My Ridiculous Thoughts

My Ridiculous Thoughts

This morning, on my way to Yaakov’s gan, I saw an older woman. 70-ish, with wrinkles and a cane. And I thought, “I am turning 45 next month. Before I know it, I will be all wrinkled and hobbling like her”

Then I saw an obese woman who was wearing the exact same boots as me. And I thought, “You see, Chana Jenny, you are also fat. All fat people wear boots like that!”

Then I saw Yaakov’s ganenet, who has been teaching for 30 years. And I thought, “Look at her, she has been a ganenet for 30 years. And what have YOU been doing for the past 30 years, Chana Jenny?!”

Yes, I am embarrassed to share the ridiculous, self-critical things I think, like, all the time.

And I’m sharing them today because this week, bestselling author Noa Yaron-Dayan completely channeled my own ridiculous, self-critical thoughts in her Pnima column (which I found so perfect, I read it three times). She wrote:

“If only I were more disciplined…

“If only I were more determined regarding toothbrushing, afternoon naps, sweets only once every two weeks, organizing the upper cabinets more than once every two years. If only…

“If only I counted calories. If only I had a reminder on my phone that it’s time to go to the dental hygienist. If only I was taking a parenting class. If only I was that one who buys the presents for all the teachers…

“If only, but what can I do if I’m only me. And as the years pass, it seems that this is a chronic problem…

“How cruel we are to ourselves. And everyone thinks she’s the only one. That besides her everyone is dragging her own life along with calm and nobility. But this is the sickness of a generation whose evil inclination, Rebbe Nachman says, is not called “Yetser Hara” but rather “the power of imagination.

“And in a world where the imagination works for the Satan, it is hard to love ourselves. We aren’t as photogenic as we should be. We aren’t perfect enough. And if I’m not perfect enough, not thin enough, not pretty enough, not young enough, not rich enough, then how can I love myself?

“And my self-hatred has reached up to here, and I just can’t handle it anymore. I cannot allow myself at my advanced age to to be sad because of what I am not. It damages the skin of my face, and my inner organs.

“I have to be happy, instead, over what I am.”

I HAVE TO BE HAPPY, INSTEAD, OVER WHAT I AM.

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7 comments

  1. Chana,
    Thanks so much for the bite of inspiration.
    I do miss Kiryat Moshe and second-guess our move all the time, even though our new neighborhood is fine, and the new apartment is great.
    I didn’t see this month’s Pnima yet because on the long list of stuff I should be doing and haven’t yet is changing mailing addresses on the subscription…
    All the best!
    Miriam

    • nice to hear from you! yaakov talks all the time about yaakov shalom! where did you move to?

  2. I really needed that today! I was on ridiculous thoughts overload this morning and it always helps knowing that I am not alone. Thanks so much.

  3. That was an amazing piece of writing. So deep. I used to have so many more of those thoughts when I had less children. Somehow the gift of my somewhat unexpected large family and the sometimes overwhelm has quieted that voice for me because I NOW KNOW FOR SURE that not everything is within my reach, power or control….. my new inner voice is mostly lifting up my arms and saying “I can’t right now, and there will come a day when I will again.”

  4. It is impossible to have Ahavas Yisroel – love of a fellow if we don’t love ourselves. We all need to work on bitachon and knowing that we are doing the best we can with the tools we have – facing the challenges Hashem gives us. We would not want or be able to deal with someone else’s challenges.
    Having a job outside the home is not the sole determination of one’s value or worth. You could not put a price on what you do for and with your family. That doesn’t mean we should be smug or look down on others either. We just have to keep struggling along – Yom, yom. day by day.

  5. Sorry jenny i cant understand your sentence”what have you done for the past 30 years”???? Do you know about a blog called jewishmom.com?

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