely.) I understand avoidance and distraction. Sometimes I think I do my best work when my back is against the wall. But I make a real distinction – and maybe you do? – between fooling around on my time (and knowing it, as you also suggest) vs. hooking other people into my stuff (“Hey everybody! Come look at this bothersome weed in my lawn!”).

      Thanks for this thoughtful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. John Callaghan

    What a thoughtful post. And I can understand exactly what you are saying. I can also really identify with Jim and I’ll just add that when I was young I had a horrible inability to really see the size and scope of a problem. With age came wisdom and an ability to see things for what they are.

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    Reply
    1. writerinsoul Post author

      And a thoughtful reply from you. I am still working hard on seeing things for what they are and have made real improvement. I also related to Jim’s comment as I certainly have frittered my share of time. A large part of starting this blog was: what-are-you-waiting-for?-it’s-time-to-get-moving.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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