Showing posts with label Regret. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Regret. Show all posts

October 6, 2019

Teshuva Through An IDF Soldier’s Eyes

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Teshuva Through An IDF Soldier's Eyes."
He said, just think about it: “You have the chance to say I’m sorry, I regret what I did, and I won’t do it again, and be forgiven — what a tremendous opportunity that is!” I had never really thought of repentance in this particular way…as an opportunity. Usually, it’s more of something that is uncomfortable, difficult, and that we really don’t want to have to do.

So with a few more days to go before Yom Kippur, let us thank G-d for the chance to make amends and do better in life, because this is an incredible opportunity and a true blessing, and one that we do not know will ever come again.


(Credit Photo: Gil Kremer, Israel Defense Forces)
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March 25, 2018

Sadistic SOBs

So the scariest people in the world are the sadistic ones. 

They are the ones without empathy.

They get pleasure from hurting others. 

Yes, we all hurt other people sometimes.

But it's different when we do it by accident or when we feel bad about our wrongful actions.

Sadistic people don't just not feel bad or regret...

Instead, they actually savor watching others suffer and squirm. 

Other people's pain and misfortune are what gives them their energy and happiness. 

Rather than working on themselves, they rather put down others. 
"I'm better, because your worse or because I kick your a*s!"

What types of people are these? 

They are not really human. 

They are lacking genes for empathy. 

They are lacking a holy soul. 

They are cold, calculated, and hateful. 

While it wonderful to see some people seek love and peace. 

It is disturbing to see those that run after hate and harm. 

Your loss is their gain. 

Your pain is their pleasure. 

Your tears are their springs.

Your cries are their laughter. 

Why did G-d put these sub-humans in this world?

Perhaps to test us humans

Can we maintain dignity, integrity, and humanity among the beasts of hell? 

We can, but like others that have gone before us, we bear the mark of fighting with the devil. 

The devils live among us, but we must still strive to be angels before man and G-d. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 4, 2017

The Excuses We Make

So on the way to the airport, I am talking with the Uber driver. 

"There is such a discrepancy between the rich and the poor here," I say.

"Yeah," she says, "When I drive and stop at the lights, there are many poor people that come up to the car looking for a handout."

She continues, "I usually have a few dollars here" pointing to the little cubby hole under the parking break. 

"But my friends make fun of me saying, they [the panhandlers] are just going to go out and buy a beer!"

Excuse #1 not to give poor people--they'll misuse our charity and buy alcohol, drugs, or prostitutes. 

The driver says, "But so what...if I were in their shoes, I'd buy a beer too."

I'm thinking, hey this is nice...she's fighting the bad inclination and her friends pressure and still wants to give--this is great!

Sure enough, we stop at a red light, and a really poor man starts walking up to the window to ask for help.

This person is dressed in dirty battered rags of an undershirt, and has sores on their arms and body.

The driver says, "Yeah, if I gave him, he'd probably just switch his shirt inside out later [as if the other side would be magically less dirty and ripped] and go home to his Rolls Royce!"

Wow, when excuse #1 doesn't hold...

Excuse #2--the poor people are just faking it...really they aren't poor, but rather they are fantastically rich and trying to pocket some more money for free.

It's like the evil inclination sitting on one shoulder telling us "don't give,"  even as the good inclination is sitting over our other shoulder beseeching us to have mercy and "give, give, give."

In this case, the evil inclination won out. 

I reached for my wallet and wanted to open my window, but honestly this person looked scary--dirty and maybe sick--I was afraid of this person. 

I hope G-d forgives me, because I feel it wasn't my evil inclination making excuses, but this time it was genuine for me. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 26, 2017

Taking It Back

So I was watching Baahubali, the highest grossing movie in India, ever. 

Enjoyed the Bollywood action and pageantry and am looking forward to the sequel coming out this week.

There was one line in the movie, spoken between swordsmen that stood out to me:

"Spoken words and spilled blood can never be taken back."

Mean and harsh word can cut like a knife and hurting someone with words or deeds, can never really be taken back. 

Sure, we can ask for forgiveness and try to make amends.

But it's like once you let the genie out the bottle, you can never really put her and keep her back in. 

A veteran recently fought to have a VA hospital in Florida put the picture of the President up instead of the blank frame on the wall they had (some nonsensical notion of resistance indicating "not my president")--the veteran said about trying to right this wrong:
"It's like trying to put 5 pounds of baloney back in a bag that only holds 2 pounds."

People are doing bad things and saying bad these things these days that can't be just taken back. 

Family, friends, and colleagues--are fighting it out and splitting up.

Each side tells themselves and the other that their cause is right and noble.  

But how much of it is really just brainwashing, hyperbole, and politicking?

