Some people have the unfortunate habit of constantly correcting others. When we make a minor mistake, they immediately correct us and show us how we are wrong. Even though it is hurtful to be on the receiving end of these critiques, we sometimes fall into the same trap and act the same way. To avoid this bad habit, before correcting or criticizing someone, pause for a moment and ask yourself, “Is it really necessary to say this now?”
Often, the answer is no. Either it is not a necessary critique, or even if it is, it is not the right time to make the comment. Critiques are best delivered indirectly or at least at an opportune time and in a thoughtful and sensitive manner. For more details, see, “6 Ways to Kick the Criticism Habit.”
This question can also help us avoid the sin of gossiping. When you have the urge to say something that may reflect negatively on a person, pause for a moment and ask yourself, “Is it really necessary to say this?” Sometimes the answer is yes, most often the answer is no. If someone starts talking negatively about a person to you, you can respond, “Is it necessary for me to hear this? If not, let’s talk about something else.”
Being stubborn stands in the way of personal growth. If we are not open to new ways of looking at things, how will we break free from our habitual patterns? We will keep making the same mistakes, while insisting we are right.
We each have our mindsets and habitual behaviors, and we will stay stuck in them unless we are willing to consider alternatives. In addition, people who are stubborn, only have access to their limited perspective and intelligence. But those who are willing to consider the viewpoints of others, the perspective and intelligence available to them is multiplied many times.
There is though a place for stubbornness. For example, we should be stubborn when sticking to our principles and living our values. When appropriate, Ethics of the Fathers (5:20) teaches us to “Be bold as a leopard.”
Here are three ways to decrease unhealthy stubbornness:
(1) Work on developing humility; realize you have been wrong in the past and you will likely make mistakes in the future. With true humility, a person is able to admit when they were wrong and change course.
(2) When talking to others, instead of trying to get them to agree with you, really listen and consider what they are saying. You will learn a lot more that way. As has been said, “If your lips are moving, you’re not learning anything new.”
(3) Ask people for feedback and advice, and give serious consideration to what they say. Instead of focusing on why they are wrong, see if there is a nugget of wisdom you can benefit from.
When we are open-minded and interested in learning new ideas and ways of enhancing our lives, we have laid a solid foundation for growth.
Ask, “Which area of my life am I stubborn about? Perhaps there is a better way of dealing with this issue. Who can I speak to for guidance?”
This year is a Jewish leap year which means that there are two Adars: Adar I and Adar II. Purim is celebrated during the second Adar.
Rosh Chodesh Adar I begins Monday night, the 8th of February, and lasts for two days.
Our Sages teach that with the arrival of Adar we increase our joy, culminating in the festival of Purim. Purim commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people during the Persian exile.
While we do not have direct control over our moods, the following are six tools which can be helpful in enhancing them: Gratitude, acceptance, self-compassion, expressing ourselves, addressing festering issues and making lifestyle enhancements. Many times, even using just one tool will help us feel better and increase our enjoyment of life. For more info, see 6 Tools to Enhance Your Mood
After reading the above article, choose one tool which you will utilize this month. Then, decide on the one change, technique or behavior, related to that tool, you will do on a daily or regular basis, for at least this month. You can add it to your checklistand track how often you do it.
Questions for the month:
“What do I think is most negatively affecting my emotional health? How will I address it?”
“What will I do this month to enhance my emotional health/mood and become a happier person?”
Take care and may God grant us success in the coming month,