To me, true humility means silencing the “I”. For genuinely humble people, it is God, other people, and principles that matter, not themselves. As it was once said of a great religious leader, “He was a man who took God so seriously, that he didn’t have to take himself seriously at all”.
This is a quote from the late sage Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, and I believe it’s the answer to my current challenge and the conundrum that I have been dealing with.
Its usually the behaviors of others that we most hate, that are the same behaviors we most hate about ourselves.
A behavior that I seem to have inherited that I truly can’t stand in others, is the feeling of being constantly disappointed when someone doesn’t live up to my expectations. When I see others doing it, I feel terribly for them, as it causes them so much more pain than those causing the disappointment. Yet, even though I’m cognitively aware of the futility in this exercise, I continue to be disappointed.
I think the answer is two-fold. Firstly, we should not take ourselves too seriously, and we should remind ourselves that it’s not an attack on us. We shouldn’t take it personally; they aren’t trying to disappoint us, they are just doing their best. Second, we must remind ourselves that it’s not about us. They aren’t directly attacking us in any way—rather, they are just being themselves.
My Rabbi and guide imparted upon me an additional perspective which was extremely helpful. He said, “First, know whom you are dealing with. If they are a person that is always late or doesn’t return your calls in a timely manner, if they do not follow through on their commitments to you, accept them as they are. Know that you aren’t going to change them. Then, make a choice as to whether you will keep them in your life or not. Once you choose to keep them in your life, when you inevitably get disappointed, remind yourself that you made the choice, rather than you being forced into that position”.
This lesson was incredibly helpful, yet the greatest lesson to me was—and is—to find someone with wisdom to check in with, since without my Rabbi, I couldn’t think it through clearly.
How do you overcome challenges that you cognitively know are wrong, yet emotionally you seem unable to move past? Furthermore, how do you begin to accept that which you may have found unacceptable?
This week, let’s find someone with wisdom that isn’t seeking to change us, someone who can hold space and give us the proper insight, so we can make the decisions that are best for ourselves.
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love
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