While our values as individuals and as a nation should never be put at stake, maybe we could get more done and better by working together than spilling blood--friend and friend, neighbor and neighbor. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 8, 2016

Content Filtering - Should We Restrain Ourselves?

So the Rabbi today spoke about thinking before you speak, and not letting your emotions overcome your logic. 

He mentioned, for example, how some people have so much rage--road rage, email rage, etc.--and you can't let your rage dictate your actions. 

People can certainly get under your skin--just look at the candidates for President doing that to each other.

But rather than just react and blurt out stupid or horrible things in a tit-for-tat, we need to stop and think.

The Rabbi recounted the old advice of counting to ten before saying or doing something rash that you will regret. 

The joke was about the one guy bullying another, and the victim counts to ten like he's supposed to, but then rather than take things down a notch or two, he surprises the bully when he hits ten by punching him right in the nose! (lol)

Another cute idea the Rabbi put out there was for marriage counseling--that husbands and wives should drink this "special water" that they hold in their mouth--this way when they are fighting, they have to pause and can't say anything provocative and aggressive to each other. 

The speak then turned high-tech to some of the new apps for content filtering that help you not to send emails or texts that you are sorry for afterwards. 

And I leaned over to my neighbor in synagogue and said that is so funny, because I just saw this 16-year Indian old girl on Shark Tank who developed this app called ReThink that does just that. 

When you write something negative like ugly or stupid etc., a pop up box comes up and ask whether you really want to say that--it gives you pause to rethink what you are saying and doing. 

She notes from her studies of adolescents that when given the opportunity from this pause, "93% of the time, [they] decide not to post an offensive message on social media."

I remember one colleague at work used to recommend, "write what you want [with all your emotions], but then delete it, and write what will be constructive to the situation [with your logic]."

Getting back to the election, a lot of what the candidates are saying now and from decades ago is stupid or shameful--"locker room banter"--maybe we need to have a filter on our mouths even when we think other people aren't listening. 

Realistically, we can't and shouldn't have to go around filtering every word we say and holding back on every deed we do--there is something to be said for simply following your moral compass in the moment and reacting naturally, talking and doing from the heart and based on instinct, inner belief, and passion. 

But if you are getting angry, then it is best to hit the pause button and filter yourself before someone else has to count to ten and pop you one in your big dumb coconut face. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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January 15, 2016

It's Not About The Regrets

So a teacher recently gave her students a scenario with the following moral dilemma:

An important and talented surgeon who has saved many lives in the past and will surely save many more in the future runs across an old man who has slipped and fallen under the cracking ice into a lake after trying unsuccessfully to save his puppy from drowning.  

The old man is trapped and will freeze to death in short order.

Should the surgeon walk across the breaking ice and risk his own life to try and save the old man?

The vast majority of students' responded...that the surgeon should try and save the old man.

When asked why they thought that, most said because otherwise he would feel guilty afterwards. 

Thinking about that it seems like a funny reason to do something dangerous, heroic, and maybe utterly stupid...so as not to feel guilty. 

I guess that I would've thought people who would advocate for trying to save the old man would say something like

- Every life is valuable!
- Saving one person is like saving the world.
- Helping people even at our own risk or peril is what we do for our fellow human beings.
- We would want others to help us if we were in trouble, so we should do that for them. 

While we can't judge someone else for how they react in situations of genuine moral conflict, we can teach the younger generation that doing something good for others is about more than just not feeling bad or guilty afterwards (for being lazy, selfish, or making the wrong call in the situation).

Making moral judgements is about choosing in every situation to try your best to do what's right, help people, be a good influence, take responsibility, and generally act selflessly, but not recklessly. 

Regret stinks (and can be truly painful), but missing opportunities to live a good, meaningful life is much worse. ;-)

(Source Photo: The Blumenthals)
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September 22, 2015

Yom Kippur, When The Masks Come Off

This mask does not mean that Jews have horns--that is a crappy and evil stereotype, so cut it out. 

Masks are dress-up and pretend, like the way most people behave day-in and day-out. 

People imagine and feign to be what they would like to be or what they want others to believe they are. 

Like when someone is gearing up for a fight, they extend their arms, raise their voices, bob up and down to make themselves appear bigger and more formidable than they really are. 

It's a fake out--but perception is (often) reality. 

Similarly, people may wear clothes, drive cars, or live in big fancy homes that make them look well-to-do, but really it's a great act and all bought on extensive credit (ever hear of 0% down!). 

Others may dream of being seen as smart and the go-to guy for answers, the subject matter expert, or the generally wise person for advice and guidance, but are they really smarter than everyone else or do the degrees plastering the wall like wallpaper or titles like doctor, lawyer, accountant, entrepreneur, professor, and Rabbi simply often invoke credentials and an air rather than the smarts that should accompany them.

