Friday, February 15, 2013

You remember what's important to you

day 46 by Sober Eye of Reason
day 46, a photo by Sober Eye of Reason on Flickr.
OK, by show of hands - who forgot to leave for vacation last year?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Didn't think so.  Who in the world would forget to go on vacation!

Now for the daily questions:

  • Who forgot to pick up bread on the way home from work?
  • Who forgot to brush their teeth?
  • Who forgot to pay the electric bills?
And the relationship questions:
  • Who forgot to send a card to their brother on his birthday?  Their mother?  Their wife?
  • Who has missed one or more wedding anniversaries (and gotten in trouble over it)?
  • Who forgets what team their spouse roots for?
Sure there is a such thing as attention deficit.  There are jobs that are stressful and mentally consuming.  But you remember the things that are important to you.  You remember where you store your socks, and because you know you need them every day you always store them in the same place so you can find them easily.

Forgetting can be the behavioral extension of "Don't want to."  That's why kids "forget" to make their beds.  They put it out of their minds because they don't like to do it - unless they are particularly orderly by temperament.  That's why teenagers "forget" to call home to let their parents know where they are, even though the cell phone is right under their thumbs while they are texting their friends.

Forgetting can be an intention versus impact situation.  For instance, you might be absolutely caught up in what you are doing at your desk and forget to call a customer at the appointed time.  You might have intended to call them, but the fact is that you didn't.  And that you didn't creates an impact in the mind of the customer.  The customer draws impressions that
  1. You're disorganized, or
  2. You don't care about them
  3. You think that their issue is not material, whatever it is
If your brain is easily distracted you need to have systems, and maybe even backup systems.  Furthermore, if something is important to the other PEOPLE who are important to you, unless you want them to think that they are only background in your life, you had better figure out how to remember.  Otherwise you come off as a self-absorbed cad who takes them for granted.

The key people in your life have conditioned expectations for behavior, and whether you think they are reasonable or not, they are what they are.  Remembering shows caring.  And in the world of Facebook, right or wrong your loved ones are reading about all of the ways in which their friends and acquaintances are being honored by being remembered in some way.  Is it right to be judged by societal standards?  Maybe not, but while you're living in one it's a reality, and looking away from it hoping it will go away isn't going to work.

Great relationships start with honorable intentions, but they aren't maintained without follow-through.  If you are consistently having a hard time remembering a certain person or certain special occasions, perhaps you have a gut-check to do.  Are you living out of alignment with what you really want?  Your forgetting may be providing clues to you that some changes are in order.  But if you truly want this person, this job, this customer in your life, you need to get your act together before it's too late, and figure out the systems you need to implement to help you remember the important stuff.

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