Molding our Personality
At times a person may be angry, depressed, upset, or fearful.
A person can go to extremes.
The Torah’s path is the path of the center.
Not to be extremely emotional or to be so cold that one does not react.
Not to be stingy or a spendthrift.
Two qualities to distance oneself to opposite extremes are – from anger and from haughtiness.
How to Change?
If a person’s nature is to be hot-tempered, how does he or she change?
The answer is in the actors guidebook. ACT calmly.
Many times a person acts a role outside and it has an effect on the person inside.
A person is sad – what to do? The Torah says one’s mood is to be happy?
ACT happy. Although one’s heart is broken, put a smile on one’s face. Force yourself to smile outside and you will eventually feel happier inside as well. Look at the face of a baby who smiles at you, after a hard day at work. You can’t avoid smiling.
To reach the middle path, we can act to the opposite extreme. For instance, if a person is stingy, he or she can make a point to give out many quarters or dollars to Tzedaka / charity daily. This will train them to become generous and they will likely end up in the middle path. Not stingy, but not a spendthrift either.
Once a woman was selling fruit by her fruit cart. Children, looking for a laugh, took some apples from her cart and ran away. She fumed. She casted many angry and insulting words at them, while they were laughing. That moment, her best customer arrived. When she realized that an angry disposition was not going to help her get the sale, she immediately put a big smile on her face.
People sometimes mold themselves according to their experiences. Some become bitter or depressed, because of the actions of others. These experiences G-d sends to help a person keep their eyes on the ball. To realize their purpose in life and pursue it.
We were brought here to achieve a particular purpose and sometimes we need reminders to stay on target. Ideally one can paint a picture of their ideal self and work their way to become the person they wish to become. Ideally one uses experience to better themselves.
Don’t become bitter – become better.
It is only one letter difference. 🙂
Emotions can be controlled. Our mind can direct what it wants our heart to feel.
Actors at times get so involved in their acting role that the lines between themselves and the acting role become blurred.
To combat this actors have sessions to talk about the personal qualities of other actors together in a group.
We also can conduct a reality check. We do so by taking some time to think and evaluate ourselves and our lives. We can honestly ask ourselves (and even write down):
What is my goal in life?
What is important for me to achieve before I leave the world?
What is my purpose ?
What are my qualities and strengths?
Am I spending too much time escaping and not producing towards my purpose?
What are practical steps I can take to get me closer to achieving my goal in life?
Are there any forces that are hampering my progress in achieving my goals? (Make a Force Field Diagram of Forces pushing you to achieve pitted against forces preventing you from achieving.)
What are the values that I want to teach to my children?
Am I following what G-d expects of me?
The questions are sometimes challenging, but it is better to deal with them now when you can, than later when a person is too old.
I heard a story of a man interested in converting to Judaism. He loved the Torah’s precepts and laws. He kept on pushing off converting till he fell ill. Bedridden, he promised that when he would get better he would convert. Unfortunately, he lost his chance.
Evaluating our life, to see if we are producing will help us achieve our purpose in life. Act quickly and promptly is also essential.
Actors receive an evaluation from their peers to keep them attached to reality. It is possible they got the idea from the Yeshivas. Some Yeshivas would have groups of men that were friends together to help them with their goals of self-improvement. They would learn self-improvement works (mussar) and have discussions on how they could improve.
Most important is to know one’s strengths and abilities to be able to achieve one’s purpose in life. One must take an honest look of what their potential is and how it can be used to help others according to Torah.
Torah says, at night before going to sleep one does an accounting of the deeds of the day. We examine the good of our deeds and the lackings to determine What could have been done better. With this one guides their life daily. Doing Teshuva / Returning to Torah ways also helps.
Flattery – Bad Acting
A flatterer is basically an actor. He or she puts on a facade, and words flow from their mouths that have no truth to them for them to get what they want. “That is a beautiful tie.” “We were very impressed by your project.” If you really mean it good. If it is not true, refrain.
Following or Living
In essence one of the questions to come to terms with is : Are we Living or Following? Following the Jones’, without regard for our personality or for our own goals and expectations from the Torah, may bring us down a dark alley away from our proper path. Using our G-d-given abilities and our mind to conduct a reality check regularly, helps assure we will arrive at the proper destination.
We don’t want to come to the next world saying “I wish I would have done this … and this …”
Be Your Real Self
I see sometimes people in the street who are imitators. They see the latest fad or fashion, the latest star or singer and mimic their behavior. They buy fancy clothes and cars so people will associate them with this external “clothing”.
The Torah’s view is the antithesis to this – G-d wants us to be ourselves. It says
“Look into yourself. Know Your Qualities & Your Strengths and be yourself to achieve. Open your mind to your potential. Better Yourself Daily. Be a beautiful individual, not a follower. Be Yourself!”
Good guidebooks to start reaching your potential include: Pirkei Avot and other Self-Improvement Works like: Shaarei Teshuva, Mesilat Yesharim, and Tomer Devora.
For Gentiles I would recommend the book “The Path of the Righteous Gentile”
A person is a soul. The more a person follows Torah, we arrive closer to our ideal self. We become our real self. We reach our inner potential. We start enjoying ourselves and life.
Be positive. Be Proactive. Following the guidance of Torah, You will Go Far.