Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

Respect others and they will respect you. Love others and they will love you.[1]

But we have problems with this teaching:

1)      Others don’t always return our kindness, our affection.

2)      This leaves us feeling worse about ourselves – a little put-down, a little inferior.

We need two ideas here:

1)      Many people don’t know how to be polite, considerate – they don’t realize that they could, should, pretend a concern for others. Therefore, they throw our friendliness, our compliment, back into our faces – and hurt us. Still, mostly, they do this only from ignorance.

2)      What helps more than being nice to others, is thinking nice thoughts about them. Sometimes, it pays to greet people in a brisk way. Sometimes, it even pays not to greet them at all. Then, we may compensate this “lack of regard” with a kind thought. As we move away, we could say to ourselves, “I love him or her – together with all the people in my world.”


[1] Based on Pirkei Avos 4.1

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