I’m sharing some links to articles that all say the same thing, in different ways, using the same exercise.
Here’s the gist of it: Substitute “I don’t have time” with “this/you is/are not a priority to me”.
It’s a great exercise. No excuses. No wordplay to use as camouflage. Clear message. Clarity.
The person you are saying “I don’t have time” to is receiving the message of “you are not a priority”, whether you recognize that’s what you are saying or not.
They already instinctively know that they are not a priority. They already have the pit in their stomach, big or small, of feeling less than whatever or whoever else you chose to spend time on. They know that gut feeling of knowing where they stand. Or where they don’t.
Everything else you are doing, everyone else you are talking to, every other thing you have taken on and said yes to shows your priorities. No matter what your words say.
The disappointment they feel is valid, and most likely reflects the depths of feeling they have toward you.
If they are in denial of where they are on your priority list, they will help you disguise it, accept your excuses and help excuse you as well. “He is so busy with extra work hours” “He volunteers a lot” “She had plans with someone else” “She was so tired from such a busy day” “He was already in for the night” “He wanted to watch his tv show”
As you exchange “you are not a priority” with “I don’t have time”, it also allows the other person to move on. They will hear more of a truth from you. The message will be clear. It may hurt, it may not, but at least it’s out in the open. They can adjust your place in their priorities… freely, cleanly, peacefully. There is freedom in that.
Clarity. It does a mind and body good.