Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Telling the truth Tuesday - Doing what you say you're going to do

In this amazingly busy, complex world , living life in balance becomes more and more difficult. I've always been a person who will do everything in her power to keep her promises. If I say I'm going to do something, I will do it. If I can't do it, I will let you know and tell you why. If I agreed to do it, and something happens to prevent me from doing it, I will let you know. This is something I have always felt strongly about. One of my first published articles was an op ed piece about this issue. People are afraid to say "no." We're afraid to hurt people's feelings. We're afraid of what people will think of us. We believe we're super-people and can do everything. I have friends who constantly complain they don't have enough time to do anything, yet continue to take on additional projects.

It's so much better for us as well as for those asking us to do something if we tell the truth in the first place. So, I'm learning to ask myself some questions before saying "yes." Is this something I want to do? Do I have the time? If I don't have the time, am I willing to make the time? Is it worth it for me to make the time? Can this person find someone else who can do this just as well as me? Do I need to do it despite all of the above?
Once I go through this kind of thinking, the answer usually reveals itself.

The reason I'm writing about this today is that I asked someone to read my memoir quite a long time ago. This is someone in one of the forums I participate in. It is someone who reads and writes quite a bit about memoir. They agreed. After checking once to make sure this person received my memoir, I have heard nothing from them. Truly, I believe it is common courtesy to tell someone what is happening. Either, 1) I haven't gotten to it yet; 2) I got to it and didn't like it; 3) I am not going to read it because... whatever...just communicate.

If only we could learn to share clearly and honestly with one another, without rancor, without judgment, without blaming, we'd all be so much better off. Don't you think?



Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Oh yes. Definitely! I've had to turn down a couple of things recently because I just don't have the time...or the time to do them well. And you're so right--it's better in the long run for someone to just say no than not follow through.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

I totally understand the over commitment side of things. It was worse for me when I worked outside my home. Now because I am loving writing and still treasure every moment with my family I no longer say yes to everything.
If I say yes to someone or something I'll move brick walls to get it done.
God, family, writing/reading and then all others fall where they may.
Giggles and Guns

Cyndi said...

I spent so much time saying yes to everything that my current first inclination is to say no. Instead, I usually just say I'll check my schedule and get back to them. That gives me time to decide if I'm going to do it. I know I am not a book reviewer like the person you asked to read your memoir, but if it makes you feel any better I finally ordered it and I will read it! :)

Karen Walker said...

Oh, Cyndi, thank you for that. Now I'm nervous...

Mason Canyon said...

Sometimes we say yes because we truly want to do what is asked of us and have good intentions of doing it. But somehow little by little other things happen and before we know it, more than a little time has gone by. We may think it's only been a few weeks when in fact it was months ago that we agreed to do something. And sometimes it is just an oversight.

Thoughts in Progress

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I agree wholeheartedly! Know when to say when and tell people no.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Okay, I know you're not talking about me because I read it and posted a review, right? I've been in this situation before and usually I don't follow up because I'm afraid I'll hear the dreaded words, "I just couldn't get into it." Or, "Well, now that you ask, I must be honest. I didn't like it all that much."

Karen Walker said...

I totally get that and agree with you. Hmm. Perhaps I should get in touch...
You're right.It's not you. Following up is difficult because of the very things you mention here. But I'd rather hear those words then no response at all.

Joanne said...

I do agree. Sometimes silence makes a mess that can be avoided with a few words. And even if someone doesn't like something, a book, a recipe, an outfit, there are always, always polite and courteous ways of communicating this.

Helen Ginger said...

I'm learning to say no, which is rather sad considering my age. I should have learned a long time ago.

If it's been a long time since you sent the memoir and have heard nothing, it could be you won't.

Straight From Hel

Jody Hedlund said...

I agree, Karen. It's so hard to be completely honest when we're not sure how the recipient will recieve the reply. I know I'm always worried about hurting someone's feelings. In a way it's selfish on my part, because I don't want them to stop liking me. I am trying to get over that!

Karen Walker said...

Yes, Helen, I get that. You're right. Sigh! I guess it hurts because this isn't some reviewer or agent. It's someone in a forum I thought would be supportive, even if they didn't like the book.

Patricia Stoltey said...

It's so easy to say yes and take on too much, especially when the task is something I really want to do. However, I'm a lot better at "no" than I was when I was younger. I found it's more painful to send that "update" e-mail and admit I'm running behind than it would have been to turn down the task in the first place.

Elspeth Futcher said...

The awful thing is when you say yes to something and then don't follow through you feel as if you've let the other person down - which, let's face it, you probably have. It's an uncomfortable conversation to have. You're absolutely right that it's best to be honest and forthcoming, but sometimes it's a tricky lesson to learn.

Glynis Peters said...

DH nearly fell over the other day. He heard me say no, I am sorry to someone wanting a favour.
A very rare thing to happen, I admit.

How rude of someone to ask to read your work, then not communicate with you. I could never do that, I have better manners.

Maryannwrites said...

Hear! Hear! Not following up on something promised seems to be more and more common now a' days. I'm like you, Karen, I won't make a promise if I am not sure I can keep it, and I have learned to say "no" when I know I cannot take on a project.

I have, however, run into a dilemma regarding reviewing. I have requested a book for review, then really didn't like it. Hesitated to write the author and tell him or her that I hated the book. So now, I add a disclaimer to my request. I ask for the book for possible review, letting the author know I will only write a review if I can at least make most of it positive.

Karen Walker said...

Maryann, ouch, I never thought about that. Perhaps that, indeed, is what happened here. I think now I will just let it go......
Glynis, I asked this person to read, not the other way around. Glad your hubbs didn't fall!
Jody, I'm still learning this lesson, and I'm a lot older than you, honey. Just keep working at it.
Elspeth, yes, it's tricky and hard.
Patricia, yes, some things just get easier the older I get.

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

Whispers was delivered today. Sadly, I won't get to start it until tomorrow. :-(
Giggles and Guns

Jemi Fraser said...

I do have a hard time saying no, but I'm getting better at it. Life is crazy busy, but when I give my word I keep it.

Karen Walker said...

Oh, Maribeth, thank you so much for wanting to read it and actually ordering it. Okay, I'm nervous...
Jemi, That's great that you're getting better. I'd like to say it gets easier, but for me, it hasn't.

Vicki Rocho said...

I have a hard time saying no. Something I need to work on!

Can you send this person a note and say more or less what you said here?