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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

When are expectations unhealthy?

Today I've got an article running on At the Well about how to say "no" with grace.  If you have a problem saying "no," I hope you'll read my article.

I've taken it from my book that has just been released, "I Used to Be So Organized."  And this section on saying no is tucked in a chapter about increased expectations.  I see increased expectations as a major reason why many women struggle with gaining control over their lives. 

Here's just one example. Back in the day (whenever that was), if a message needed to be communicated, the burden was on the initiator of the message.  That meant writing a letter, or calling until the person got through.  Now this is reversed.  

The burden to communicate is on the recipient. People can send me a text, email or message on Facebook.  They can leave me a voice message on my home or cell phone.  I won't even try to figure out instant messaging because that's just one more way people can toss the ball to me.  Then, the burden is on me to respond.  And if I don't respond promptly, it reflects badly on me.

I can spend so much of my day trying to respond to others that I can't accomplish my priorities.  This is a problem for many women I know.  So what can we do?

If this is a problem for you, perhaps it's time to reduce the ways people can get in touch with you until you can catch up.  Turn off your answering machine,  take a social networking fast, or set up an automatic response on your email letting people know you'll respond within a week to non-urgent requests.  Make sure you give key people in your life a hot line to reach you during this time.

I know this may seem challenging in this culture, but the truth is we don't need to be controlled by the request of others.  Sometimes we just need to give ourselves permission to NOT respond immediately to every request.

Grace & Peace,


  1. Glynnis,
    I found myself smiling as I read your post. My cell phone is only for emergencies. That means it is almost never turned on. We don't answer the phone during meals. We don't Tweet or text. I'm not saying that we are necessarily neat or organized but we do understand that there are simply times that we need to step back and be without all the hustle and bustle of being at everyone's beck and call. Not an attitude in keeping with the times we live in, but it works for us.

  2. I chuckled when I saw the cover -- that has happened to me (one blue and one black shoe)
    Just signed up to do facebook somewhat reluctantly as it will be one more thing. Not exactly simplifying.