Fixing Ourselves

Fixing Ourselves

Imagine a guy who has a car is full of dents and scratches due to his being a poor driver. He goes to a body shop and asks the owner to fix the car. The owner tells him honestly that it would be a waste of his money unless he figures out how to become a better driver. To fix the dents and scratches without addressing the core issue (what is behind his poor driving habits) would only result in more dents and scratches.

This is us. We get focused on believing we should try and change our behavior (i.e.: stop eating, stop yelling, be patient, follow through, control our moods). But we can’t fix up our dents and sctratches without addressing the core issue…what is behind our behavioral habits.

All behavior is an outgrowth of our feeling state.

So the deeper question is what is behind my feeling state? Where does it come from and how does it change? How is understanding this going to help my behavioral choices?

This is really the most helpful direction to look in this coming year.

Beating ourselves up for our mistakes, poor choices and bad middos in the hopes that our behavior will change is like the poor driver thinking the body shop owner will make the dents and scratches go away forever.

Our job is to understand that insecurity will never lead to better behavior. (FYI beating ourselves up, judging ourselves and labeling ourselves inevitably brings with it an insecure feeling via the immediate thought/feeling connection happening moment to moment. This will never give us the results we are looking for…menuchas hanefesh, peace of mind, a sense of security).

Our thoughts and feelings come from G-d as an ongoing conversation, guiding us. They change on their own if we let them.

Although we may be visited by self deprecating, negative thoughts, when we have a deep awareness that we are not our thinking, there is more space for free choice…to see that we don’t have to believe a thought just because it was sent to us. Hashem may be waiting for us to throw it back to Him.

Wishing you all a kesiva v’chasima tova…a year of emotional health, physical health, clarity, insight and a deep trust and closeness to our Creator. May we see His hand and feel His love no matter what.

Ride The Wave

By Aviva Barnett, MSW

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