Of recent we have been flooded with a display of numerous marriage proposals on social media. I saw one recently on Instagram and I just had a thought. I don’t know whether the people who record the moment via video are told in advance, but I suppose so. The usual scene is; guy and girl are together in various types of settings. Then guy goes on one knee, takes out the ring, and pops the big question, “Will you marry me?” Girls vary in their responses, but the most usual responses are, girl in shock and excitement, puts hand on mouth and almost instantly after guy pops the big question, girl stretches hand towards guy as a sign of ‘I accept’ and says “Yes” on the spot!
I believe some of us have either been or have witnessed this scene sometime in our lifetime. I am sure you may be wondering ‘Bongeka, what’s the big deal with this?’ Well, let me share my thoughts and insights on this. I was reflecting on something else when I saw the marriage proposal on Instagram and I thought to myself it’s an interesting analogy I can draw from to make my point.
Recently a friend of mine asked me to help him with something and at first because of the ‘negative’ emotions I was feeling at the time, I nearly almost immediately gave him a response that was not thoughtful. But over the years I have learnt the power to say, “Let me sleep on it” even despite pressures from the external world to make an instant decision. Indeed after sleeping on it, I woke up, prayed, thought about it and re-looked at the situation with fresh eyes. I was able to fully apply my mind and see all the incredible benefits that the opportunity presented. If I had instantly responded when the request came, I would have regretted and missed the opportunity. The free dictionary describes ‘sleep on it’ or ‘sleeping on something’ as, “To postpone a decision until the following day so that one has additional time to consider it.” (https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/sleep+on+it)
There is such wisdom in actually “sleeping on it” before giving a response. I have consistently found that I make better decisions once I have slept and have had time to process things. But the pressure to say ‘Yes’ now and make instantaneous decisions is synonymous with our generation. Experts have deemed us the ‘instant gratification’ generation. We want things now and fast because we don’t have the patience. Even in corporate environments the culture of ‘instant results’ is constantly fed. I don’t know how many times I have heard people in corporates say, ‘We want quick turnaround times’; ‘We don’t have the luxury to delay adoption of this change, people need to adopt these changes in the next month’. I really don’t like these statements because I believe that nothing solid can be built quickly.
So back to the marriage proposal analogy, when the marriage question pops up; ‘Will you marry me?’, is it rude or inhumane to delay the response? After all this is a lifelong decision and surely it cannot be made on the spot. But, I also acknowledge that circumstances differ and maybe the ‘Yes’ is not always an instant response. I do believe that in some instances the ‘Yes’ is a premeditated answer prepared way before the big question. But, I do still believe there is wisdom we can draw from the marriage proposal scene. The ‘sleeping on it’ concept is powerful because it reminds us to appreciate the process of being patient and not to be hasty. I am often not too trusting of people who respond quickly to things, because to me I read it as haste and someone being too lazy to apply their mind. I think in this instant gratification generation, I want patience to be fashionable again.
I end with this, Dear future bae, please take note, if you ever do the usual knee on the floor proposal, and say to me, “Will you marry me?”, there is a huge possibility that I would say, “Well thank you, can I sleep on it?”
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