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What we resist, persists

It seems the harder I try the more difficult things get. How do I deal with this?

GYE Corp. Friday, 27 April 2012


It feels like sometimes the effort to to avoid tumah, pritzus, etc.. itself seems to cause one to think about the very thing that they are trying to avoid. Am I wrong? Maybe just putting forth a little less effort will enable some people to have more success (perhaps just by getting busy doing something else). It's like the way one thinks of food on a fast day. Some people think about food more on a fast day than other days, even if the other days they might end up fasting accidentally. The very thought of it being a fast day can cause one to think of food. Am I making sense? So what is a good solution? Anyone have any ideas?

Elya answers:

You raise some very good questions. There is an axiom which says, "What we resist, persists." The more effort you spend pushing away every obstacle and constantly thinking about how to avoid it, the more you will think about it and eventually act out.

That's why the trick is to accept the fact that there is Pritzus in the world and that you have no power over controlling it. Hashem took away the Yetzer Horoh for Idol Worship but not for this. (If he did, none of us would have been born!)

It's a good idea to read recovery books instead of thinking so much about how to avoid it. Books by Rabbi Twersky like "Self Improvement? I'm Jewish" is a good one. Also any books by Patrick Carnes (

You are right. Finding other things to occupy your time when you're bored, tired, hungry or upset is another key to staying clean. Pamper yourself with things which are permitted.

GYE adds:

The Pasuk says "Sur Mera, Va'asei Tov"- "Stay away from bad and do good". The Chassidic Sefarim say to read it differently. "Sur Mera" - HOW? Through "Va'asei Tov".

In other words, instead of focusing on "Sur Mera", focus on "Asei Tov". Focus on recovery, on learning to flow with life - not fight against it. Read books, post on the forum, inspire others and become a better person each day. And before you know it, the "Ra" will disappear on its own.