I get so many questions these days from people in the dating scene, and the questions demonstrate one thing to me: people these days are looking for perfection. Guess what - perfection does not exist! If our lives were perfect we would lack purpose in them, and would have no reason to seek our creator. Hashem has seen fit to give us lacking in our lives so that we may grow closer to him. Thinking that things in our lives should be perfect is an imperfection in and of itself, and only demonstrates a level of arrogance which you should work on.
As we go through our lives and encounter obstacles and areas where we are lacking, these provide us with either a lesson or a blessing depending how we handle them. If you take your lacking personally, this is a sign your ego is running the show. Failures are going to happen in your life, you should strive to fail often, quickly, and to move on from them having learned the lesson you were meant to learn.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in life is to fail to make a decision at all. People avoid making decisions due to fear - either fear of making a wrong choice or fear of failure. These fears often stem from the misguided notion that a person should seek perfection in their lives. If you are worried about being perfect, you open yourself up to analysis paralysis and an inability to take any sort of action due to an overwhelming fear of making a mistake.
Even if we believe something is going to work out for the best, unless we take action we are not demonstrating our trust in our creator. Lack of action indicates fear, and if we are living in fear we are blocking ourselves from emunah and are unable to receive any blessings. This is why it is so important to understand that the lack in our lives is there for a good reason - to get us closer to our creator. If we do not maintain a belief that our creator is working for our benefit, when we encounter a lack we will flee from it rather than recognize the potential for growth being offered to us. These are the only two courses of action we have when faced with a challenge: we either flee from it or face it!
Emunah is absolutely necessary for a person to be able to get past their lacks in life. People who are successful today share a common trait: resilience. They recover quickly from their failures and move on to the next action. This behavior separates the perfectionists from the “good enough-ists”. Perfectionism is rooted in ego and leads a person to depression and anxiety, while a person maintaining a “good enough” mentality focuses instead on what they should do to improve themselves.
Perfectionists are constantly worried about what others think of them and how they are perceived by everyone in their lives, as they crave approval and external validation. They maintain unrealistic expectations for themselves and their lives, and if something does not seem perfect or come to them perfectly they will cast it aside assuming it is not meant for them. Perfectionists obsess over a thought or idea, maintaining a single-mindedness which weakens their vision and clouds their perspective.
So many people today fall into the trap of a perfectionist mindset due to their belief that as long as they make the right choices they will end up happy. This is entirely wrong! Happiness is dependent on the effort we put towards making things work in our lives, not on the choices we make. When a person makes a mistake they should be asking themselves “what’s next?” not dwelling on the mistake and thinking “why me?”.
Rabbi Nachman teaches us that Hashem will sometimes remove our daht, causing us to fall. He does this so that we have the opportunity to rise, as we cannot rise without first falling. Perfectionism runs counter to this and to the teachings of the Torah, so do not adhere to a perfectionist mindset!
Falling serves another purpose in our lives - it humbles us. When you are humble you are closer to your creator, whereas a perfectionist maintains a level of arrogance which drives his creator away from him. You should be grateful for your stumbles and failures in life, as they are an opportunity for you to learn and to grow closer to Hashem! Any time we complain about a lack of perfection in our lives, Hashem will cause us to fall in order to humble us.
Many young people in today’s society have another problem - they hesitate to do things that are good for them due to their ego. No one ever hesitates to engage in something entertaining or instantly gratifying, but as soon as it is time to take action to benefit our spirit, we hesitate! Remember, on the other side of that hesitation is something very good, so do not entertain the hesitation and instead leap into action.
No one on earth is perfect, as we all have our own unique circumstances and lacks in life. Do not concern yourself with that which others have or do not have! Stay in your own lane and focus on your mission in life. If you veer out of your lane, that is when accidents happen. Society today is rife with self-comparisons fueled by social media exposure, but these are counterproductive and you should avoid comparing yourself to others.
You will have some days when you awaken feeling drained, low energy, and unmotivated to go through your daily routine. Why does this happen to us? This happens because we are blessed with free will. In order for there to be light in our lives, there must also be darkness. If you are in a state where you cannot see the light in your life, you are being tested and you need to lean in to your emunah. Hashem tests us so we may prove our trust in Him. Remember this when there is darkness in your life - do not run from the darkness, it is a test!
It is normal for us to feel unhappy some of the time. People think they are supposed to feel good all the time, but this is not true at all. Again, in order for you to rise you must first fall, so feelings of unhappiness are a sign you are being tested in order to achieve a new level of spirituality. Hashem never leaves us, he merely conceals himself from us. He does this so we cry out to him and seek him with fervor, proving our love and trust in Him.
The same event could be responded to completely differently by two people based on the meaning each man assigns to the event. Take the rain for example - one man may view the rain as a blessing, driving people into his shop so that he will have a lucrative day of business. Another may view the same rain as having ruined their day, keeping people indoors and away from his shop. It is the same rain! A man with emunah sees events as challenges, while a man without emunah sees them as threats.
Emunah is like a muscle, it must be exercised regularly or else it will atrophy and die. When you build your emunah you start thinking greater than you feel, which allows you to view those events occurring in your life as challenges rather than as threats. Yes, we must all deal with imperfections and obstacles in our life, and yes we will experience failures, but we should want to fail quickly and rebound from the failure having learned the lesson it was meant to teach us.
When it comes to our relationships, we should enter a relationship seeking to give rather than take. If you are entering a relationship worrying about what you can take from it, this is not a relationship this is just a transaction. Focus not on what you lack but on what you have to give, for when we are focused on what we have we enter our soul state and starve our ego, but when we are focused on what we lack we enter our ego state and starve our soul.
The keys to happiness today are simple: growth and giving. Any time something is not working out in our lives it is because the light we desire and the vessel we have to contain it are not matching. What can we do in this situation? Most people would instinctively complain about a lack of light, but this is not the issue! The light is there, we just don’t have the proper vessel to contain it. Instead of worrying about what Hashem is not doing, worry about what you are supposed to be doing!
In our prayers, we should seek to connect rather than to receive. If you are only praying to obtain blessings, you will not connect and a person without a connection cannot receive anything! Prayer with expectation is a form of arrogance, and just as in our relationships this implies prayer is a transaction, which it absolutely is not. Prayer transforms our desires, making us want things that are good for us and that Hashem wants to provide us. Keep an open heart and pray with intention and feeling, and your blessings will match your desires and then some!
There is such a lack of mindfulness today, as people use iPhones and iPads to zone out of life rather than zoning in on life. Perfectionists look at connecting with their creator and think “How can I connect? I don’t keep kosher, I don’t honor the Shabbat, I can’t do all that!” Perfection is not being asked of you - don’t try to do everything at once, start with one thing to improve your connection with Hashem. We sing with what we have, not of what we lack.
Remember that our energy flows to where we are focused, which is why it is important to start our days off with gratitude. We do this so that we enter the day in a mindset of abundance and gratefulness, which means our energy will flow towards more abundance and more gratitude. Happiness is not available on Amazon - we need to transform our thoughts, our beliefs, and those challenges in our lives into opportunities so that we can overcome and receive all the blessings Hashem has in store for us!