Moishe Chanin
Certified Life Coach, Recovering Addict, Community Activist

The Value of a Gem

Siyum Sefer Torah in loving memory of Yehoshua (Shua) Polonsky A”H

What is the value of a gem if no one knows I have it?

Maybe it’s holding onto the fantasy, that one day I will finally share it and let people know how long I’ve had it for. Maybe, the value for me, is sharing it with others because it instantly makes that part of me, feel that I am worth something.

But how would it feel if I could NEVER show the gem to anyone? What value would it be to me if it was locked away somewhere for only myself to know? The part of me that needs validation from others would be so void, that the pain would be too great.

If someone was in prison and got his hands on the key to the gates, they wouldn’t be able tell anyone because it could ruin the rare chance to escape. So they hide it and wait for the right moment. There’s a certain anxiety & excitement, an energy that builds inside the person, that is bursting to get out.

I brought these examples up to my therapist to describe what had happened the night before when I was at a Farbrengen (Spiritual gathering). My Rabbi said something so deeply heartwarming that I instantly thought about all of those who NEED to hear this message and how I NEEDED to share it with the world right away. (I needed to prove something to others, help ppl by sharing this wise information.)

He challenged me.

What was the feeling I experienced when I was inspired by this new idea?

Why was it so emotionally charging and  and why were my sensors-overloading?

What we quickly learned was that, since I was inspired so deeply, a part of me instantly had this strong desire to share it with others. To make a difference, to be noticed for it.

He asked me why did that part of me NEED to share it so badly, so quickly, so intensely? Why couldn’t I just digest what I had heard, let the inspiration sink in, become a part of me and truly connect to it?

The next thing that we discovered is that the attachment & connection that happens as a result of being the one to open the “prison gates” (for others) is so tremendous and it shows me that I am ‘valued’.  There is a part of me that is craving to be cherished in that way, so badly. That part of me believes that by sharing it with others right away it will instantly fill those empty pockets.

That part of me is convinced that the only way it can fill its void is from without, just like when we turn to drugs and alcohol, just like when we say ‘if only my spouse did this, then I would be happy’, if only I had a bigger house, better job, if that person treated me better, then I’d be ok, if my outsides change then my insides will feel better.

This is all just a part of me that is scared that if I don’t share this now then I will lose the opportunity for the ‘connection’ that I am needing/craving.

If we don’t get the ‘connection’ we are craving, then we end up numbing ourselves somehow with any mood or mind-altering substance or behavior.

Otherwise, I will have no choice/escape but to experience the terrible hunger pains of lacking value, attachment, and connection.

This is the exercise I’ve been doing to address this need in a healthy way: if I find myself getting inspired, great! The next thing I do is sit with it, let myself just digest it first, and then internalize it. Once it has become a part of  MY experience then I can share it over from an authentic place, and not from an unhealthy desire to share something  just because I had that information.

When I sit with it and allow myself those moments of acceptance, I learn that I have an inner resource that can fill that void, and that resource is found at the moment, from within.

About the Author
Moishe Chanin had been working with individuals and families conflicted with alcohol and substance abuse and addiction since 2012. Born and raised in New York, he shares his personal journey with addiction so that others can seek the appropriate services necessary to lead powerful lives by overcoming their challenging circumstances. As a professional certified life coach with the International Coach Federation, and a team member of the group Moshe uses his training to guide individuals towards peak mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
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