“Sarah is always so cheerful!” Rivkah said. “I’d like to change places with her!”
“I wouldn’t jump to conclusions,” Deborah warned. “I happen to know of a few things going on in her life that you might not be able to handle with a smile.”
“Well, she sure seems happy as far as I can tell,” Rivkah said.
“I didn’t say she’s not happy,” Deborah said. “I just wanted you to know that there are serious issues she’s dealing with every day and not everyone would be able to be so pleasant were they in her position.”
“What’s her secret?” Rivkah asked.
“She’s very good at thought control,” Deborah explained. “She has the power of positive thinking. It’s something not everyone has mastered.”
Who you are really depends on who you think you are. There are people who tend to see things in a negative light. Their leanings create a gloomy view of life. Others have a positive perspective on even the most depressing situations. Their positive leanings empower them to successfully survive the blows life delivers from time to time. One must realize that no matter what physical realities exist, a person is where his or her thoughts are.
Everyone has a choice to elevate one’s thoughts or to depress oneself. A person who is young in years may think tired, elderly thoughts, while an elderly individual may be young at heart. A person who is facing difficulties may frame them as problems or may, on the other hand, view them as challenges or opportunities. One’s happiness is dependent on how one chooses to see one’s circumstances.
Look at the brighter side and you’ll feel the benefits.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
If you are not able to do acts of kindness for others for altruistic reasons, and your main motivation is to win the approval of others, you should continue to help as many people as you can. Our Sages said, “A person should devote himself to Torah study and good deeds even for selfish reasons. From deeds done for ulterior motives one will eventually be motivated by pure intentions ‘for the sake of Heaven.’” (Chofetz Chaim, Ahavas Chessed, part 2, chap. 39)
Rabbi Raymond Beyda serves in the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, N.Y. He lectures to audiences all over the world. He has distributed over 500,000 recorded lessons free of charge. He is author of the book 1 Minute With Yourself: A Minute a Day to Self-Improvement, Sephardic Press, 2008.