we all have times when we struggle. we have family problems. we have relationship problems. we have work problems.
sometimes, it is our conduct which is causing the struggle. we act in a way that contributes to the problem. we, however, cannot get out of our own way. we hold in our belief system that we know ourselves better than anyone else. thus, we think “what can others say to help me?” if we listen to others, we acknowledge our vulnerability. we acknowledge that someone else is smarter than us. it is a moment of humility. a blow to our ego.
three words, “get over it!” life is all about perspective. each individual experiences life through their own perspective. they view life through their own eyes.
as a result, someone else’s vision of you can offer an additional perspective on yourself.
i offer you the most powerful example. while it is not about conduct, it is informative.
my cousin had essentially been house bound for an extended period of time. he was invited to attend my son’s bris or ritual circumcision at my parents house. he is bald. at the bris, people commented to him that he had a growth on the back side of his head. it was something that he could not see. shortly after the bris, he went to a doctor and the condition was treated. frequently, he has commented that showing up at the bris and being told of the growth literally saved his life. in sum, others could see about him what he could not.
the ten commandments story has one of the best examples of getting advice from others. moses was already the leader of the children of israel and had been the instrument to lead them out of egypt. at that point in time, he must have had significant responsibilities that he felt were his to bear.
in the book of exodus, jethro, moses’ father in law, comes to visit moses. exodus 18:13.
“it came about on the next day that moses sat down to judge the people, and the people stood before moses from the morning until the evening. when moses’ father in law saw what he was doing to the people, he said, “what is this thing that you are doing to the people? why do you sit by yourself, while all the people stand before you from morning till evening?” moses said to his father in law, “for the people come to me to seek god. if any of them has a case, he comes to me, and i judge between a man and his neighbor, and i make known the statutes of god and his teachings.” moses’ father in law said to him, “the thing you are doing is not good. you will surely wear yourself out both you and these people who are with you for the matter is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. now listen to me. I will advise you, and may the lord be with you. [you] represent the people before god, and you shall bring the matters to god. and you shall admonish them concerning the statutes and the teachings, and you shall make known to them the way they shall go and the deed[s] they shall do. but you shall choose out of the entire nation men of substance, God fearers, men of truth, who hate monetary gain, and you shall appoint over them [Israel] leaders over thousands, leaders over hundreds, leaders over fifties, and leaders over tens. and they shall judge the people at all times, and it shall be that any major matter they shall bring to you, and they themselves shall judge every minor matter, thereby making it easier for you, and they shall bear [the burden] with you. and they shall judge the people at all times, and it shall be that any major matter they shall bring to you, and they themselves shall judge every minor matter, thereby making it easier for you, and they shall bear [the burden] with you. moses obeyed his father in law, and he did all that he said”.
with respect to this event, please consider the following: first, jethro was a midian priest. he was an experienced religious leader. second. jethro was his father in law. he had moses’ best interest at heart. third, jethro had the opportunity to observe and see the problem. fourth, jethro offered a well thought solution to the problem. he offered wisdom. fifth, jethro had no interest other than helping moses. in fact, jethro left shortly after giving the advice.
thus, when taking advice, you should look at experience of the adviser, the interests of the adviser, the quality of the observations of the adviser, and the quality of the solutions offered.
in sum, from time to time, we need help from others for improvement. it is a difficult step to do because of our egos. at times, we need be open-minded for our own sake.
It is important to recognize that the observations of others may be accurate. there in fact may be a need to change course.
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