Popularity in a Flash
All you have to do to be more popular and feel more appreciated is to start praying for the Jewish people, and the world at large. Soon, others will gravitate toward you...
by Dr. Zev Ballen
It's a cast-iron spiritual rule that the more we pray for other people, the more we're going to be liked. Just imagine: you don't even have to do much, and you certainly don't have to break your back doing favors for all your neighbors. All you have to do to be popular and feel appreciated is to start praying for the Jewish people, and the world at large. As soon as you do that, you'll find that other people will gravitate towards you. They'll feel somehow that you're trying to help them.
Let's contrast this to my super-rich clients, who always worried that people liked them only for their money. They could get a hundred invites to a hundred dinner parties, and they never believed it was because the hosts actually wanted to talk to them. Or the doorbell would ring at home in their big mansion, and it would set off a terrible bout of self-doubt: "Are the people ringing my bell really interested in ME, or are they just here to talk about my money? Do they respect ME as a person? Do they know or care that I get up early to pray, and that I learn a page of Talmud every day? Or are they only interested in the size of my bank account?" Many very rich people have those doubts in their minds, and these thoughts destroy their equanimity, self-confidence and joie de vivre.
The ME they are constantly worrying about and sighing over is their very fragile ego. But when people don't have an ego left, they are as light as air. They don't worry any more about popularity contests, or one-upping the neighbors, or getting the respect and recognition that they feel they deserve. This increased humility is yet another present that you get from G-d when you take the time to pray to Him–and you don’t really have to be a super-holy person to pray for others. Wherever we're currently holding, whatever spiritual stage we are at, we can all pray for our kids, wives and husbands to be successful in their own lives.
Even if we don't yet have the energy to spend hours and hours saying beautiful prayers, it doesn't matter. Even an autistic child, who can barely express himself in everyday speech, can say a prayer that will split the heavens, because it's coming from a pure heart that believes in G-d and believes in prayers.
Rabbi Arush wrote a commentary on the famous story called “The Simple One and the Clever One”, called in English the Garden of Wisdom. The original story, together with Rabbi Arush's explanation, is a blueprint for achieving genuine happiness, and lasting success in life, spiritual and otherwise.
In the tale, there's a simple man who finds it very hard to eke out a living as a shoemaker. He lives in poverty and is mocked and ridiculed by everyone for his cheerful outlook and optimism in the face of grinding poverty--including his own wife! But the simple man remains true to G-d, and true to himself, and he doesn't blame himself or anyone or anything else for his lacks and deficiencies. By the end of the story, the simple man's fortunes had completely turned around, and he ended up with everything, being second only to the King.
Everybody couldn’t help liking the simple man because he thought about the needs of others and prayed for them.
Dr. Zev Ballen, Psy.D. has been a practicing psychotherapist for more than 30 years. He is the founder and developer of Emuna Therapy, a faith-based method of counseling based exclusively on the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush. Dr. Zev has the endorsements of Gadolei Yisrael such as the Nikolsburger Rebba, Rabbi Yitzchok Fagelstock, Rabbi Shalom Arush, and Rabbi Lazer Brody. You can write in with questions to Dr. Zev at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can call him at: 845-362-8600 (US) or 054-840-9499 (Israel). Dr. Zev resides in Jerusalem, with his family, where he learns in Rav Arush’s Kollel and maintains a part-time private practice. You're also welcome to visit Dr. Zev's personal blog, Emuna Therapy.