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our direct control, but our own behavior is. We play a large role in creating the world we live in, especially how others will behave towards us. If you behave towards others in a positive manner, they are likely to reciprocate.

When you act hostile and aggressively towards others, they are likely to behave in a similar manner towards you. When you shout at someone, he is likely to shout back at you. On the other hand, if you are caring and cheerful towards others, they are apt to feel love for you. Purely for pragmatic reasons we should be kind and friendly in dealing with others.

3. Instead of complaining about someone’s behavior towards you, it is more constructive to work on your own behavior towards him. Even if you have to force yourself, act with kindness and love towards all your relatives and acquaintances. Do it consistently and you will see major improvements in other people’s behavior towards you. Adopting this attitude can save married couples much needless quarreling and suffering. Ignore your spouse’s grouchiness and anger, and speak cheerfully and with compassion. If you find this difficult, pretend you are an actor on stage. Not only will this prevent a quarrel, but it will influence the other person to behave better towards you.

Be flexible. People differ greatly on what they evaluate as positive and it is necessary to understand the unique needs of the person you are dealing with. If one approach is unsuccessful, try other approaches. But keep trying.

4. If you make an effort to help everyone you meet, you will feel close to everyone. A stranger is someone you have not yet helped. Doing acts of kindness for everyone you can, fills your worlds with friends and loved ones. (Michtav MaiEliyahu, vol. 1, p. 37)

Make a list of people with whom you would like to become closer. Besides each name write a few acts of kindness you could do for them that they would appreciate.

5. “Greet each person with a friendly smile” (Pirke Avos 1:5). The Tiferes Yisroel commented: Doing this act of kindness to all people will increase the positive feelings others have towards us. The recipient of your smile gains, and you increase the number of your friends. When you smile to someone, he is apt to smile to you and this will increase your own positive feelings.



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