When people tell you they don’t have the money or time to ‘show up’… it often means they didn’t make ‘showing up’ a priority.
‘Showing up’, in this case, can refer to someone not being there when you need them, but it can also mean ‘not showing up at the gym to get fit’, or ‘not showing up to do the work that turns dreams into reality’, etc.
After telling my friend and roommate I didn’t have the time to fix something in the house, he replied:
‘You have the time, you just don’t want to make it a priority. If I told you to fix it in exchange for a briefcase holding a Million Dollars, you’d find the time to do so.’
It took me 10 years to admit it, but he was right.
Often, the same applies for ‘not having the money’.
If someone were told they’re invited to have a cup of tea with the Queen in 6 months time, but the flight and lodging would set them back $600… you might be surprised how they would find a way to either make or save an additional $100 a month.
Note: ‘having a cup of tea with the Queen’, in this instance, is referring to something that this person deems desirable. It can be replaced by ‘a meet and greet with their favourite movie star’ or ‘a free trip through space with Sir Richard Branson’ – whatever it is that they desire.
If ‘showing up’ was truly their priority, they would make the time. They would likely be able to get the money. They would find the means.
The reason why most people rather underline practical reasons for ‘not showing up’, is because dealing with the emotional impact of admitting how their priorities actually line up is too heavy a burden.
What to do with this information?
From your end… make sure to get your priorities straight and be open about it with others, but also with yourself. Align your actions with your values (here’s a practical guide of doing just that).
From the receiving end of someone else not showing up for you… remember you don’t have the full picture of someone else’s life, you don’t have all the information. Plus, you can’t expect to be the center of someone else’s universe.
Even your closest friends won’t always be able to make you their priority when you need them. Let them know how it makes you feel, try to understand their choice, and make peace with their decision.
What you would do in their perceived situation, is often a bad predictor of what they would do in their actual situation.
Learn to live with it. Life is too short to hold grudges.