Everyone, I imagine, would like to change the fact that they forget important things. I think if a casual poll were taken that most people would agree it is difficult to remember everything we are supposed to do, be, think, say and recall.
But I don’t just blank on a tests, or forget to pick up the (almond) milk. I forget important commitments to other people. It feels like I have a black hole in my internal calendar. I used to think this was because I committed to too much. That is not the case anymore. I am very careful about making any commitments, large or small. I do an internal check for overload and only agree to something when I know I won’t resent committing to it.
And yet, it seems I forget something I promised someone almost every day. I often think I should have a sign made up that I have to wear that says, “Do not depend on me for anything immediate, pressing or detailed!” I feel so guilty and dark when I let people down that I immediately go into retreat mode. In relationships, I almost always default to the flight part of “fight or flight.” My predisposition for becoming a hermit is alarming.
I WANT to be a person who can be depended on. I strive to be someone who always lives up to their promises. So what is the deal?? It’s not like a commitment runs through my mind and I dismiss it, it’s that it gets deleted. And people get mad. THEY SHOULD! Forgetting to do the things we promise we’ll do makes people feel like they don’t matter. I make people feel like I don’t care about them. I am committing to changing that.
I’ve done some research today on using memory cues, iPhone apps and checklists to help me to do better. So far, I’ve come up with a 25-person checklist. This list includes my immediate family members, my “buddies” and my closest friends. I will cultivate the habit of thinking of each person I make commitments to, instead of the commitments themselves.
As of now, I think about commitments like a jumbled mess of demands in my head. Even commitments that I LOVE to be a part of wind up in that mess alongside homework, housework and stuff I dread doing. Dread has a way of infecting the good stuff and pretty soon ALL my commitments present in my consciousness as too much stuff to process.
I believe that through personalizing my feelings each time I am reminded by an iPhone app about a commitment, that I will be less likely to blank-out on them. When I see I’ve promised someone they can borrow my car, for instance, for a very important errand, I will think of the person and hopefully imbed that commitment more firmly. When I put a thought like “lend car” in this head, it obviously does not carry the gravitas needed for it to stick. I will focus less about the commitment itself and more on the people behind each commitment.
My to do lists may end up looking more like lists of greeting card platitudes, but I have a lot of hope it will help me to be better.