GATEWAY TO HAPPINESS
2. Some people think that since one’s self-image is largely based on one’s early upbringing (how their parents, teachers, and friends treated them when they were young), they therefore can do little to change their self-image. But this is wrong.
It is true that our self-image is based largely on our past. But what counts is how we judge ourselves in the present. Regardless of how we were considered by others, we have the ability to change our own attitude towards ourselves.
4. Look back at your past experiences and picture how you would have dealt with difficult situations if you were to have had a positive, confident attitude. Don’t look back with regret. Rather, use this as a tool to rewrite, as it were, your past history. This will have a powerful effect on all that you do in the future.
5. Every person is obligated to be aware that he has great worth. This does not refer to the illusory self-worth of arrogantly feeling better than others, but a true self-worth that is mind-boggling in its immensity. Each person is a one time phenomenon, an occurrence that has never been before, and will never be again. You have a unique blend of character traits and personality. You are unique in your particular family constellation, born in a specific time in history and in a specific environment. This uniqueness give you great importance. Only you can accomplish your unique life tasks. (Alai Shur, vol. 1, p.168)
6.4 Personal growth independent of external factors. Some people gauge their value by what they own. But in reality the entire concept of ownership of possessions is based on an illusion. When you obtain a material object, it does not become part of you. Ownership is merely your right to use specific objects whenever you wish and that no one has a right to take them away from you. How unfortunate is the person who has an ambition to cleave to something impossible to cleave to. Such a person will not obtain what he desires and will experience suffering. Fortunate is the person whose ambition is to acquire personal growth that is independent of external factors. Such a person will lead a happy and rewarding life. (Michtav MaiEliyahu, vol. 1, pp. 42-3)
6.5 Do not allow another person’s evaluation affect your feelings of self- esteem. 1. Do not feel any less self-esteem or become upset if other people speak or act condescendingly to you. The Sages have said that the honored person is the one who honors others. The converse applies: Who is a lowly person? One who tries to lower others. (Ahavas Maishorim, p.216)
REALIZING ONE’S SELF-WORTH