For someone as intensely self-critical and introspective as myself, the Rosh Hashana – Yom Kippur period is not an easy time of year.
And I know too many people who are probably just as self-critical as I am, and more, and to a damaging degree. We focus too much on what it is about ourselves that we see as wrong, that we want to fix, to perfect, that we don’t see what we’re good at. And yet – we see it in other people, and are then in danger of starting to compare ourselves. The absurd truth is that most likely the exact same thing is happening in the opposite direction, that they don’t see it in themselves but probably see it in you.
So, in case I don’t tell people these things often enough; to all my family and friends, in London and in Israel, and everyone I’ve got to know since moving here – despite whatever bad traits you see in yourself, I honestly, truly learn something from everyone, and am inspired, because of you, to try and improve myself in some way. You should know that:
You are some of the best people in the world and I am lucky to know you.
You are brave and courageous.
You are beautiful inside and out even though you don’t see it.
You are open and honest.
You take risks.
You are friendly and warm and welcoming.
You are generous.
You are loyal.
You are funny – and laughter is one of the most important things.
You are sweet and kind.
You are modest even if you think you aren’t.
You look for ways and opportunities to help.
You stand up for your opinions, but you’ll admit when you’re wrong.
You are selfless (but you should know it is ok to think about yourself sometimes!)
You can be trusted with anything.
You are silly. You are yourself and proud – and you should be.
You are loving.
You are a fighter, you are strong.
You are crazy in the best way.
You are always thinking what you can do for others.
You are calming.
You reach out.
You are talented and use it for others’ benefit.
You smile and laugh a lot.
You are interested.
You go for it and you won’t give up.
You teach, without realising it.
You are a role model.
You make the effort.
You are spiritual.
You are good, even if you think you aren’t.
Of course it is important to work on our flaws, but maybe the way of doing that is to see all the good things about ourselves, and make them even stronger. For every flaw you see in yourself, you are almost guaranteed to find that actually you also have a trait that is either the opposite, or cancels it out.
Sometimes people struggle to see it, and so we should remind each other of that.