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Can you be ashamed of gaiva?

Question:

If you are ashamed of your gaiva, can it really be gaiva?

 

Answer:

In general, gaiva is the feeling that a person has of being superior to others, and as a result, the person feels that certain things are coming to him/her. For example, a person who has gaiva will expect people to treat him with a certain respect etc. Alternatively, it can cause the person to look down at others as a result of being stuck up. There are times when a person realizes that he is haughty, and this causes the person to feel uncomfortable, and want to work on the gaiva. Therefore, technically it is possible to have gaava, and be ashamed of it. People are complex and it is possible for both feeling to play a role in the person’s personality.
However on a practical level, and from knowing who you are, it is important to know what R’ Volbe zt”l said about gaiva nowadays. (He was talking specifically about bochurim, however it applies to many other people as well). He said that nowadays often a person should NOT work on gaiva, because nowadays many people suffer from low self-esteem, and the little bit of self confidence that they might get, the yetzer hora already tells them that it is gaiva, and no good. The opposite is the truth! This person needs the self confidence in order to grow. Yes, there might be a little bit of gaiva there also, but that is NOT what the person should be working on at the time. Rather on boosting one’s self confidence, and giving oneself the emotional energy to grow blossom and use their untapped potential to become greater.
Best wishes

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