Examine Your Life
Question Eleven :  How much importance should I give to what others think of me?

   Grant :
I should not worry about what others 'think of me'. My priority is to live and walk and talk in this life, in the footsteps and shadows of Hashem. It is of paramount importance to mirror Hashem, and I should not give high importance to what others think of me, otherwise I would be acting and not being myself. I need only to worry what Hashem thinks of me.

Grant Jackson

   Rabbi Schwartz :
The verse teaches "Be clean in the eyes of Hashem, and people".* In other words, though we may be fulfilling Hashem's desires fully, we must also take care not to create a negative impression in the eyes of others. Why? - For we want to influence and inspire them towards goodness as best we can. Therefore, we must do all we can to have them think positive, happy thoughts about us.

Still, once we make the effort to influence them positively, we need not obsess over this. We have acted as best we know how, and should move on to our next project.

Another area to be careful of is with people who may be thinking to harm us. At the end of our silent prayer we specifically ask for this, "…and of those who plan to do evil to us, remove their schemes, and upset their thoughts." We need to pray for protection from harmful thoughts, and enhance this prayer by not attracting such evil on ourselves with our speech and actions.

Thus, we should live ever-conscious of other people's thoughts and our ability to affect them, directly and indirectly - for the good.

* Bamidbar 32.22

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