Zelig Pliskin


American Rabbi, Psychologist, Author and Lecturer

Author Quotes

Demanding security and certainty prevents peace of mind. No human has the omniscience to foresee everything. Always realize the unexpected can occur. Plan as much as is appropriate, but realize that regardless of how much you plan there will always be difficulties that you had previously not imagined. By expecting there will always be unexpected occurrences and accepting them, you will have much greater peace of mind than if you have unrealistic expectations of complete control. A person would be making a big mistake if he felt that the way to peace of mind is to obtain complete security from all risks... Uncertainty is inevitable... The demand for success is detrimental to peace of mind... Keep your focus on trying to accomplish with the best of your ability.

Despair over loneliness will increase the suffering. Looking at the time available as a precious gift will decrease it.

The realization that everyone perceives things differently, whether greatly or slightly, is a very important principle for dealing effectively with others. The greater your understanding of someone else’s perception of reality, the greater your ability to communicate effectively with him.

Beware of the temporariness of honor and approval.

The behavior of others is not in our direct control. We want others to be friendly and kind to us. The behavior of others is not in our direct control, but our own behavior is. We play a large role in creating the world we live in, especially how others will behave towards us. If you behave towards others in a positive manner, they are likely to reciprocate.

The person who feels despair and discouragement is asking the wrong question. He asks what the world is giving him. As soon as he changes his question to what is the good that he can do, he will always be able to find an answer.

Regardless of how you have viewed events in the past, you have the ability to learn to view things with a calm and peaceful attitude. Instead of looking at events and situations as overwhelming, you can look at them as interesting and challenging experiences. Give up your demands of how you would have like anything to be and deal with what actually is.

Take pleasure in what you have and you never have to envy anyone else. The best anyone can obtain from their possessions, experiences, accomplishments, skills or fame is happiness. If you have happiness from what you do and have, no one can really gain anything more than what you already have.

Frequently people say, “He made me angry.” This is inaccurate. No one can make you angry. You make yourself angry by what you tell yourself about a given situation. When you say, “I made myself angry because of what I told myself about this person’s behavior,” you are accepting the responsibility upon yourself, which is the first step leading to improvement.

Hiding your faults from others so they won’t correct you might save you from momentary unpleasantness, but you will remain with your faults... Fear of criticism stems from inferiority feelings... If you feel hurt by someone’s criticism, remember it is your choice to feel hurt. You can choose self-statements that allow you to feel grateful for the opportunity to improve yourself.

Do not allow another person’s evaluation affect your feelings of self-esteem... Being an honored person is dependent on your behavior towards others and not on other people’s behavior towards you. Why feel any lack of self-worth just because someone acts disrespectfully to you? Keep your focus on your behavior towards others. When someone does not treat you with respect, it is his problem, not yours... Ultimately, it is your mind that decides on how you will consider yourself.

Every moment can be viewed as new... You cause yourself a great loss by not living in the present... Don’t let the past weigh you down... Realize what is over is over... The future is always an unknown entity so learn to focus on the present... Learn to concentrate on what you are presently doing... Always try to utilize your present moments for growth... If you master feeling joy in your present moments, you need never be concerned you are missing anything, since whatever you are engaged in can be transformed into an elevating experience... You can alleviate pain by living in the present.

Faults a person who has low self-esteem may have are: sensitivity to criticism, over-response to flattery, hypercritical attitude, tendency towards blaming, tendency towards seclusiveness and shyness.

Accept the responsibility for making yourself happy independent of good or bad fortune, you will be determined to work on your thought patterns instead of chasing illusions.

By keeping your focus on spiritual elevation you can minimize suffering about worldly matters.

A person whose main goal in life is to be a good person will judge each event and situation by asking himself: “What can I do now that will make me a better person?” The exact details of the situation will not make a major difference to him. He focuses on his own attitudes and behavior, and consequently he will look at each situation as a test of his character and spiritual level. His goal is to become more elevated with each action and statement. If he is missing something which he feels he can use, he will not be irritated for he thinks, “With what I have right now, what is the most elevating behavior I can choose?”

A teacher who tends to lower the self-esteem and confidence of his students should either change this tendency or change professions. One of the most important lessons an educator can convey to students is that they have inherent worth and should strive to utilize their potential.

A person who is goal oriented will be able to overcome difficulties that others are unable to cope with. The stronger one is motivated to reach a certain goal, the easier it is for him to tolerate and even ignore difficulties. Hence a person who is strongly goal oriented to do good deeds will easily be able to minimize the amount of difficulty he experiences in doing those deeds.

A person who wants approval is disturbed and irritated if someone questions his attitudes and opinions. But a wise man seeks truth and therefore feels pleasure if someone raises objections since this helps him correct his mistakes.

A person who is a truth seeker and readily admits his mistakes will gain both the respect of others and will ultimately have more self-respect. Instead of looking at admitting mistakes as a sign of weakness, look at it as a manifestation of intellectual honesty.

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American Rabbi, Psychologist, Author and Lecturer