Heshy was really upset. The manager had criticized his report, but Heshy remained convinced he had done a great job and resented his superior’s negative assessment.
“You shouldn’t let him get you down,” said his wife reassuringly, trying to dispel his bitterness. “It’s not the first time he did this, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Besides, if you believe it was a good job, that’s what’s important.”
“That’s easy for you to say,” Heshy retorted. “You weren’t the one who expended so much time and effort to get the job done! When I submitted my work, I really believed it was a good job.”
Chovot Halevavot (5:5) says that one should strive to reach the point where outside praise and external criticism don’t impact one’s feelings. It’s a difficult ideal to achieve, but realizing one’s worth can prevent emotional damage caused by another’s assessment.
On the other hand, some people can’t handle praise. Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak of Lublin once praised a man in a group where the subject of the plaudits was present. The Rebbe noticed the person’s face turn red. “You haven’t reached the proper level as yet. You should work on yourself to react to praise and insult in the same manner.” (Esser Orot, p. 94)
Everyone has intrinsic value. One must be aware of one’s own self-worth to the point where outside comments — whether encouraging or discouraging — don’t change one’s view of oneself. Balance enables one to perform steadily and with self-confidence from hour to hour and from day to day. The cumulative effect will be positive results in the long run.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
Marriage is the commitment of two people who set out to realize what they really are — a mutual expression of tzelem Elokim! This is the goal.
Therefore, when we get married, we must be patient. Only the future will reveal the truth about how hard a chassan and kallah are willing to work to build their marriage, their home and their life together. The result of this effort is simchah. (Harav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, The Torah Home, pp. 63–4)