One thing that irritates me in life is people arriving late for things. Like sufficiently overwhelmingly late.
We had an arrangement that you would arrive at seven and it’s now twenty-past seven and i haven’t even heard from you.
Now it’s helpful to realise that this comes from a place. A lot of people see punctuality as a virtue and some cultures might hold it as a greater value than other cultures and for specific people it might be their thing and not others. Just as there might be a number of reasons why certain people don’t particularly hold ‘arriving on time’ as a value. But for me it is linked to disappointment as a child on a number of occasions where i was expecting someone to come and they just didn’t arrive and so looking out of windows and going outside to look up and down and road on numerous occasions before finally getting to that realisation that this particular expectation is not going to be met.
At the moment we seem to be lateness magnets as there are a number of people in our lives who, if we organise a thing at a time, are very likely to be somewhat or quitewhat late. i do believe that living in Cape Town ups the probability of this by a thousand percent or something as it’s a bit of a known excuse – “Ah, Cape Town!” – as to why people do not arrive on time and surprisingly ALL OF THIS is another conversation for another time.
That is now what this post is about.
My friend Megan actually taught me a lot of this in the race conversations and journey i have been on and maybe just social media vibes in general… and this IS what this post is about – not everything you read is about you!
So using the above context as, well, um, context, let me suggest that if i made a Facebook status moaning about the fact that my friends are never on time, there might be a number of people in and around my life who might feel aggrieved and drop me a private message to say, “I can’t believe you made that statement about me!” And in terms of it being true, they would be right, but if i was to make a statement about people arriving late it would certainly be aimed at a whole number of people, and also maybe just Cape Town culture in general, and so not actually a specific dig at one person.
If i was to write a piece on lateness highlighting why it may be a problem [ha ha, now this entire blog piece is starting to feel like a subtweet – it’s really not!] and one of the typically late friends was to read it and recognise themselves in the piece, there are two likely scenarios at play:
#1 – i AM writing about them and have chosen to be subtle and underhanded in the hopes that they will pick it up and change their ways.
#2 – the second possibility is that they are feeling convicted about something that is a very real reality in their lives that they would do well to listen to and address and it is not a personal attack at all.
We tend to see this in a lot of the race conversations we hold. And also when we are talking about treatment of women and poverty and a variety of topics. If i think someone is targeting me specifically, then it is a lot easier for me to get offended by that and avoid the topic altogether, which people do a lot of the time. It’s a quick and easy misdirection and the focus can become my righteous indignation and not the issue at hand.
This is an area many of us can learn from and i think it’s a journey of asking the right questions any time i feel offended or aggrieved when i read something. i would suggest the way through it is as easy as asking the question, ‘Is this relevant for me and if so what do i need to do differently?’
Which works with a post or statement or comment that is directly aimed at me as well as one that is just a general challenge/warning/concern.
So when i read something on social media, when i hear something in a talk or sermon, that causes some anger or irritation or recognition to rise up within myself, am i going to be big enough to stick with it and push into what might be an uncomfortable space and honestly investigate whether or not it might be helpful for me to engage with it and possible seek change in my own life?
i think the world would become a much better place a lot quicker if more of us could start getting this one right… it’s not always about me, but when it is, then i need to take notice and seek the change.
What do you think? [yes, this bit is about you!] Have you ever noticed this in yourself, or maybe those around you?