Do You Have a Shit List?

Do you keep list of people who've wronged you? People you would try to thwart personally or professionally if you're presented with a not-too-inconvenient opportunity in the future (aggressive version) or people who you simply will not talk to / work with again (neutral version)?Shitlist

I have one in my head, and I'm pondering: a) If I should write it down / formalize it and b) Whether I should have such a list at all.

My pause comes from uncertainty over how I feel about forgiveness. Spiritual leaders usually include the ability to forgive as part of the enlightened man's emotional toolkit. Accepting the fact that people make mistakes, not dwelling on negativity, letting go of the revenge instinct: these are all seen as Good Things.

Yet it's complicated. If you forgive and forget you risk being hurt in the same way in the future — you risk not learning from your mistakes. Also, if the betrayal is particularly egregious, by accepting and forgiving you might send a message to others that the behavior in question is okay. We all know people who get taken advantage of because they are known to not hold firm on certain standards.

One advantage I see to adding someone to an (aggressive) shit list is it may help bring peace in the present as you can say to yourself, It's ok, I'll get back at him in the future, I can move on now. But this also might represent a burden of negative energy, and precludes the possibility of forgiveness. The neutral version — simply resolving to not work with the person in any capacity going forward — is probably better and lacks the icy revenge aspect.

Brad Feld in a recent post explained his "fuck me over once rule" — it takes two breaches of trust to land on Brad's shit list.

Bottom Line: I'm uncertain whether maintaining a shit list is a good thing. Forgiveness is complicated.

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