I mentioned my dear beloved Yetzer Hara (a.k.a the other “me”) briefly in this post. But, other than that, I don’t mention her too much over here. Before I go further, let me just give a simple definition of the Yetzer Hara so that you can get the gist of what I’m about to share with you. Yetzer Hara: selfish drive that exists in every Jew, primarily interested in it’s own survival and not interested in spiritual pursuits. She is roommates with the Yetzer Tov or the G-dly drive that also exists in every Jew. Ok, so on to my beloved YH.
Just because I don’t talk about my YH, does not mean she does not exist. I’m no tzadekes (righteous person). What I am is a fighter. It’s in the name, Yael, right? Over the years I’ve gotten to know my Yetzer Hara (YH) very well and I’ve learned how to battle my clever opponent.
Which really means that I put her in her place – quietly doing what she’s told to, rather than telling me what to do!
Because I have a feeling that my Yetzer Hara operates in very similar ways to yours, I’ve decided to introduce you to some of her recent antics pertaining to none other than my 40th Birthday Bash (a.k.a. my Birthday Charity Campaign for Aishel House – which is still going and I invite you to participate. You will love it and I can’t wait to share with you how much we ended up contributing towards Aishel House). Anyway, back to the Madame YH…
I had this Charity Birthday Campaign idea last year when I was about to turn 39 and the blog was going to celebrate it’s one year anniversary. Did I do it? No. The idea got stuck in the planning stage. After discussing and tossing ideas with several readers (and personal friends) about what charity I should choose – one that would be meaningful both to me and to my readership – I went into paralysis. In the end, my 39th birthday came and went, and I didn’t do anything. My birthday passed, the blog anniversary passed, and nada, nothing, zilch. Ever been there?
Tip #1: Be on the alert. Often paralysis in executing a great idea will be the result of the YH’s antics.
Which brings me to this year…
As I was preparing for Rosh Hashanah, last year’s Charity Birthday Campaign idea came to me again. I knew it was a great idea, and I knew that this would be THE birthday to launch this, since it was a “big” birthday for me, and I wanted to celebrate it in a special way. I didn’t discuss it with anyone. Finally, on the eve of Sukkot, I realized that if I didn’t do this Charity Birthday Campaign this year, it would only be due to the antics of my Yetzer Hora. So I decided to TRICK HER!
Tip #2: Be Tricky! Trick the YH whenever you can. (Yes, this is one area where we’re allowed to be tricksters.)
What did I do exactly?
I first shared the idea with my husband. I quickly realized that was still a safe enough space (meaning, if I didn’t end up doing the Charity Birthday Campaign I wouldn’t loose anything – hub will be sticking around loving me all the same).
Then, I called a good friend. And while she pushed me to do it, I still felt quite safe and comfortable. She heard my idea last year and didn’t throw me out for not doing it. There’s no judgement – which I am absolutely grateful for.
However, in this case, I knew I needed a stronger emotional driver to get this done because I knew my YH too well.
Tip #3: Get to know her! No embarrassment, just face her and know her for who she is. How else are you going to get to work well with her?
My YH is after all an emotional animal and will do whatever it takes to stop me from doing a good thing. So, I knew that she was going to tell me all sorts of scripts similar to:
“I’m too busy…”
“No one is going to like this…”
“No one is going to care…”
“Who do you think you are, anyways…?”
Sound familiar? That’s because these are a few popular antics that the Yetzer Hara uses and today I’m going to tell you two of them.
The YH will try to use FEAR. Fear of having too many balls up in the air and dropping some; fear of failure; fear of judgement; fear of ridicule…
So, what did I do? I needed to go ‘out on a limb’ a bit more with this idea. The night before Erev Sukkot, while I was cooking, I picked up the phone and called Aishel House. By telling Aishel House about the Charity Birthday Campaign, I was effectively “committing” myself to doing it and leaving little room for my YH to fight back. See, how I TRICKED HER!?
Now, what could she do? Mhh… Remember, that she’s clever…
She’ll always try to fight back and thankfully I was on the alert.
Here’s the second popular antic of the YH: PERFECTIONISM. She disguises herself very very well in the Perfectionism garb.
“You really think that’s good enough?”
“It really needs so much more work…”
“You can do better than that…”
Let me tell you how the Perfectionism antic came up in this case.
In my mind, I was going to go to Aishel House, make videos in English and in Spanish, and take pictures. I was going to get enough footage to create the campaign and market it “beautifully.”
Sukkot and Simchat Torah passed, back to real life, I finally set a time to go take a video. I had written my ideas of what I wanted to say (much of which I later on used for this blog post).
But, guess what? Aishel House is extremely busy now finishing construction, and getting ready for their grand opening on December 4th, so it turned out that none of the days that I could go, were convenient. (Listen, construction is NEVER easy, but when you have a firm deadline because everybody is showing up on your door at a certain date to see a finished product – that’s another level, my friends.)
So, I have to admit, for a few short minutes I did consider not doing this project. I even told myself something to the effect, “Well, you tried. It’s not your fault, the space is not ready to be shown on video.” And of course, I added the classic, “Well, you’re so busy anyways…” But, now you and I know where that came from… ;-)
Thankfully, like I told you before, I know my YH oh so very well. I consulted with my good friend who was going to film me. And thank G-d I did. Which brings me to tip #4.
Tip #4: When in doubt, consult with a trusted friend or mashipia (mentor).
My friend immediately said, “Ok, so what? Don’t have a video or pictures. Listen, you already know what you want to say, so just write the blog post, maybe even get a testimonial from a friend… And do it, just with a blog post. It’s fine.” And I listened! She was right, I had already started preparing for this, it was silly to turn back now. So, I moved forward.
Tip #5: Take action. Stop thinking. Tell the YT to be quiet and move forward.
I drafted the blog post, set up the campaign, and sent the draft to Aishel House. A few days later the campaign went live, and I published and promoted the blog post.
By then, my Yetzer Hara had been crushed enough times that she was finally tamed. And when donations started coming in, you know what you could hear me say? “Take that Yetzer Hara!”
Do you ever struggle with your Yetzer Hara? What are some of her antics? What are some of your strategies to combat her?
Don’t forget to go onto my Birthday Charity Campaign for Aishel House here and wish me a Happy 40th Birthday while you’re at it ;-)