Low self-image usually forms at an early age. A person might have had excessively critical parents or teachers, failed to get along well with other children, or received low marks in school.
Though this attitude was formed long ago, the only reason it lasts in the present is because a person now keeps repeating it to himself. Yet he has the ability to tell himself, “In the past I may have judged myself to be inferior, but I will now think for myself and appreciate my true value.”
Being aware of the source of poor self-image makes it easier to challenge the assumptions upon which it is based. It is possible that while you had certain faults in the past, you presently are learning to overcome them.
Or, perhaps the people who judge you unfavorably were using a yardstick that you do not presently accept. For example, in school a student is usually judged by the marks he receives on tests. Some students with low grades worked hard to understand, and more importantly may have internalized the concepts and practiced them to a greater degree than others who received higher grades. As a child, the diligent student with poor grades might have felt inferior, but as an adult he has the ability to appreciate how he may have really accomplished more.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s, “Gateway to Happiness,” p.129
When your property or possessions sustain some damage or loss, work on yourself to accept the Almighty’s judgment with love. Realize you were born without any belongings, and you will eventually leave the world without belongings. You need not identify with your possessions since they are not an integral part of you.
Sources: Raishis Chochmah – Sha’ar Ha’anava; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness, p.252
For a wise person, there is no greater joy than that of improving his character traits. When someone reaches this level, he can feel joy even when someone insults him – because he has worked himself free of all animosity and resentment.
Take pleasure every time you: – control yourself from getting angry – are patient with others – overcome your desires – react positively instead of with envy about someone else’s accomplishments.
Sources: see Chazon Ish – Emunah U’bitochon, 4:15; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Gateway to Happiness,” p.110
“Even if you are in the midst of great suffering, do not give up hope” (Pirkei Avos 1:7; Rashi). Life situations might at times seem so bleak and desperate that you see no hope for the future. You might tell yourself things like, “My life is a terrible mess, and I don’t think it will ever improve.” Such thinking leads to very painful feelings. The Sages advised us never to give up hope. Ask yourself, “What proof do I have that things will never improve?” While you might not have a guarantee that things will be better, you can never be certain that they will not improve. Don’t give up hope when in a very short time your whole situation might change dramatically for the better.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Gateway to Happiness,” p.372
Be aware of what situations and behaviors give you pleasure. When you feel excessively sad and cannot change your attitude, make a conscious effort to take some action that might alleviate your sadness.
If you anticipate feeling sad, prepare a list of things that might make you feel better. It could be talking to a specific enthusiastic individual, running, taking a walk in a quiet area, looking at pictures of family, listening to music, or reading inspiring words.
While our attitude is a major factor in sadness, lack of positive external situations and events play an important role in how we feel.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness, p.180
The tests and challenges that come to a person from the Almighty are so concealed and subtle the person being tested usually does not feel what is happening to him is a test. If he is aware it is just a test, he would definitely be able to withstand the difficulties and rise to the challenge, but then the test would not be a real test. Therefore, tests are concealed in such a manner that a person thinks they are merely obstacles and nuisances. A person who withstands such tests is truly elevated.
Sources: Tehilas yoel, p.190;Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness, p.235
You have a right to experience happiness right now, in the present. This is a very important concept to keep in mind. You don’t need to wait until you accomplish your goals before you are happy.
Many people think, “Only after I accomplish my goals will I be able to be happy.” These individuals mistakenly think that they need to wait in order to be happy. They feel that they can’t be happy right now. They tell themselves that they first need to achieve what they would like to achieve before they can be happy.
But happiness is a birthright. You were born. You are now alive. You are breathing now. Right now you have a right to be happy. You can choose to be happy now.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book: “Taking Action” – page 79
My father’s teacher, who was known as the Chofetz Chaim, used to say: “There is a popular expression that ‘Every fool is wise in respect to himself.’ My experience has shown that many wise people act like fools with respect to themselves.”
Many important concepts for living sound quite simple and obvious. Think of an idea that you dismissed as not being for you because you felt that you had already mastered it or, just the opposite, it was too difficult for you. Now find a way that you can apply that idea.
With the next idea that you come across today, ask yourself, “How can I apply this?”
-See Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Gateway to Happiness,” p.20
When people go to workshops and seminars that will help them develop and grow, they are willing to try out all types of exercises and experiments. They consider it fun and enjoyable to do things that they have not done before and might even have experienced as distressful. But since it is being defined as part of the growth experience, they reframe it in a positive manner. In fact, the more difficult something is, the more you gain by trying it out. When you view your entire life as a growth seminar and all that happens as just exercises and experiments, each experience teaches you something. You learn something from each reaction. You learn how to prepare yourself for similar things that might occur in the future. The difficult becomes fun. Even what is not that enjoyable is viewed in a positive light for it enriches you and adds depth.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Happiness”,p.117
© Carla Bicomong
The only way to have a happy life is to keep your eyes focused on what you have and not on what you are lacking.
Sources: Chofetz Chaim; Kuntros Nefutzos Yisroel; Cited in Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Gateway to Happiness,” p.354