Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.
Please Use Our New Website
still under constructions
to purchase safety books and educational materials

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.

Rabbi Shmuel Gluck - Areivim "Self Image: Part 1"
by Rabbi Shmuel Gluck

Not Rated Yet   |   Viewed 4385 times since 4/1/11   |   0 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend


Self Image: Part 1

I constantly prompt people to assess their strengths and weaknesses. Without realistic assessments people can't grow, and will either deny the need to grow, or will be unable to recognize which areas require growth. However, with every life tool there's risk. Many people who assess themselves and draw final conclusions, instead of using those assessments as a stepping stone for growth. They make assessments and create in their minds an image of who they are.

For instance, some people conclude that they find it difficult to wake up early in the morning. This affects their Davening, as well as their job opportunities. That assessment should motivate them to direct their growth efforts to waking up earlier. Other people will draw a different conclusion. "I'm a person who can't wake up on time. This is who I am, and I can't change."

What people who've defined themselves as people who can't wake up (or any other limitation) have done, is to create a self image in a manner that limits their opportunities. They'll reject any opportunities that require them to wake up early, limiting them in countless ways. In addition, they'll present themselves to others as being resistant to opportunities and change.

Creating self images, prevents us from achieving everything that we can in our lives. This article focuses on those self images, as well as on how we present ourselves to others. There are several self images that limit people's opportunities.

1) The image is not true. In many cases these people don't have the limitation that they present to themselves (and to others). They choose to describe themselves as having those limitations, until they convince themselves that they are that image. Their goal is to lessen their expectations of themselves. By believing that they can't do something, they also don't have to try, and therefore, they don't have to feel guilty about it.

When boys are told that they aren't "good" at learning, or any other negative comment, they, readily, believe it. People often assume, because assuming is convenient, that those claiming that they're unable to learn, actually "researched" the issue. In reality, most people's self images are drawn too quickly and subjectively.

Many people state their opinions confidently, and make others believe that their views have been thought through. I've sat with teenagers many times and they've told me that they've spent a lot of time thinking about religion, and that a certain Halacha is not correct. (This means that they believe the Halacha makes no sense and can't be what Hashem wants.) I ask them how much time they've spent researching the issue. They usually avoid answering my question, knowing that "a lot of time" thinking about religion, probably means less than 10 minutes. I press them further, and ask them whether they incorporated the numerous, other relevant, sources, which I list to them. The answer is almost always, no.

I've found that many people convince themselves that their attitudes are more thought through, and more based on fact, than they really are. The old saying, "Stop mixing me up with facts. I've already made up my mind," is something of which most people need to be reminded.

2) The personal images are exaggerated. They're unfairly imposed on people, because they "fell short" in an attempt to achieve their goal. For instance, they may have failed in their first job, first Yeshiva, or something more serious, their first marriage. It would be unfair to create an image of themselves based on a single incident, even if the incident spanned a significant amount of time.

Nevertheless, people often become so "worn out" from their first attempt, that they search for a way of not trying again. Some people are never motivated to grow, and constantly look for a way out of "working on themselves". They'll try something once, and fail, and are satisfied that they now have proof that they can't succeed, and will never have to try it again. What they're doing is creating an image of failure, which does more damage than they can imagine.

When people fail the first time, they imagine that if they don't succeed today, they may succeed tomorrow. They hope, even if their hope for success is through swallowing a "magic" pill, that they'll eventually succeed. By defining themselves as people who "can't", they seal their future to never succeed.

3) The images are obsolete. At one time, their self image was accurate, but, over the years, they've changed. There are many people whose self images indicate that they aren't sociable or likable. However, after they've spent hours with someone who cares about them, they become quite likable to others. In some cases their personalities become one of their greatest assets.

In other cases, they still think of themselves as being unlikeable. I'm astounded at how they'll speak of themselves as failing in social areas because insignificant, non defining social incidents, are "proof" that they can't succeed in the social arena. Their self images continue to haunt them long after they shouldn't.

Creating a negative self image limits their possibilities for growth. However, living life with false confidence, believing that they're always right, is also unhealthy. The goal is to achieve a balance between embracing a negative personal stereotype and misplaced confidence.

Self esteem, which is closely intertwined with self image, plays a role in people's ability to balance between these two attitudes. Having a healthy self esteem allows people to appreciate that they may have done something wrong without drawing the negative conclusion that they must be bad. They should conclude that, similar to most people, they make mistakes and they may even make bad decisions. This doesn’t define then as bad people. (In a previous article on self esteem I offer my definition of a good person. The article is available on request.)

To be continued.....

Shmuel Gluck

To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.

Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:       Not Rated Yet
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.

Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593