Even parents may pose for loving pictures with their children, seem to dote on them, and act the helicopter parents, but still when it comes to their own busy schedules, they have no real time or attention left for the little ones--because the parents put themselves first. 

It happens all the time, every which way, the authority figure who really abuses their authority rather than lives up to it. 

People are human, weak, fallible--and the show is often a lot better than the characters behind it. 

But that doesn't mean we stop trying to be inside what we know we really should be--more loving, caring, giving, and good people. 

This is the essence of Yom Kippur to me, the Day of Atonement--the day when we shed all our phony masks--and instead we bear out our sins, bend our heads with shame, are sorry for what we have done wrong, and commit to doing better in the future.

Yom Kippur is the day when all the masks are off--we cannot hide from G-d Almighty, the all seeing and all knowing.  

On Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgement we are inscribed, and on Yom Kippur the book is sealed. 

In Judgement, we may enter the court of heaven with heads still held up high, with the same act that we try to show every day, but on Yom Kippur we leave the court with our heads down and our hands humbly clasped, the sentence meted out for who we really are--based not on pretense, but on our underlying behavior.

A mask covers what is, when the mask is off we are left with who we are--naked before our maker, where all is revealed, and we must account for our actions--good, bad, or even just plain indifferent. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 14, 2015

Moving And Emotional

So we are supposed to be moving in a few weeks, G-d willing. 

Not going far, but after 15 years in the same home, it's time. 

We found a place that we like and could agree on...following primarily the rule of thumb on location, location, location.

Lot's of places to shop, eat, workout, play, and pray. 

And close to public transportation...and of course, good 'ol work--his and hers.

As we're preparing for the move, there seems like a million things to do to get ready, but the hardest is figuring out what to take and what to leave. 

My friend told me to throw out half, and then come back and throw out the other half. 

You know what, a little extreme, but not a bad idea. 

So as I am going through things I bought or saved over the years, I am left scratching my head at what was I thinking for many of them, and for many of the memorable items that I can't believe any of this really happened. 

It's emotional looking back, and it's emotional looking forward--just different emotions.

Back--yes, where did the years go and with that regret for mistakes made, but also joy at things accomplished, lives touched, and beautiful memories made with people I really love. 

Forward--Oy, am I getting older (well, still middle age but...), there is excitement for what comes next, also some anxiety there--I hope all goes well, please G-d--and then there is the acknowledgement that it's not forever, and I better make the most of every moment of every day. 

My father used to tell me, when you are with those you love, you can live in a tee-pee and be happy...and I believe he was absolutely right. 

Moving to my next tee-pee with those precious to me...I don't care so much where, but just that we are together and happy. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 25, 2014

What Will You Regret?

My friend used to tell me from his learning that no one on their death bed regrets not working more, instead what they regret is not spending more time with their loved ones (family and friends).

Think about it, could you imagine someone hooked up to IVs and palliative medicines saying, "Listen to me, one thing I've learned in this life is that work is it!"

Sure we should work hard and do a good job, but usually, it's the other way around, where people endlessly chase material things, wealth, power, and prestige...they work days, nights, weekends...and almost to hell with everyone and everything else.

Hey they say, with this beautiful excuse, "I've got to make a [good] living!"

So the people we love and should be caring about suffer, needlessly. 

So of course, it goes without saying that we regret the mistakes we made, the opportunities to do good that we missed, and the hurt we caused others. 

I have some colleagues though that I really admire...who work hard and do a damn good job--they are some of my best people, yet the funny thing is they put family first!

How can that be you say?

I don't know for sure, but perhaps because they know their real purpose in life, and live with balance (work-life, materialism-spiritualism, etc.) and true caring for others, they are able to be more sensible and balanced in getting their jobs done. 

Honestly, these are the people that are able to get things done--presumably at home and with community--but I see it with my own eyes, at work.

Another thing...

My older daughter the other day sent me an article about people sick (with cancer etc.) and dying and how they look back at life and one thing they wish is that they had appreciated their bodies more. 

I guess now that their bodies are sort of degrading with illness and age, they appreciate what they should've appreciated, but likely didn't before, their physical health.

Some of them said things like they wished they had exercised more, enjoyed sex more, spent time outside enjoying the beauty of the world more, and so on.

I've been thinking about this, about my body and my physical senses and what they mean to me.

What is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, the sweetest smell, the best voice or music I've ever heard, the most luscious taste, or the softest thing I've touched. 

It really is amazing the senses that G-d gave us and the beauty all around us that cradles us in this world.

We need to savor the great creation that G-d has bestowed on us and take care of those we love around us. 

Maybe that's why we fight for life, until we can't any longer. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 27, 2014

Heaven To Look Forward To

Took the family today to see the movie Heaven Is Real.

