-- Chapter from Woman To Woman -- Appreciation Chapter from Woman To Woman -- Appreciation
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  Chapter 14 from
Woman To Woman
Practical advice and classic stories on life's goals and aspirations

By Aviva Rappaport 

Other Available Chapters
13  27 


If you want what you have, you have what you want.

-- from the teachings of Novarodok

Avraham Avinu had special coins made. On one side of each coin was written, “I am like dust”; on the other side, “The world was created for me.” Always remember that Hashem created the most wonderful creation for you -- this beautiful world. Count your blessings all day long.

When you learn to think positively, your life looks different.

Start training yourself to see the kindness in everything. When you make a salad, for instance, you add so many different ingredients. By the time you finish, it looks beautiful. What would have happened if Hashem had made all the vegetables the same color? Or if everything in the world was either gray or black. Imagine: a gray sky, a gray sun -- trees and flowers all gray -- an entirely gray world. How would you have liked it? It’s His lovingkindness that makes such a beautiful world. Take, for instance, the beauty and wonder of a stalactite cave. It’s a breathtaking creation. And you don’t have to go into a cave to see that Hashem created a wonderful world. Just look at any tree. Notice how many shades of green it has. Thank Hashem for everything.

Be grateful for being able to see this wonderful world. What a gift to be able to open your eyes in the morning and see all the marvels of creation. All too often, we take things for granted. There was a school where one day each year the children walked around with a handkerchief over their eyes so that they would experience how it felt not to see. Or they would wear ear plugs once a year so that they would not hear. All these were meant to teach the children to feel for other people, to learn that “there but for the grace of G-d go I.” When you see somebody who doesn’t have all the things you have, say to yourself, “If not for Hashem’s kindness, I, too, would have to carry that burden. Thank you, Hashem.”

What is the difference between a satisfied, content, and happy person, and a dissatisfied, miserable, unhappy person? Attitude! They may be faced with the same challenges, but one is a positive thinker and one is a negative thinker. Do you remember the story of Pollyanna? She was a little orphan girl who lived with her father. Once a year, she would receive a charity parcel. How she prayed they would send her a doll! One year, instead of a doll, the package contained a pair of crutches. Poor Pollyanna started crying. She had wanted a doll so much, and here they sent her crutches instead. Her father then told her he was going to play the happiness game with her: She was going to thank Hashem that she didn’t need the crutches! And for the rest of her life she taught people to see the good in even the worst situations . . . because there always is something good.

Chizkiyahu, king of Yehudah, should have been the Mashiach. During his reign, the entire nation was Torah observant! Even average four-year-olds knew complex halachic laws. But because he didn’t sing a song of praise and thanks to Hashem, he did not become the Mashiach and we are still in exile after 2,000 years. Let’s not make the same mistake. Teach yourself to thank Hashem for what you have, because what you have is what you need. Every tool we need for serving Him and fulfilling our mission will be given to us. If another person has something you want and don’t have, that means Hashem knows you don’t need it -- otherwise, He would give it to you. Wanting what the other person has is like wanting to wear his glasses -- they’re of no use to you.

This may sound like a joke, but it’s a suggestion that people who tend to feel miserable have found helpful: Buy yourself a cheap pair of glasses with rose-colored lenses and hang them on the kitchen wall. Every time you think the world’s coming to an end, just put them on. Everything will turn rosy, and remind you: Maybe I need to change my attitude. Am I looking at things in the wrong light? A person is as happy as he’s made up his mind to be. If you decide you’re going to be happy, you’ll be happy; if you decide you’re going to be miserable, and the world is coming to an end, you’re going to be as miserable as possible. So try looking at everything through rose-colored lenses.

Thank Hashem all day long. Turn your life into a song of praise to Hashem. If you’re busy thanking, you can’t be busy complaining. Even if it’s difficult. There’s not a single person in the world who doesn’t have troubles. But, as the Yiddish saying goes, if everyone would put his bundle of troubles down and be free to pick up any bundle he chose, everyone would take back his own. Coping with problems makes us strong. The most difficult problem in the world can be dealt with if we trust in Hashem. If we see the lovingkindness in even the worst situation, and look at it in a positive light, we will rise to meet the challenge.

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