Tool For Tuesday: What Is NOT On Your To Do List?

I got a comment from a student at UCLA who thanked me for my blog post, “If You Feel Like S—t, You’re Being Fertilized to Grow.” She said the posts help her and other students. That makes me grateful. I’m just passing on things I’ve learned. If they help you, that is great. Because writing these words helps me. I now understand that we can’t keep it unless we give it away.

Here’s today’s Tool For Tuesday: What NOT to put on your To Do List

On our mental and spiritual To Do List the top priority is taking care of ourselves. That comes first. We have to take care of ourselves because if we don’t, everything else falls apart. Our love relationships are tilted and twisted, our work trails off or becomes too much, our bodies bulge, our minds meander to those dark places they shouldn’t go.

Next comes, acceptance. We have to cope with trying people, places and situations. That means on our To Do List is learning coping skills. Sometimes we need to speak up for ourselves, sometimes we need to stay quiet. Sometimes we need to sit there and listen but sometimes we need to get up and walk away.

On our To Do List is also forgiveness. I was speaking to someone who told me she could forgive her brother for things he’d done, but she could never, would never forgive her co-worker who annoys her on a daily basis. Remember that not forgiving the people who upset us the most is like drinking poison and expecting them to get sick. An incredible transformation occurs within us when we are able to turn our resentments into acceptance and forgiveness. Our whole attitude changes and our lives follow.

What’s NOT on our To Do List is fixing, changing, manipulating, begging, intimidating other people. We can’t give away our glue to help someone fix themselves. We need to keep our glue to fix ourselves. We can see where other people are making mistakes but it is their job to comfort and take care of themselves.

Tool For Tuesday: What Is and Is NOT on Our To Do List

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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8 Responses to Tool For Tuesday: What Is NOT On Your To Do List?

  1. juliabarrett says:

    I have an issue with forgiveness. I can readily forgive but I don’t forget. Oh… with time I do, for the most part. In other words there is no pain associated with the memories. However I do believe in the old adage– Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    • dianabletter says:

      Hi Julia, You are right – we do not have to accept unacceptable behavior. I keep my guard up with certain people — boundaries are vital — but I can still practice forgiveness. Because it is like a pair of scissors – it cuts and frees me from thinking negative thoughts about them. as my friend, Jane, says, “You can forgive people but that doesn’t mean you have to take them out to lunch!”

      • juliabarrett says:

        Love your friend Jane! Yes, I can forgive people but it doesn’t mean I have to like them or what they do.

  2. Another great post, Diana that carries over from last week.
    Janet, forgiving isn’t the same as forgetting. We should be guarded if someone has hurt us. The offending party has to earn back trust. Just my two cents worth. 🙂

  3. I meant Julia, so sorry Julia, it’s been a long day. 🙂

  4. You’ve done it again, Diana. Great food for thought!
    I’m on the same page with Julia and Tracy, only I say it a bit differently. After you forgive, don’t trust unless you can verify…twice.
    Which means, actually, that you can’t totally forget. You can forgive for BIG things, but that doesn’t mean the next step is to automatically trust them again.
    And so, this leads us back to the top of the To Do List, and that is to care for ourselves.

    • dianabletter says:

      You said it, Marylin! We don’t forget but we take care of ourselves. We don’t have to step into the polar bear cage! That means forgiving others–but more importantly, forgiving and taking care of ourselves. We never have to sit there and “take it.”

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