What is the correct hashkafic approach to dealing with failure?

9 10 2011

Excerpted from Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller’s Question and Answer series on Naaleh.com

Achieving Balance #11

Question: 

What is the correct hashkafic approach to dealing with failure? For instance, when we commit a sin that we resolved not to do again, or when we destroy relationships that we resolved to build. How do we maintain our self-esteem in the face of feeling worthless inside?

Answer:

We all fail at some point in life. The evil inclination’s strongest weapon is despair. Tehillim says, “A tzaddik falls seven times and rises.”

 

There are seven attributes we share with Hashem. A person could fail at each one but it doesn’t give him an excuse not to get up again. The difference between a tzaddik and a rasha is not that a tzaddik never fails, but that he rises up the seventh time. You must get up and try again.

 

If you resolved not to do something and then did it again, the method you used didn’t work. Be creative. Devise a different plan of action. If that too fails, think of something else. Realize that Hashemwill not judge you by your successes, but rather by your efforts. Failing is completely normal. Many times we look at great people and think they were born righteous. In fact most tzaddikim started out small and suffered many setbacks before they finally attained their elevated spiritual level.

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