Question:

A rav I’ve confided in for several years gave me harsh rebuke tonight. It still stings. I’m trying not to be defensive. What is the right approach to take when a rabbi gives you mussar and it’s painful?

Answer:

It is not easy when someone gives us rebuke. It hurts, but as the saying goes the truth sometimes hurts. Your approach to this is terrific, instead of just getting angry, and rebuffing the words and the Rabbi, you are showing a very honest positive approach. The correct approach, although it is hard, is to accept what the Rabbi told you, rise ABOVE the emotional feeling the your pride was hurt, and look at what you can improve as a result of what you have now learned. This is an important way to grow, because he was being honest with you and not just letting you live with untruths, but with a knowledge of what will make you successful and a better person in the future. It is not easy, this is the way that the gedolim grew.They accepted criticism, they didn’t run from it, didn’t fold from it, but instead they built upon it. Just like what you are doing.

Keep up the good work

Tags: Mussar

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