Tag Archives: self-worth

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I Feel Good… Part I

November 29, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
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BS’D

Often, those suffering from low self-esteem apply self-pity as a ‘balm’ to their wounds. In truth, statements like, “Nobody cares about me” or “I never have time for myself” are actually a cry for attention. Admittedly, each person must nourish themselves first and not surrender themselves to the point where they feel they are being taken advantage of. However, if we have filled up on enough positive energy and self-attention we should be able to give to others from a position of strength and not from self-pity or negativity.

A question often arises as to how much chesed we should be doing. The key to the answer is self-awareness. Knowing our limitations and capabilities is the best indicator of how much or how little chesed we should be doing, both in and outside of the house. Of course, there will be times we are required to over-extend ourselves and times when we feel we can give less. However, generally we must look within and explore our boundaries and limitation. We should not be driven by impulse. Nor should we undertake a chesed in order to be praised by others. We must delve within and ensure we are not to be doing chesed for the sake of admiration. Investing sufficient thought into the extent of our limits is a great contribution towards, self-respect, self-awareness and ultimately self-esteem.

Some with poor self-worth have a difficult time accepting compliments. Rejecting complements may occur because they do not think of themselves as worthy. Alternatively, it may occur because they wish to hear another compliment after they dismiss the first. Or perhaps they want others to think how humble they are? Regardless of the reason, rejecting a compliment causes us to be unfair to both ourselves and the one handing out the compliment.

Ultimately, low self-worth is tied to a low level of emuna. In failing to accept a compliment or undertake chesed for the wrong reasons, we are failing to recognize Hashem in the picture. With regard to chesed, complaining of being taken advantage of is failing to recognize that it is Hashem sending us the chesed opportunity, thereby enabling us to increase our self-knowledge and awareness. With regard to complements, by rejecting a compliment directing at His creation, we are indirectly rejecting Him. Furthermore, we are failing to recognize that He sends us messages via the events and people in our lives.

He constantly showers us with gifts and ‘kind words’ given to us through His many emissaries. It is a great chesed to allow another to share warm words and acts of kindness. Hashen wants us to feel cherished by Him, experience pleasure and feel His closeness. By accepting these compliments we are acting as a kli to accepting Hashem’s bracha.

Self-Worth vs. Arrogance

November 9, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
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BS’D

A common misconception is that self-esteem equals arrogance. Nothing could be further from the truth. A healthy dose of self-esteem is borne out of the understanding that each Jewish person possesses unique value and G-duly character traits. This understanding enables us to serve Hashem with a full heart and to spiritually grow.

The key to healthy self-confidence is to appreciate that we all harbor a G-dly spark within us. This knowledge enables us to appreciate one’s worth and stay focused on one’s capabilities, while always remembering that Hashem created us as imperfect beings on a journey towards excellence. Self-esteem is based on our honest assessment of our current spiritual location while believing that we are capable of achieving more because of our innate, G-dly potential.

Arrogance is the false sense of being greater than other people. In contrast, self-esteem goes hand in hand with humility since with self-esteem we realize that our true worth is only from and due to our connection to HaKadosh Baruch Hu. We are humbled; knowing that all our talents, wisdom and actually every breath we take comes directly from the Source of life. This awareness instills in us the recognition that we are no better (or worse) than anyone else. Everyone is equal because we all come from the same Source.

Everything we have is a gift which can be taken away at any time. We are gifted with exactly what we need to fulfill our own unique, specific mission, to co-partner with Hashem in perfecting this world. Hashem does not make mistakes. He deliberately crafted us, instilling within us all the requirements we need in order to fulfill this unique purpose. Thus we are each different, important, special and necessary. And each one of us has the potential to be great.

Recognize Your True Worth

May 30, 2016
Orit Esther Riter

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Pirkei Avot (5:9) teaches, “Seven traits characterize an uncultivated person…”

Chazal teach that an uncultivated person is called a golem. A golem is the raw material of which an object is made – an incomplete product. In other words, an uncultivated person is an incomplete person who does not recognize her true value. She is not aware of her weaknesses and strengths or how to fulfil her potential. Since we are all Hashem’s creations, then ultimately an uncultivated person represents a waste of His resources.

Every person has a self-image, basing their perspective, their decisions, and channelling their time and energy accordingly. For instance, we set goals that we believe are worthwhile and feasible for us to achieve. Conversely, we reject certain tasks in life when we feel they are inauthentic or we are incapable of achieving them. Unfortunately, a person who is unaware of their true strengths and talents may leave them to deteriorate instead of using them wisely for the benefit of the world.

There is a profound connection between a healthy self-image and our avodat Hashem. The greater our self-awareness and love and appreciation of ourselves, the better we are able to use Hashem’s gifts to serve Him and others. However, this does not in any way mean that such self-awareness and honesty about our strengths equates with geiva, arrogance. As long as we can acknowledge – both outwardly and internally – that both our strengths and weaknesses are all min Hashamayim (from Heaven), then we can use our strengths to their maximum capacity. And thus be a complete person, serving Hashem with all our resources. We can be humble and yet simultaneously be cultivated and thus achieve legendary status.

Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated l’iluy nishmat Chaim Yonatan Mordechai ben Pesha Elka z’l, a young three year old who passed away over Shabbat. May this great neshama bask in the Shechinah HaKedosha together with the righteous souls who have departed from this world, Amen.

