Growing Each Day by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski

Iyar 24
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One who flatters another person in order to win favor will ultimately suffer disgrace (Avos De R' Nosson 29:4).

The insatiable need to receive praise from others can be one of the most powerful, albeit destructive, motivating forces in human behavior. People who have the need for praise generally suffer from such low self-esteem that they need constant assurance that they are really worthy. Since this low self-esteem has no place in reality, measures such as praise or other affirmation can never counteract it. The pit of low self-esteem is bottomless; nothing ever fills it.

Desperately trying to receive external affirmation, people flatter and fawn to please others, so that they may react positively toward them. While giving false compliments may appear innocent, the attempts to win favor may snare this flatterer in relationships and obligations that are likely to backfire, so that they suffer embarrassment, not the expected admiration.

A healthy self-awareness would obviate the need for such tactics, and a devotion to honesty would prevent indulging in the falsehoods that initially bring about the desired response, but eventually result in further loss of both one's self-respect and the respect of others.

Today I shall...

avoid fawning and flattering. Instead, I will try to achieve a self-esteem which will render these unnecessary.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

 

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