Who Are You—On the Inside?

Along with the thrill of moving into a larger home, are the negative thoughts it triggers. Feelings that I don’t deserve to live in a large space, and then ironically, feelings of jealousy over other homes which are far bigger. My brain ping pongs between these two unsavory mental states.

This past weekend I went to a shiur (Hebrew for lecture) that addressed this issue—along with related others. The speaker talked about how G-d is able to look into each person’s soul and see their individuality and uniqueness, while us humans judge people by their external looks and behaviors.

The speaker said that the importance of our actions—whether they be Jewish observances or other behaviors—is where we are coming from internally. That we are each striving in our own way, refining our path in life.

Just because it appears on the outside we are the same—e.g. we observe the Sabbath, or follow a similar dress code—we are each coming at these behaviors from a unique angle, from a unique place of self-work and personal growth.

On the flip side, there are always going to be people who are better than us, prettier than us, more organized than us, have bigger homes than us, etc. But what is important is not the externals that we see but the internal processes that lie beneath. We are each here for a unique purpose in life, with unique strengths and weaknesses.

By focusing on the internal process of who we are, and who we are becoming, and identifying less (or not at all) with our external accomplishments and behaviors—as well as those of others—we can have a little more self-respect and a heck of a lot more patience and compassion toward ourselves. And in turn, we will become more kind and compassionate toward others.

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