Why I’m Jealous of Dudu

Why I’m Jealous of Dudu

If they send Dudu to Gaza, he will singlehandedly blend up the Hamas and drink them for breakfast.

But in his daily life, football-physique Dudu isn’t consuming Islamic fundamentalists. On an average day Dudu manages his wine store around the corner from my house, and once a month or so I swing by there to pick up a liter of apple juice concentrate for my kids.

But since I gave birth I’ve been thinking about Dudu an awful lot.

You see, in general in my life I have thin skin. But during the weeks following birth, I have no skin whatsoever. I am a turtle without a shell. And stressful interactions leave me traumatized for DAYS, as though someone just left his footprint on my shell-less back.

And when I’m reeling from yet another stressful event, I remember Dudu. He’s not scared of anyone or anything! He’s like a turtle with a shell. No…what I mean is that he’s like a turtle driving around in a tank! Nothing bothers him!

The other day, I was walking around Jerusalem thinking “If only, if only I could be more like Dudu…” And then I walked into a bookstore and picked up Dr. Miriam Adahan’s new book Appreciating People which describes the strengths and weaknesses of people with different personality types. You’re not going to believe this, JewishMOM, but I cracked open the book to page to page 117, which is the chapter about MY personality type titled “Intuitive Feelers: Empathizers.” What was bizarre was that when I read Dr. Adahan’s chapter about people with this personality type, I realized that it could have just as easily been called “Chapter 6: Meet Chana Jenny Weisberg.”

Listen to this: “In talking to an Intuitive Feeler, one feels that one’s emotions penetrate and are absorbed by the Intuitive Feeler. There are no walls or barriers. This is not something they can control; it is their nature, for better and for worse…”

“…Intuitive Feelers are like fragile gardenias who crave love and harmony. Being innately kind and compassionate, their fragile spirits wither around people who are hostile or hypocritical. When a person experiences stress, nerve cells fire off a round of electrical charges in the brain. Intuitive Feelers possess more neurotransmitter receptors in their brain’s emotional center than other types. This overabundance causes nerves to fire faster, triggering a rise in stress hormones…In intuitive feelers these hormones spike sooner, soar higher, stay higher longer and take longer to return to baseline…[resulting in an] electrical storm…

“Intuitive Feelers are haunted by catastrophes like the Holocaust, unable to fathom how people can be cold, heartless and lacking in shame, pity or remorse. They are distressed [for example] at the high level of child abuse…”

Before reading this, I had thought that most people (except for Dudu) are sensitive like me. But that’s not the case. Only FIVE PERCENT of people fall into my excruciatingly empathetic personality group.

So over the past few days, I’ve felt a lot more appreciation for my personality-linked limitations as well as my personality-blessed strengths.

Being extremely empathetic, I have realized, helps me to be a sensitive JewishMOM. To be a caring community member. To run a website that is able to inspire and move other JewishMOMs, even (if I’m successful) to tears.

And over the past few days, I’ve also been able to appreciate my small Introverted Intuitive Feeler victories. A few days after I read this chapter, even though I felt uncomfortable, I pushed myself to ask my cleaning lady to not forget to bring down the trash from upstairs as she had the week before. A victory for this harmony-craving Intuitive Feeler! And again, the same day I pushed myself to remind my corner store owner to not forget my 5% discount as he had the week before. A victory for this conflict-phobic Intuitive Feeler!

And over the past few days, my new self-understanding has also enabled me to be more realistic about my limitations. A few days ago an acquaintance invited me to the bris for her grandson, but I know that a very toxic person will also be there. So today I decided that I won’t go to that bris. The days it would take me to recover from the inevitable difficult interaction with this toxic person are just not worth the blink of joy the grandmother would get from seeing me there.

I know, Dudu would just go to the bris. If anyone looked at him funny, he would blend him up and drink him for breakfast.

But Hashem didn’t make me Dudu. He made me Chana Jenny. For better and for worse. Thank you Hashem for making me ME.

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8 comments

  1. I have to be honest, I can’t STAND that book! I hate how it compartmentalizes people, and by definition shows you where you’ll find all of their deficiencies. (“She’s an unhealthy 3.”)

    I’m glad it helps you to be more self-aware, but I do want to caution others that it may seriously detract from your ability to have Ahavas Yisroel, since you feel that you must analyze them first, and judge their level of functioning based on how you perceive them.

  2. is the book a reprinting of the original book “appreciating people,including yourself”, or is it a new book? thx

    • it’s based on the first book, but she’s made a lot of changes in this edition.

  3. T too know that book and I pretty much fall into the extroverted sensory/judging type.it is my baseline..I enjoy people of all kinds, when a family member was hospitalzed I became friendy with the janitor from Bangeldesh, nurses,didn’t matter whom. and it also explains why I see everything through the lens of the senses: color music, smell,touch,taste, etc. However, I caution myself and others that I am not bound by this category – it is only a reference point, and through chassidus and constant avodah, I try to go out of my boundaries and my nature, albeit it is hard, but that’s the true avodah of a Jew. Sometimes it is better for me NOT to talk in a given situation learning to value the middah of silence, to be more discriminating; boy that’s work for me but that’s growth.I don’t want to get bogged down in my personality type, I have the ability to fly to other domains not getting too stucked in my comfort zone

    ps. I applaud you for choosing NOT to go to that bris, knowing that a toxic individual would be there leaving you in a blue funk for days. I too have become much more cautious and particular about NOT going to certain events anymore. It is good to make these choices w/o the guilt as it enpowers us. BTW these choices become much easier as one gets older as one reaizes how precuos time is and how it must be used wisely (yet another thing to look forward to as one gets older!) hatzlacha!

  4. do you know where I can find it, I read the Nobody is perferct once and helped me a lot, I am an ola jadasha so dont know lot of places or bookstores. I live in givat zeev, tnx!

  5. love that chana jenny

  6. Sounds like it was very empowering and liberating for you Chana Jenny. Way to go!

  7. I so relate to what you have said here and really admire you for your courage to recognise your own unique qualities and how to stretch those to their maximum potential without comparing to others who have completely different ways of veiwing and and feeling the world and therefore different nisyonot. I also often think about this and how I feel as though I have a similar personality ,an “intuitive feeler” – its not easy coming to a sense of acceptance of it as one can experience things so intensely that its to painful to bear! but its important to realise that this point inside ourselves is what makes us feel and what makes us feel makes us grow as without any feeling of awareness we could never shape ourselves into who we ultimately want to be!
    Kol hakavod!

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