Those Annoying Thoughts I Have

Those Annoying Thoughts I Have

This morning I was dropping 4-year-old Yaakov off at gan when I saw another boy getting dropped off by his older sisters. I know that other boy’s mother, she is my older daughter’s principal. And not only that. She is an excellent principal. With just the perfect combination of passion for education, love for her students, and a thick skin to make her very, very good at what she does.

And just thinking of her, and her major contribution to educating the next generation of Jewish girls, made me feel bad about myself.

I have a BA, I have an MA, I’m a smart person with certain abilities. And what am I doing with those abilities? Taking care of errands, phone calls, and doctors visits in the morning (with a bit of blogging squeezed in) and hanging out in the playground, and then in the kitchen (feeding and then cleaning and then feeding again) most of the afternoon.

And then a really funny thing happened.

Later this morning, I had to pick something up for my husband in Kiryat Belz, and I saw a Belzer woman walking home from the grocery store pushing her shopping cart. And I noticed that in her cart she had 8 bags of flour. I imagined the hours she would spend today baking challos and cakes, filling her apartment, and even the hall outside her apartment, with that heavenly, fresh-baked smell which is such a rarity in the Weisberg home.

And just thinking of her, and all her home-baked goods, made me feel bad about myself.

It’s kind of like it never ends. Seeing this woman, and seeing that woman. And feeling badly because this one has a career and I don’t. And this one makes her own challas, and I don’t.

I think stuff like this all the time, but I am noticing it more now because I am taking Rabbi Nivin’s new “Belief Notebook” chabura. In this chabura, every day we need to write down a disempowering experience we had. And then write down the false belief that caused us to feel disempowered, followed by the true, empowering belief which would make us see how silly we are to get so down on ourselves all the time.

For example, my belief notebook entry today was about the principal.

I wrote, “False belief: True success, fulfillment, and meaningful contribution to the world only come from employment outside of the home.”

Then I wrote, “True belief: I can be a successful, fulfilled person who makes a contribution to the world through caring for my family and myself and pursuing projects from my home.”

The goal of this chabura is that we will create a “Belief Notebook” containing our false beliefs followed by the true beliefs, which we can review whenever those same old, same old disempowering thoughts come up.

Sounds good. I hope it works. I really need it!

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19 comments

  1. I so much know want u mean! When l was first married living in crown hts. I lived close to some super heavy weight ladies that each shabbos had about 15 guests + and baked beautiful challa every shabbos 6 course meal etc. And here l was having trouble coping making shabbos no guests and store bought mediocre challa
    AND of course l felt bad
    BUT over the years l realized that these beliefs are erroneous that only women who have guests and make challah (spelt of course ) are worthwhile So much of miriam adahan’s early work in her EMET group was working on dispelling these faulty belief systems and replacing them with healthier beliefs
    NOW decades later I am sitting here erev shabbos no guests tommorrow and no baked challah! but rather me and my husband and 2 cats plus ministronne soup and store bought sourdough bread for shabbos and that is absolutely fine by me! !!

  2. Yael Maizels

    I am in the midst of a book by Martin Seligman, one of the founders of positive psychology who talks about just that. We have adversity in life, form beliefs and that leads to emotional consequences. It’s a very powerful approach. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Wow, I had all these thoughts driving my nuts today in the torture chamber in my head. Hashem wanted to calm me down, this post is everything I needed to hear..

  4. Impressive as usual, Chana Jenny.

  5. Wonder Woman

    by Bracha Goetz

    My whole life I’ve been waiting for applause,
    Neon lights, autographs, Nobel Prize.
    My whole life I’ve been waiting for applause.
    When it comes, I’ll act coy and surprised.

    Secretly I’ve waited, always wanting to believe
    That the applause would never stop after I’d achieve.
    Secretly I’ve waited, always wanting to believe
    What an elusive tapestry a mixed up mind can weave.

    I worked hard so that I could reach the top,
    A Harvard grad, with A’s on every test.
    I worked hard so that I could reach the top,
    The world would know – it would show – I was best.

    So why’d it always happen I could not convince myself?
    Awards just made a hollow sound when placed upon the shelf.
    And why’d it always happen that the praises stopped so fast?
    Isn’t there a goal to reach where my glory will last?

    Then one day I got tired of this game.
    Wonder girl, though you’ve won, what’s it worth?
    Then one day I got tired of this game.
    Craving more, is it found, here on earth?

    Well, it has not been easy putting old wishes aside.
    While washing piles of dishes, my hands burn with swallowed
    pride.
    No, it has not been easy putting old wishes aside.
    Though I have four children now, the old dreams never died.

    This afternoon it was raining very hard.
    My little ones were getting bored – nowhere to go.
    This afternoon it was raining very hard.
    I decided to put on a puppet show.

    Lining up their kiddie chairs, they sat there in a row.
    I peeked out at them a moment, and their faces were aglow.
    Lining up their kiddie chairs, they sat there in a row.
    Their eyes were full of wonder, as they watched my puppet show.

    My whole life I’ve been waiting for applause.
    Well, it came. And it’s true. It was great.
    My whole life I waited for this applause.
    Their little hands, clapping for joy, were worth the wait.

    And suddenly I realized that here within these walls,
    I did something much greater than in all the lecture halls.
    Suddenly I realized that this glory does not leave.
    Strand by strand, elusive tapestries are starting to unweave.

    Bracha Goetz is now the author of 32 children’s books: http://www.amazon.com/author/spiritualkidsbooks-brachagoetz

  6. Chana Jenny- very good perspective – very much appreciate your posts.

    Bracha- very nice song! I admire your creativity.

  7. Well Chana jenny i feel like this all the time as i am cooped up in my kitchen but we cant see the whole picture and k am sûre the headmistress you talk about has regrets of her own for instance that she cant take her kids to gan or be we them at home in the sfternoon, we all make choices! And dont be silly your blog is of réal importance you change the Life of many like me! The yetser hara make us feel useless when we are doing our most sacred task, raising kids

  8. Noone can do everything. You took your child to gan and the principal didnt. You spend time blogging or whatever that at the same time the challah baking lady is baking. So she is baking and not doing the thing which you are.
    You might have a deeper disempowering belief – that you need to be a high achiever (at everything). Miriam adahan talks about being happy about bring average. How many people are proncipals? Not the average person.
    Outer achievements are a male energy. Female energy is about being. Its about how people feel in your presence.

  9. Koma Achas Sheleimah.

    Jews together create one unit, one wall. Each of us with our expertise in our own area – the one with the perfect smile, the one with the perfect challah, the one with the perfect hygiene, the one with the perfect childcare. Not alone are we perfect, but all of us combined make the perfect nation.

  10. I’ve heard so many great things about Rabbi Nivin’s chaburahs…

    There’s a gemarra that says just as no two faces are exactly alike, so too no two people have the same knowledge and experiences in life. Each person’s role in this world is completely unique, and each person’s lot in life is perfectly suited to it. But, the yatzer hara has a vested interest in making sure we never fulfill that role. It’s his job… and he does it well.

  11. Very interesting post. Not only do I get negative feelings about myself – but I would be judgmental about others… The trick is to focus on loving ourselves and others. We each have a unique role and Hashem confirms that by having us wake up each morning as ourself! Your blog is not just a small hobby. You may feel as if you just expressing yourself to your computer… but your thoughts are read around the globe with much positive impact. Keep it up

  12. Amazing that your shared! I can totally relate. I’m also doing theBelief B’Iyun and I’ve noticed that many of my false beliefs revolve around comparing myself to others. BH so helpful to begin to separate emet from sheker.

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