Be careful not to panic into taking action or saying something, until you carefully think it over in your mind. The fruit of acting impulsively is regret. When you act impulsively, you might make irreparable mistakes.
It is especially important not to make major life changes when you are guided by emotions. If you are emotionally excited (either in the positive or negative), wait until you calm down before taking action.
Sources: Shaarey Kedushah 1:6; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness, p.261
What are some of the scripts that create patience?
“Things are going as fast as they are. I will do what I can to speed things up and I will accept the reality with serenity.”
“Each second of life is precious. And I won’t waste it by causing myself needless distress.”
“One never knows where it is best for one to be at any given moment. I will try to make the wisest choices. But I will realize that where I am could be the best thing for me.”
“I choose my emotional state and I am committed to living my life experiencing positive, resourceful states.”
“Opportunities for personal growth can be found wherever one is and in any given situation. Right now I will look at the present as a gift and an opportunity.”
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book “Patience.”
For those who have mastered serenity, fifteen seconds ago is ancient history. They realize that once something is over, it is over regardless of whether it has been over for many years or for a relatively short time. It is understandable that it can take different people varying amounts of time until they are able to let things go. But the goal should be to let go of what is over and done with. In truth it is gone whether or not you let it. It is just a question of the degree of emotional mastery that you will have. Regardless of where you are at this moment, you can always improve on your ability to let things go as soon as they are gone.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book, “Serenity,” p.51
There are three levels of willingness to forgive others:
(1) Some people forgive anyone who wronged them if that person comes over and asks forgiveness.
(2) Others go out of their way to meet those who wronged them to make it easier for them to ask for forgiveness.
(3) People on the highest level explicitly state each night before they go to sleep that they forgive anyone who insulted them, even if those people will not ask for forgiveness on their own.
Sources: Eikev Anavah, p.58; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Gateway to Happiness,” p.307
The best way to gain a proper perspective about life is to visit a cemetery.
You might have many problems, but that is part and parcel of being alive. Compared to those buried in the cemetery, just how serious are your difficulties?
Learn to have a sense of proportion to events. If you fail to do so, you might react with equal levels of distress to someone’s spilling soup on your clothes as you would to news of the outbreak of global nuclear warfare.
Today, when something bothers you, ask yourself: “On a scale of one to 100 (with 100 applying to nuclear war), what number would I give this situation?”
You’ll find with this perspective that many potential mountains will easily shrink to molecules.
Rabbi Nachum of Huradna used to say, “If I had already died and the Almighty told me I could come back to life again, imagine how happy I would be. Now that I am alive, I should feel that same joy!”
Sources: see Chayai Hamussar, vol.2, p. 176, 200; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness, p.65
A king arose in the middle of the night and fixed the wick of a lamp to prevent it from extinguishing. His subjects asked him, “Why did you not ask us to do it?”
“I was the king when I arose, and I was still the king when I went back to sleep,” he replied.
The lesson: Someone who is aware of his value does not worry about losing it.
Sources: Orchos Tzadikim, ch.2; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness, p.131
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
There is a very serious mistake that many people make when they think about the perfection of the great scholars and righteous people of the past. They focus solely on the end result of all the years these great people spent working on themselves and overlook the conflicts they had to overcome. The impression is given they were born great and needed no effort to become that way. We do not know about all their inner battles or their falls and mistakes along the way. The result of this is that when a strongly motivated person with high aspirations comes across obstacles and pitfalls he becomes discouraged and feels like giving up. The truth is that everyone feels downhearted at times. Do not expect your path to be an easy one. Regardless of how many times you fall, keep getting up and continue striving and you are guaranteed success in the end.
Sources: Pachad Yitzchok, Igros Uksovim, p.217; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness, p.379
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
When you focus on the outcome of your words, you will be careful not to insult others. Imagine the harm you are causing yourself by turning this person against you! Practically speaking, you never know when you will need this person’s help or friendship.
Of course, we should avoid hurting people with words because it’s the right thing to do. But at least we should do so out of enlightened self-interest!
Sources: see Vilna Gaon – Proverbs 11:12; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin – “Consulting the Wise”