The Yenta Living Inside My Head

The Yenta Living Inside My Head

Who am I? I mean, for real?
Am I my thoughts? The National Science Foundation reports that the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day, about 80% of which are negative.
So does that mean that I, my deepest self, am 80% negative? Is my truest self that voice inside me that (at certain stressed-out moments) rants stuff like: “Everything’s a mess!” “Everything’s out of control!” “Nobody out there struggles as a mom and homemaker like I do!” “I can’t get ANYTHING right!”
The answer is “No.” Those thoughts are not me.
Last week, I read something which has granted me an unfamiliar sense of calm over the last few days when the ranting and raving start up inside my skull. I read that I am not my thoughts. I am, in fact, the calm, detached awareness watching my thoughts.
My thoughts are, in a sense, provided courtesy of a roommate living inside my head. In my mind’s eye, I can even imagine what my roommate looks like. She sits on a sofa, a bit overweight with a New-York accent, a real yenta. The slightest provocation (I’ve learned) triggers in her a dizzying display of drama, self-flagellation, and earthshaking JewishMOM angst: “Everything’s a mess!” “Everything’s out of control!” “Nobody out there struggles as a mom and homemaker like I do!” “I can’t get ANYTHING right!”
But that’s not me talking, that’s my roommate. Though I do hope she manages to find alternative living arrangements soon. But until then, it helps me to remember that the real me is that indwelling being (AKA soul) watching my roommate. No matter what drama is taking place in my life and/or in my head my true self is calm, wise, above-it-all, at peace.


  1. YES! This is a very big step, just to notice the part, or roommate that spews this stuff…. And… There are therapeutic tools that can help to take the next step and engage the ‘roommate’ in a more helpful dialogue, where you can learn from her what she is trying to achieve with her diatribe, do some deep healing, and come to an agreement with her that will change the role she takes and the way she speaks to you. It’s called IFS therapy, and it can really be life changing.

  2. How about offering her a make-over?
    By Mina Esther Gordon
    There is a person living in my brain
    Whose main goal is to drive me insane.
    Enthroned on a couch feet propped high
    Gorging on cake as she casts a critical eye
    On all that happens in my home, my palace
    Points out every fault a smile hides her malice.
    She destroys my confidence I feel as low as can be
    I can take this no longer I want to be free!
    The answer comes to me like a sudden flash of light
    I cannot chase her out it’s a waste of time to fight
    A makeover will change our unwelcome guest
    We”ll harness her negativity and bring out the best.
    We will teach her to stop using all-encompassing language
    “Never” “ always” “everyone” “should” these words can cause anguish.
    I”ll train her to close that eye that looks for the dirt
    And to open her good eye, believe me it won’t hurt.
    Practice positive praise finding nice things to say
    Soon my unwanted guest will be invited to stay.

  3. Yup, compassionate awareness nourishes our true essence!

    And that’s a great poem, Mina Esther!

  4. Love the visualization- I just went to a shiur yesterday and she described the inner yenta you mentioned as the yetzer hora-both have their roles but the key is to remember, like you so beautifully said, that it’s not our essence/ neshama!

  5. I recently joined a Tanya class. Tanya teaches that our thought speech and actions are garments for our soul. Our soul is our essence.

    The natural setup of humans is that we each posses the ability, the potential, to coose our thoughts (what stays in our heads, not what pops in, but the thoughts we invite to Stay) even one who is a “kal shebekalim” has this ability in their nature.

    basically you need not be a great Rebbetzin to be able to do this, to activate this innate ability.

    Your piece illustrates this idea that o learned this week so well!

    • I was also thinking about this being related, how the thoughts are the garments of the soul

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