Learn the words in Hebrew to figure out the joke below:
Hurry – מַהֵר
I’m going – אֲנִי הוֹלֶכֶת
To write – לִכְתֹּב
I thought – חָשַׁבְתִּי
Criticism, review – בִּקֹּרֶת
I can’t – לא יָכוֹל
Why – לָמָּה
I didn’t understand – לא הֵבַנְתִּי
Anything – כְּלוּם
Solution: “Hurry Jack”, his friend said, “I’m going to comment on what I have thought about the review”. Jack said, “I can’t write anything”. His friend asked, “why not?” Jack answered, “because I didn’t understand anything.”
Teacher corner: One of my students shared with me that she is going to post on social media one of the videos she took in class. I asked her “how does that benefit you?” She answered: “I want to receive a lot of likes and comments”. “Oh, how does getting a”like” and “comment” help you? She replied with a bashful grin, “I like it when people like me”.
The following week she came to class looking like her favourite goldfish drowned. “What’s wrong?” I asked. She didn’t want to share at first but eventually confided in me that she received some pretty critical comments on her posts. Ouch!
Everybody wants and deserves to feel love in a relationship. This is part of human nature. However, when you are seeking validation and love from society, it is a risky business because society is ephemeral, nebulous and mercurial. What you say can be wonderfully received today and criticised the next. It is not a reflection of you, or who you are; but it is really revealing about whoever is making the critical comments. A real two-way relationship is one in which the parties have a vested interest in how the other person feels and cares about how their behaviour impacts the other. A social media relationship is sadly a one way relationship in which one person actually feels self-worth if they can make another person feel like they don’t have any worth. That’s a recipe for disappointment.
When you receive positive comments and “likes,” you feel reassured and so good about yourself. The more likes we get, the better we tend to feel. However, what society gives, society takes away. Consider how one negative comment makes you feel? “One” negative comment on your post can immediately trigger self-doubt. You are suddenly questioning whether you are good enough. Don’t worry, you are not alone.
People feel anxious or unsure about themselves right after posting something, if the likes or comments weren’t as many as expected. It becomes a big disappointment. People start to obsess about their social media standings, as if the higher the standings the more value they have as a person.
Many people wake up in the morning and immediately check their Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter. On platforms like Instagram, some users feel obligated to edit their posts in order to fit the terms of “attractiveness” and to get more “likes” and positive comments.
Users may begin to compare themselves to others and think, “am I pretty enough?” “Am I good enough?” Comparing yourself to others on social media could confuse your feelings about your own self-worth and lead to pangs of self-doubt.
Once we invest too much importance on Social media “likes” we lead ourselves into a spiral of self-doubt. Does it make sense to you that on the basis of how many people press “like” and what people had to say in response to one sliver of an aspect about you, that they have enough information to somehow determine your total value as a person? When people write nice comments that give us joy, positive feedback is great. It lets you know that you are onto something, that you are doing something right. Likes and comments are signs of validation. In fact, it’s likely to provide a temporary boost to your self-esteem.
But the question is when one comment is negative over ten positive comments. How that affects your self-esteem. People will always find something to say, positive or negative. Should we allow it to affect us? When we let these comments into our inner circle we are giving away responsibility for our own emotions. Does it make sense to you that we should delegate control of our feelings to anyone, especially a stranger? When we do this we are placing the value of others’ opinions above our own. Letting other people determine our self-worth is a surefire way to undermine our self-confidence and feel less-than-others.
People are opinionated and unfortunately they often don’t think about what they say or the way they say it. Negative people always find a way to rain on the celebration of others. Social media makes this so easy to do for people who anonymously type messages without thinking twice about the long-term effect of their comments. Ouch!
Two way relationships can sometimes last a lifetime with friends remaining friends for decades. It seems social media relationships last as long as the moment lasts and then they move on to another one way relationship. Where do you think you should invest your time, energy and emotions?
We are all different from each other and that is one of the aspects about ourselves that makes us unique. Each one of us has been put into this world for a purpose. That’s for you to figure out for yourself but one thing makes sense to me and that is whatever your purpose is you have the ability to accomplish it. You have been given whatever it is that you need in order to accomplish what it is that you are supposed to accomplish in this world.
So you can see how it makes no sense to compare yourself to others. There is always going to be someone that is taller, shorter, smarter, talented in one area or another and not as talented. You can’t compare because it is endless and because you don’t know what the other person’s purpose is in this world. The skills, traits, attributes and abilities that you have are what you need to accomplish your purpose. If someone else has a trait that you don’t, it is probably because they have a different purpose than you. (or a parent that made them study piano every day after school).
So, since we can’t compare each person or their purpose, the only thing that makes sense to me is to compare ourselves to ourselves. Or more specifically, compare who we were a year ago to who we are today. Then plan on how we want to grow over the next year. Hashem created each of us for a reason and a purpose. Does it matter what someone on social media posts about you if they have no clue who you are and what your purpose is?
So let’s not let others control how we feel or determine our identity, values or levels of self-confidence. Don’t compare ourselves to others. Embrace your difference — it’s what makes you, you.
My student looked up at me and said that what I just said made a lot of sense to her. Which made me feel good. Then she asked me, “Would it be ok with you if I post it?” Ouch!
HEBREW TUTORING For individual, family or group all levels, please email [email protected]. Maya Yehezkel is a Hebrew teacher at Yeshivat Noam middle school.