Dear David: I have a problem with staying on a schedule and usually end up being late, or barely on time, for just about everything I do. My former boyfriend told me that this is the thing that drove him away, and that it's a sign of self-centerdness. What do you think?
(David responds) While many people try to rationalize the behavior pattern of "lateness" with comments such as " . . . this is just who I am . . . it's genetics . . . no one is perfect, accept me or move on . . .," there may be something much deeper than these surface remarks that we need to look at. Chronic lateness could be a sign of the desire for someone to control those around them, to let others know that they will set the schedule and arrive when they do, regardless of what it means to others. So, your former boyfriend may have a point that you need to look at more closely. If your being late holds everyone around you up, which inevitably it always does, then you are being selfish. Even if you apologize, it is still a sign that says, "the things I had to do that kept me from being on time are more important than you or your time." If you began to squirm as you read that last line, you may need to read it again. Oftentimes what we don't want to acknowledge, we try to push away.
Many people who are constantly late do so because they have to create "drama" in their life in order to constantly be the center of attention. Children who desire constant attention and who do not get it may purposefully disobey their parents in order to have people pay attention to them. Any attention is better than none, so even if it comes from being scolded, it's better to them than not being recognized. As adults, many of us bring our childish acts with us in order to continue being the center of attention. The adult who is always late to family functions, parties, etc.guarantees themselves attention. They know people will be talking about them and joking as they walk in the room, "Hey, so glad you could finally make it." Again, to these self-centered people, some attention is better than none at all.
Look inside and ask yourself what you need to do to change your patterns so that you can start arriving on time. The benefits to yourself and others will be well worth the efforts. Start today.
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Love, peace, david