Tuesday, August 14, 2007


A few weeks ago, Alona and I got into a minor tiff. I told her I had the worst luck in the world. She pointed out that many would believe Holocaust victims and survivors, say, had worse luck. She was right, of course, but I didn't want to hear it at the time; I was upset.

Research shows that venting -- or kvetching, or complaining, or bellyaching, or whatever you want to call it -- can do more harm than good. Fixating on your problems, railing enlessly against the injustice of it all, can agitate more than soothe you. So when Shimona called me yesterday to complain about the unfortunate circumstance of her own life, I'm afraid I wasn't as empathetic as I could or should have been.

I genuinely feel for Shimona. Without going into detail, she's had some pretty tough breaks. As another "older" single (although younger than I by several years) who's tried so hard to find her bashert, she's fed up with hearing about others who met their soulmates effortlessly. The latest offender is a younger cousin of hers, who while in college met her future husband during a fire drill. She wasn't even thinking about marriage and for a long time they were just friends, until she was ready to date seriously. Now this pisher is getting married in a few weeks, and Shimona is gritting her teeth against the onslaught of im yirtze Hashem by you's.

Stories like these are infuriating. For example, my sister Jerusha met her husband during freshman orientation week at college. He saw her at a Hillel picnic and thought she was cute; her initial impression was not quite as positive, but he was persistent, and five years later they got married. She's never had a blind date or another boyfriend. It's absolutely disgusting. That's one reason she really just doesn't get me.

But Shimona kept going over and over the same point: it's not fair, it's so easy for other people, it's so hard for me. I felt awful for her pain, and tried to engage her in a little CBT -- and I shouldn't have. First because my training as a practitioner is far from complete, second because a person in the throes of misery cannot think rationally and shouldn't be pushed.

I was going to call her and apologize, but since she reads my blog: Forgive me, Shimona. I shouldn't have tried to cut you off; I should have let you express yourself.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

1 comment:

  1. you know those breslover chassidim who come around with their little inspirational books? their book on finding one's soulmate is AMAZING. it might be called "getting married," i can't remember exactly. anyway, if you ever run into one of those guys, BUY THAT BOOK. it's worth the dollar of tzedoka you give them.