Pirkei Avot ~To Be Created in Hashem’s Image

May 23, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
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According to Pirkei Avot (3:18), “… Beloved is the man, for he was created in Hashem’s image…” This lesson is of particular  importance for our current generation who is plagued with a lack of self-esteem and  self-worth. This Mishnah reinforces the idea that every Jew is precious because we are all created in Hashem’s image.  It reminds us to attach ourselves to our G-dly image and our holy task. By focusing on our G-dliness and holiness we can envelop ourselves in comfort and satisfaction.

In contrast, remaining unaware of our G-dliness and greatness may cause us to think less of ourselves and this false self-perception may be damaging. Remaining unaware of our G-dly spark and potential is tragic – it is like a person walking around with an immense treasure but being unaware of her riches.

Not only did Hashem created us in ‘His image’, He also informed us of this gift in order that we direct our lives with this knowledge. The idea of being created in Hashem’s image refers to our ability to deeply contemplate our purpose, to improve and channel our animalistic drives and to freely make decisions that enable us to attach ourselves to Hashem. This knowledge that we were created in the Divine image should motivate us to live up to our greatness and bring out our full potential with a healthy self-awareness and self-worth.

 

Think Good and It Will Be Good

April 29, 2015
Orit Esther Riter
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Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the complete healing of Devorah Naomi bas Raizel.  May Hashem shower her with clarity and strength, b’riut hanefesh v’b’riut haguf among all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen. 

The media often paints a negative and unjust world. Even a person who does not tend to be a negative thinker can get drawn into this mindset.   Therefore it is of great importance to instill positivism into ourselves and belief in the goodness of the world.  We must believe that Hashem’s ultimate plan for creation is adorned with compassion and Hashem embraces each of us with His kindness.

“Sof ma’aseh b’machshavah techila (Every action is preceded by a thought)” is a famous Torah teaching sung in Lecha Dodi.  The most important part of any healing process is to first treat the mind.  The mind is the engine behind every deed. If the mind is filled with negative feelings, the body may sooner or later respond by becoming ill.  Medicine has already proven that mind and body are closely affected by one another. ‘Think good and it will be good’ is definitely a Torah axiom!

Practically speaking all thoughts find expression through speech. Therefore we can affect our thoughts by being mindful of what we say and vice versa choose the words we speak carefully since this in turn will affect the way we think.  Speaking to Hashem casts away destructive thinking patterns as this focuses our mind back to our G-dly mission.  Living a life of emuna, with a keen awareness of Hashem’s presence and intervention envelops us with confidence. We are reminded that we are important and irreplaceable.  A person’s mission is theirs and theirs alone; no one else can fulfill it.

The troubles and hardships that invade our individual and national lives are here to challenge and elevate our way of thinking.  They are meant to give us the opportunity to look ‘behind the scenes’ and recognize that it is only Hashem who is in charge.  He sends us messages through the circumstances of our lives and that which we experience. A negative mind cannot fathom or accept any good.  Unfortunately it leaves them out of touch with themselves, others and also chas v’Shalom with Hashem.

Negative Thoughts

April 28, 2015
Orit Esther Riter
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Many of us share a spark of ratzon (desire) to make a change in one aspect or another in our lives. A fundamental stepping stone to create change in any area of our lives is to first work on our thoughts. The ideas and thoughts that most often occupy our mind space are the ones that we tend to believe and trust in the most. In other words, because they are so familiar to us we don’t tend to question them and place our trust in them. Therefore, it is essential to become keenly aware of what thoughts we entertain and give notice to.

Let’s say for example that I am accustomed to negative degrading thoughts about myself and give them space to flow freely in my mind, I am now driven to act upon that negativity. Discouraging thoughts are the greatest impediment to creating change in our lives. Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. We cannot control the thoughts that ‘pop’ into our minds; nonetheless we can control our response and the ‘space’ we give them to stay there.

Like unwanted guests who are given a cold welcome and will think twice to return, we can do the same with negative destructive thinking patterns. The choice remains ours whether we choose to give our time and energy to these thoughts or not. It is a battle however inviting Hashem to help us defeat this negative pattern of thinking is the only way to succeed.
Speaking to Hashem, “Hashem, I can’t do this without You. I want to cherish and empower myself to make real change. Guide me… Show me what to do” WILL make a difference and bring bracha into your desire to set a renewed tone to the way you use your mind.

You Belong in this World

November 24, 2014
Orit Esther Riter
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Today’s Daily Dose of Emuna is dedicated and sponsored l’iluy nishmat Yehuda Leib ben Mordechai a’h.  May his neshama bask in the Divine radiance among all the tsaddikim who have departed from this world, Amen.

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Divine providence goes beyond what happens directly to me. Hashem’s master-plan is not limited to what directly impacts me yet extends to all events that occur in my presence.  Whatever I witness through my ears, eyes, heart or even nose is meant for me to experience, grow and learn from.  Nothing is happenstance; nothing. Although it may appear that certain occurrences have little influence on my life, nonetheless they are closely ordained by Hashem to the last minute detail.

In fact as we take a closer look into this idea we can sense that our next breath depends entirely upon Hashem.  Our existence is because He wills it so. In that case, we each ‘belong’ in this world and play a great role in the universe.  This should energize and pump us with meaning and self-worth.

The idea is to look at Divine intervention and recognize that each one of us is important.  Hashem ‘longs’ for a relationship with us and wants us to have the best life has to offer.  What is the best? Hashem Himself is the best; a bond with the source of all life.

We wake up each morning and thank Hashem for re-creating us today.  We appreciate our own existence since we understand that life is a gift.  Just because we have lived until now, Hashem is not obligated to continue to give us life.  Every moment is a gift.

No need for paranoia.  Let’s just renew our mindset on how precious a gift we are being given daily, moment by moment, to live under the watchful eye of a caring and loving Hashem.

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