An Ego-Trip Is Not a Vacation

Question

Hey Rabbi, I easily get upset at others. I guess it’s just my nature. Is it wrong according to Judaism? And what can I do to change? Thank you.

, 2 months

Answers

  1. We are taught not to be jealous, feel resentment or hate other people. “You shall not hate your brother in your heart” (Lev. 19:17).

    One of the most difficult emotions to deal with is resentment.

    Resentment can come from many different sources. Here I will list four. It can result from someone genuinely wronging you. Or you may feel wronged by being over-sensitive. Resentment can come from being jealous of someone who seems smarter, better looking, wealthier or has better “luck.” Or resentment can come for no good reason at all! One might dislike another simply because of the way he speaks or dresses or looks.

    You want to change and I applaud you. I will write what I have been taught in Judaism, but it is a lot easier said than done.

    First of all, you need to understand your feelings. Be objective. Were you really wronged? If you were, it is usually best to confront the person tactfully, either directly or indirectly with the help of someone wise. Acting in a positive way to deal with our resentment can often extinguish the poison of resentment and resolve the problem surprisingly quickly.

    Sometimes, however, it is best to just “forgive and forget.” It can help if we recall that not all is in our control and that God has a large say in what occurs, as it were. Perhaps we should contemplate why God might have put us in this situation. Perhaps it is a test to see how we handle it.

    To deal with jealousy we can try to remember that each individual is on his own separate monorail in life. If someone else has something I do not, such as a high IQ or wealth, he is not taking away from me. Each person is born with unique abilities and potential, and if God did not give me something it is because I do not need it to accomplish my purpose in this world.

    And we should remind ourselves that we are all created in God’s image. If there’s no good, logical reason to dislike someone it means that I am despising the image of God.
    However, if we look with a “positive eye” at someone we resent and try and divorce our ego from our emotions, we might begin to see positive traits that they possess.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team