“Why would you do such a foolish thing?” Joseph asked. “You had to know you’d get in big trouble!”
“I don’t know what came over me,” Rephael said. “I thought the boys would like me and make me a part of the ‘in’ crowd.”
“I can understand wanting to be accepted by ‘the boys,’ but everything has a price and I think what you did was too ‘expensive,’” Joseph said. “It wasn’t worth it.”
“I can see your point now, but while it was happening my natural desire for approval won out,” Rephael said. “I couldn’t help myself.”
There’s a mistaken notion that people have a natural desire for approval and there’s nothing they can do to control it. Overcoming the need to be liked, some say, is impossible; it is one of the emotional needs with which everyone was created. In fact, however, the desire for approval is not inborn. Rather it is created by each individual to the degree that s/he chooses.
What should control a person’s behavior is choosing to do what is right. The question a person should ask is, “What is the proper thing for me to do now?” This will focus one’s energy on productive, beneficial action. On the other hand, by framing the question as “How will others look at me if I…?” one will act in a way that is not always correct.
One must abandon the thought that things are natural and beyond control. One should realize that Hashem has given people the ability to choose what to do and what to avoid. The one who must “like me” is … ME!
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
Whenever you go against the will of Hashem, deep, deep inside you feel absolutely horrible! After all, what foolwould ever want to do that? You know that these actions are not inyour best interest, and you never fully internally agreed to do these sinful actions and thoughts! Therefore, it is as though you were hijacked and forced to go against your true wish and desire to be close to Hashem. (Yaakov Shain and Avi Fishoff, GPS! Navigation for Your Soul, p. 145)
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.