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Maybe It’s Time to Unsubscribe

A while ago, the email icon on the phone application would display the number of unread emails that were inside of your inbox. One day, when my sister and I were looking at my phone together, she noticed the number that was displayed on the icon and was a little shocked, confused, and humored all at the same time. The number on the icon was over 108,000! And I’m not exaggerating either. She even questioned whether or not the icon was accurate. I opened up the mail application and showed her that it was indeed accurate. Keep in mind that there were also lots of emails sitting in that inbox that I had already opened and should have deleted once I had no more use for them.

Does having 108,000 unread emails in your inbox sound overwhelming to you? The truth of the matter is that for a long time, having that amount of email became so normal to me that it was no longer overwhelming because I had found ways to maneuver around the fact that my email provider only guaranteed me a limited amount of space that I could use on their server for free. I knew that once I reached that threshold of allotted space that I would either be required to pay the provider to gain access to more space or I would need to get rid of enough email to bring me back under the threshold. I was not going to pay for a free email address, so even though I would come close to reaching the storage capacity, more often than not, I always made time to get rid of enough email so that I never reached the maximum capacity.

The crazy thing is that I will probably never even read all of those emails. And as a matter of fact, sometimes I go in & just start deleting a bunch of them. The problem with that, is when you just delete the emails without unsubscribing from the actual subscription list, the emails will show up in your inbox again. They might not necessarily show up as the same exact email, but you’ll get some similar emails because it’s from the same company. At one point in time, I deliberately subscribed to those companies, which gave them permission to send their information to my inbox. Sometimes I gave them permission because I wanted to opt in for a discount (I LOVE a good discount) and other times it was because I wanted to earn points towards a store reward. No matter the reason, the fact remains that those companies would have never even started to email me if I had not given them my email address and indicated that I was okay with them contacting me at their leisure.

Recently, I took some time to dig through those emails and actually unsubscribe from a whole lot of them. This was the first time in a long time that I was deliberate about making a decision on which companies that I wanted to keep receiving emails from and which ones I did not. In essence, I decided to weigh the value that each company was providing me with and then permanently get rid of the ones that no longer served a purpose in my life.

When I began unsubscribing from email lists, I noticed that it was really easy to cut ties with some of the companies because the unsubscribe buttons on these lists were located at the very top of the email in distinctive letters. Once I clicked on the unsubscribe button, I was taken to another browser page where I instantly received a message that let me know that I had been taken off of their subscription list & that I would no longer receive any emails from their company. On the contrary, there were some email lists that made it very difficult for me to unsubscribe from. The unsubscribe button on these lists were very hard to locate and were usually placed in the middle of the email or at the very bottom in small script. Once I clicked on the unsubscribe button, I was taken to another browser page where I was asked a series of questions, similar to a survey, about why I chose to unsubscribe. Most of the time, the verbiage on those pages suggested that I had accidentally unsubscribed and often provided me with an option to opt back in.

Thinking about everything that it took to get my email inbox back to a manageable state, I want to remind you that as you navigate the personal relationships in your life, there are going to be moments when you must make it a priority to thoroughly examine the health of those relationships, determine the value of them, and then decide what to do with them. As with all things, it is in your best interest to consult our Heavenly Father for discernment, wisdom, and guidance, as these decisions should not be made without careful consideration. Some relationships will be healthy enough that they can remain just the way that they are. Other relationships will require some work to bring it back to a healthy state. And yet other relationships may have become so toxic that it is best to “unsubscribe” from them.

If you decide to end a personal relationship that has become toxic, keep in mind that you can encounter different reactions from the other party, which may be similar to what I experienced when I attempted to unsubscribe from those email lists. Some people will mutually agree to let the relationship go peacefully without any expectation that you will offer them an explanation as to why you decided to end it. Some people will ask you, and even expect you, to qualify your decision to terminate the relationship. And others will try to convince you that you have somehow made a mistake by ending the relationship, and then suggest that you should reconsider. As you decide what next steps to take after examining your personal relationships, be intentional to continually nurture the healthy ones and unsubscribe from the ones that are toxic beyond repair.

Relationship Strategist CheVaughn

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