With Rosh HaShanna basically around the corner, Elul and all of it’s glory (and I do mean that, since I happen to love the energy of Elul) already seems like it’s almost over. My mind turns towards the things that I’ve been cheshboning. Thinks like how I spend my free time, the way I speak to those I love, exercising patience.
I find with any real cheshbon ha-nefesh that when all is said, written, charted down, or audited I am left with a fairly stripped down view of my thoughts, actions, and words. The common thread among these thoughts, actions, and words is that they all hinge on bechira
, free will. It is my choice what I think, what I do, and how I speak. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that since we have this thing called bechira, we are free to choose. When I sit and make my cheshbon of how I talked to my wife or my kids, I have to be honest and choose to examine all of the time, not just the time that I spoke nicely.
The bad news is that since we have this thing called bechira, we are free to choose. The real life effort involved in productive cheshboning comes when we force ourselves to be non-biased, we have to choose. Subjectivity in the way we look at ourselves is the kryponite of a cheshbon hanefesh.
When I sit and make my cheshbon of how I talked to my wife or my kids over the past few months, I have to be honest and choose to examine all of the times, not just the times that I spoke nicely. I recently decided to change how I engage and stay connected with social media. Part of that change involved taking both the Twitter and Facebook applications off of my phone. For me, just taking those apps off my phone was the first step. I could have easily stayed just as connected using a computer whenever I wanted to, so I also began to regulate when and how I would use both of these social media tools with my laptop at home a few nights a week. I find Facebook to be an excellent way to get in touch with people and also get messages out to the masses. However, my life is just as exciting even without knowing what people are up to on a daily basis.
Any performance evaluation has to be based on meeting expected goals. While it’s easier to evaluate others, like the guy that has DADD
or the person who always talks about someone else, that’s not the point of cheshboning. I can only look at myself and daven that I can see who I really am and who I can be.