the word I’m giving up

These past few weeks have been especially nutty in our little world, and I noticed a trend when talking to well, anyone. Over and over there was one word that keep popping up into conversation – from both sides.

BUSY.

How are you? Well besides being super busy, great!

How’s work going? So much work and sooooooooo BUSY.

How’s school? B-U-S-Y.

I’ve noticed that I throw this word around entirely too much and you know what? It doesn’t make me feel better. It makes me feel overwhelmed and flat-out tired. Like I’m chained to my to-do list. It implies to everyone that I’m preoccupied and not available to have much of a conversation. As soon as the word “busy” comes out of my mouth my world becomes much more hectic and a lot less manageable. Can anyone else relate?

Let’s be real: I don’t know a single human being who doesn’t have a myriad of things going on. It’s life, and whether you’re a student, teacher, career woman, mom who stays home, mom who has a 9-5, or grandmother—chances are, you’ve got commitments that keep on multiplying. Everyone’s busy.

True, we live in a fast-paced “more is more” society where everyone is running at rapid speeds in a hundred different directions every day. We have families to take care of, friends to stay connected to, jobs to excel in, church commitments we want to honor and easily 300 activities and appointments to run to each week. Whew – just saying all that makes me want to take a nap. BUT, my friends, we don’t have to stay stuck in the capital B Busy cycle so many of us have been slaves to.

I’m starting to believe the first step in recovery is to make a conscious effort not to defer to using the word so often. Of course there are times when it’s okay—and necessary—to say you’re busy. However, saying it less gives it the weight it needs when you really need to say it. So yes, dear friends, I’m giving up using this word unless it’s really necessary – here’s how:

I’m sharing when I’m available – instead of when I’m not. So many times I have been that girl to respond to a friend’s “Let’s get together!” text with all the reasons why I can’t – work, baby, meetings, doc appt, etc. I could feel myself falling asleep just re-reading it and realized there has to be a better way. I’m making a conscious effort now to share when I’m free, reasoning it’s a lot simpler and more effective to focus on the positive – spending time with my friend.

I’m no longer using “busy” as an excuse. Maybe it’s just me, but I am the worst at citing “being busy” when I either don’t want to do something or am unable to do something. For whatever reason, I’ve guilted myself into feeling like I must give all the reasons why I can’t do something (maybe I’m sleep deprived because of a teething baby or have a call I can’t miss) instead of simply asking for a rain check. For a classic oversharer like me, this is freeing me up to simply say “I can’t this time” or “rain check?” and go from there.

I’m acknowledging my friends are busy, too. We all know that person who likes to tell you all the reasons why they’re busier than you and you know, it’s exhausting going back and forth sharing each other’s “busyness.” It’s so refreshing when someone acknowledges that you’re busy, too and vice versa. Maybe when someone shares their insane to-do list with you and is obviously stressed, lift that person up by saying something like “Whew, you have a lot going on but you’ve got this!” A little encouragement goes a long way.

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