Holy Self-Esteem & Your Good Points

From a reader: You keep talking about finding your good points. I think if you focus on your good points you’ll probably turn into an egomaniac.


Dear B.,

This question was asked (in slightly different words) in a conversation I had recently. Clearly your concern is shared by other women.

Finding and focusing on your good points cannot lead to arrogance or narcissism if the good points you focus on are emes, truth. Truth in this case involves being aware of the Divine Source of your good points as well as the Divine Source of your own neshama (soul). It involves paying attention to the things you do which make this truest, deepest self blossom.

Good things you’ve done might include giving charity, helping a neighbor, praying, cooking a kosher meal for your family or others, learning Torah, smiling at a store clerk, teaching your child Aleph-Bet, spending time in hitbodedut (prayerful meditation in which you talk directly with Hashem in your native language), and so on.

On a deeper level, anytime you use your talents or predilections for true good, in order to move closer to Hashem, you’re creating another good point. And this builds what I call Holy Self-Esteem.

It’s important that we extend this kindness to others and look for the good in them, even in people who rub us the wrong way. We do not know the extent of another’s good deeds, they might even be a hidden tzaddik.

The Rebbe is clear: We must appreciate our good points, and this should bring us to joy, yet we must also be profoundly, truly humble. We must keep in mind that we are nothing without Hashem. This balance is Holy Self-Esteem.

But, back to your question. If you take pride in good points such as your amazing talents or your beauty, wealth, power, or even your intelligence and knowledge, all of which are gifts from Hashem, then yes, you may become arrogant. It’s only when you choose to harness the energy of your talents and other resources to fuel spiritual growth, kindness to others, and other mitzvos, that they become true good points.

For more learning on this topic see “Azamra”, Likutey Moharan Lesson 282. Read more with Azamra for Grasshoppers.

With Joy,

Chaya Rivka




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