When someone tells an untruth, a series of lies are needed to cover up the first fib. Keeping track of the “story” is terribly draining. It’s so much easier to tell the truth than to keep a “fib file” in order to avoid being caught. Most agree that honesty is the best road to take in life.
Sometimes blurting out a negative comment for the sake of telling the truth may hurt another person. This could also possibly anger or insult to the point where a friendship or business relationship may be irreparably damaged. But what’s one to do when another does something annoying? Sometimes, it seems, a complaint or criticism may be justified!
Instead of complaining, change your behavior towards the one who irritates you. Even if it’s not how you truly feel, act nicely towards the other. Put on this act consistently and watch how the other’s behavior towards you improves over time. Make it easier on yourself by imagining that you are an actor onstage. The way you act will affect the way you’re treated.
At first you must put on a performance. Act in a way you’d like to be treated. If one or more attempts don’t yield results, try again. People are very different one from another. What worked on one may not work on another, so change your approach from time to time. If one approach hits a wall, try another. Just keep trying and you’ll see results.
The fool turns a friend into an enemy, and the wise man turns an enemy into a friend (Tnuat HaMussar, vol. 4, p. 299).
How you act makes the difference.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
When a child is subject to abuse, he needs your support, validation and protection, not whitewashing or minimizing. Many parents are too tolerant of verbal abuse, shrugging it off nonchalantly as insignificant, invalidating the child’s right to be in pain and telling him “It’s nothing. Forgive and forget.” While it is often impossible to educate the offender, forthright action is necessary to prevent further abuse. (Dr. Miriam Adahan, Sticks and Stones, p. 181)
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.