It's good to probe this kind of feeling to see if something concrete lies beneath it and what to do about it.
But I couldn't see anything different than usual in my life, and I'd been basically happy not long before.
Yes, it could be the ruach of the 3 weeks enveloping me. But National grieving is very different than negativity & a general feeling of "blah." So I didn't really think it was that.
Then I thought maybe it was hormones. Hormone-influenced moods are never far from my mind now because I'm at that age where I could either get pregnant or enter menopause.
Anyway, as I was walking along back from taking my son to gan, I tried to thank Hashem for things, as per Rav Shalom Arush's advice. This is always a good thing to do, even though it can be emotionally difficult at times.
Then I started mentally wishing good stuff for whomever I passed on the way, as per Rav Avigdor Miller's advice. Upon seeing a group of little girls enthusiastically playing in the sandlot of their school, I remembered Rav Miller emphasizing how it important it was to mentally bless these little Beit Yaakov girls, that they should get along well in school and be successful in everything in their little sweet lives, and to appreciate their general preciousness.
I can't tell you hard it was to do that.
You know how when you're down, you either get very negative & cynical...or numb?
Mentally or verbally whispering blessings to those whom you pass by takes emotional energy. It takes heart. It's proactive rather than reactive. You need to care, which goes against negativity, cynicism, and numbness.
But reading so much advice from real rabbanim makes an impression over time, even if we don't always notice it right away.
B'chasdei Hashem, I had Rav Miller's words in my head, which gave me the "oomph" I needed to do what he advised.
Later that day or even the next day, I started feeling all chirked up again. Baruch Hashem!
And then I remembered that I'd been through this before...
Oh No! I've Slid Back Down Here Again?! Oh, Wait a Minute... There's a Reason for This...
Especially if in the past, you've lain face-down & despairing in the pit, or floundering around in its mire, or fallen as you've tried to scrabble out, Hashem sticks you back in so that you can get it right this time—which enables you to rectify all those other failed times.
Actually, this is a core concept in teshuvah, that Hashem often puts us back in the same or a similar situation in order to respond correctly this time and rectify ourselves.
(There are other reasons too, in addition to this type of rectification.)
This has happened to me several times, but I forget every single time I find myself drowning in it again (which I think is probably part of the nisayon).
Yes, you can find yourself in a negative emotional state: angry, irritable, cynical, hopeless, depressed, emotionally lethargic, apathetic, blah, etc. And it doesn't seem to have a direct cause.
But sometimes Hashem wants us to make that 1 baby-step that moves us out of ourselves. Despite our negative self-absorbed state, He wants us to make 1 baby-step toward caring for our fellow Jews.
A person who stays mired in a negative state is very different than a person who mumbles good wishes toward Jewish children or gratitude toward the Creator.
The 2 people look the same and they feel the same, but there is a minor difference that's actually very major.
And it's one of the HUGE reasons why I am so grateful for our real talmidei chachamim.
Because (and I know it doesn't make me sound so good, but...) the truth is that without their constant encouragement & loving exhortations, I don't think I would figure it out on my own.
Probably I would just continue on my dull, blah way.
The way so many real rabbanim have pared down our avodat Hashem into easily digestible bite-sized pieces, which they then spoon-feed us, has been the saving grace for so many of us.
Without their emuna-infused work, I would just be stuck in the worst way.
And it's these barely perceptible little shuffles in the right direction that make all the difference.
- How to Save the World One Step at a Time
- A 60-Second Exercise to Fulfill Your Main Purpose in Life
- Judaism's Secret: Achieve the Glorious Maximum by Doing the Bare Minimum
- Mishlei/Proverbs 17:23: Amazing Encouragement for Awful People
- Why Your Response to a Fall Matters More than the Fall Itself
- One Minute of Hashem's Overwhelming Love For You
- How to Strengthen the 3 Areas Necessary to Bring Mashiach