We were all crying like babies, including me. 


Loved it!


When the boy has a near-death experience (NDE) and sees heaven, he comes back with stories about it being like here but more beautiful, where everyone is young, and relatives long gone hug him.


In heaven, there is no hate or fear--only love. 


It was eye-opening, when his father, a pastor, goes to the hospital to say the last prayers with a dying man and the pastor asks, "Do you have any regrets?" and the old man answers, "I regret everything!"


While living for our selfish satisfaction and fun may be great for a moment's high, it is certainly not a life of meaning and purpose--and will not open the gates of heaven to us. 


That life is hard is portrayed in the movie--with loss, physical hurt, and financial hardships.


But when these are viewed in the bigger picture as tests in life for us to overcome in order to merit a heaven that awaits us--perhaps this gives us some added perspective. 


In the movie, as in real life, there are those who are angry at others and G-d for what they lost, and it is our challenge to replace that anger with understanding, forgiveness, and love of each other and the Almighty. 


Regretting everything is tragic, but probably not that unrealistic for many of us...particularly in a world where we constantly strive for our individualized versions of perfection. 


In the end, I think our failures weigh on us and it's challenging to see past them to appreciate our successes as well--in whatever measure we've achieved them.


Let's face it, it is not easy to maintain 100% purity of heart amidst a world of lust, envy, and sin--but that should not take away from us constantly trying. 


Heaven awaits--even the imperfect. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 2, 2013

Rebuild, Not Regret

The Wall Street Journal (30 July 2013) says that it takes most people at least two years to recover from a breakup or a job loss.

And longer, if the loss is abrupt, sudden--and you are in shock, disbelief, and unprepared. 


When something bad happens, this is an important point in our lives to stop, take some time, and reexamine our lives--Where are we going? How did we mess up? What's really important? How should we rebuild? 


While you can't rush the healing process, I do think that the best medicine (after some recuperative time) is to "get right back on the horse."


When we suffer a loss, we feel traumatized, depressed, anxious, and self-absorbed.


But the best way to overcome those feelings is to take positive action.


Your feelings are important, but I don't think that the bad feelings go away until you replace them with positive feelings.


When my wife used to get some negative people in her life, she used to say, "I need positive energy around me," and I sort of used to laugh, but it's funny, in a way, she was really right. 


Positive energy replaces negative energy. Good feelings replace bad feelings. A good situation replaces a bad one. Rebuilding replaces regret and loss. 


This doesn't mean that when you suffer a loss that the void can ever be filled, but that the only real pain reliever is giving life meaning again--and that means doing something positive with it. 


No, I don't believe in just jumping in to something before you are ready, doing something foolhardy or not well thought out, but you will feel and become better again by coming up with a reasonable plan and working toward it.


Taking positive steps forward is a better scenario than sitting idly in the dumps--for two years or longer, forget it. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Michael Kappel)

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April 30, 2013

Never Worn, But Not For The Reason You Think

I remember learning for my MBA about people's shopping addiction (aka compulsive shopping) and how it consumes their time and money and fuels their self-esteem. 

Like a high gotten from alcohol, drugs, and sex, shopping can give people a relief from the everyday stresses that engulf them.


An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal (18 April 2013) called "A Closet Filled With Regrets" chronicles how people buy stuff they never wear and are sorry they bought it. 


In fact, the article states, "Only about 20% of clothes in the average person's closet are worn on a regular basis."


One example given is a Pulitzer Prize -winning author who spent $587,000 on Gucci items between 2010-2012, before seeking treatment for his addiction. 


A related disorder is shopper's remorse that occurs, because people second guess themselves and feel maybe an alternative would've been a better choice (i.e. they made a bad choice), they didn't really need the item to begin with (i.e. it was just impulsive), or that they spent too much (i.e. they got a bad deal). 


For me, as a child of Holocaust survivors, I find that when I purchase something nice (not extravagant), I put away and also never wear it. 


The difference for me is not that I have shoppers remorse, an addiction to shopping, or that I am unhappy with my purchase, but rather that I cannot wear it because I feel as a child of survivors that I have to save it--just in case. 


No, it's not rational--even though I am a very practical and rational person in just about every other way.


It's just that having seen what can happen when times are bad--and people have nothing--I cannot bear to grant myself the luxury of actually wearing or using something really good.


Perhaps also, I look at my parent's generation, who suffered so much, and think why am I deserving of this? 


They sacrificed and survived, so we (their children) could have it better--what every parent wants for their children, or should.


But still, in my heart, I know that I am the one who has had it easy compared to their lives, and so those purchases are going to stay right where they are--never worn until I donate them to Goodwill. 


I never really considered them mine anyway. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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