Today’s society is saturated with messages and images that threaten to dull our sense of awe and diminish our sense of purpose. The result? Many people feel as though they are walking through life without a mission, their soul perpetually searching for meaning. But can we really trust the world around us if it consistently offers up different ideas about what is good and bad? If we don’t know how to discern the authentic from the inauthentic, then how will we ever be able to live a life that is centered on G-d and ultimately happy? With these questions in mind, it can be difficult to maintain a positive outlook. However, there are ways you can use your experiences as a beacon of faith and resilience when facing any challenge or temptation.
In this post, Rabbi Samuel Waldman shares 5 practical strategies to build Emunah – an innate sense of awe and wonder toward G-d that comes with discovering who He truly is – into your everyday life.
Determine What’s Truly Meaningful to You
Although Emunah can be developed over time, there are certain aspects of our lives that are built into who we are by virtue of our birth.
Here, Rabbi Samuel Waldman, who has wide experience in religious education, will share a short list of things you can cultivate as your own type of “meaning,” things that will make you happy and give you a sense of purpose now and in the future:
– A meaningful relationship with G-d – Through your relationship with Him, you can connect with aspects of yourself that you may not otherwise come across. You’ll develop a deeper sense of gratitude, connection, and meaning.
– A meaningful connection with others – You’re not simply going through life alone. Each person you come into contact with has a story to tell. You can learn from them, and they can learn from you.
– A meaningful career – The work you do, be it a job, hobby, or side project, has the potential to impact other people’s lives. That’s a big responsibility, and one that warrants respect.
Try Developing an Immediate Response to Distractions
“When we’re in a place of overwhelm, we often find ourselves drawn to diversions like social media, television shows, or YouTube videos,” says Rabbi Samuel Waldman.
According to him, these things can be a soothing balm to our overactive minds, but they also serve as a gateway to a more “less-than-perfect” lifestyle. If we get used to thinking negatively and viewing the world through a lens of negativity, we’ll never be able to break free of those negative patterns.
When we feel the urge to engage in these types of “temptations,” it can be helpful to remember that these types of diversions are just that – diversions. The real “high” is elsewhere, but because we’re “addicted” to them, we often lose track of where that place is. That’s why it’s so important to keep our eyes on the prize, and to do so in an immediate manner.
Build Daily Habits That Will Serve You Over Time
The more you “practice” something, the more likely you are to succeed. The same goes for developing daily habits that will serve you well throughout your life. In order to truly build a habit that will last, you need to be consistent and make a conscious effort to maintain the habit every single day.
As you think about what you want to cultivate, Rabbi Samuel Waldman suggests asking yourself these questions: What would help me feel more focused? What would make me happier? What would make me less anxious?
These are all important questions to ask yourself. According to Rabbi Samuel Waldman, with your answers, you’ll be able to create a daily habit that will serve you well. When it comes down to it, daily habits are simply the small, consistent actions you take to lead a better life. They can include things like eating a healthy breakfast, going to bed at a certain time, exercising regularly, reading a book that inspires you, being kind to others, and taking time alone to reflect and connect with G-d.
Take a Deliberate Break from Technology and Media
A lot of Emunah can be developed in solitude, but it’s often helpful to take a break from technology and media in order to connect with your own soul. Social media can be a great way to catch up with old friends and make new connections, but too often it’s the thing we rely on when we really need to unplug and turn inward. Too much social media can leave us feeling empty and unfulfilled because it’s often a superficial reflection of the world outside of us – not what we want it to be. It can also be a distraction from the real world, which is something you want to keep in focus as best you can. When we rely too heavily on technology and media, we risk losing track of what’s truly important in life.
“Technology can make us falsely believe that we ‘need’ certain things in order to be happy or successful in life. Too often, these things are merely things we ‘want’ – not what we ‘need’,” says Rabbi Samuel Waldman.
Cultivate Relationships With People Who Will Inspire You To Be Better
One of the things that can build Emunah is coming in contact with people who are cultivating a sense of awe and wonder in the world.
Rabbi Samuel Waldman, who influenced many hundreds of students for over twenty years though his teachings, indicates that when you meet people who inspire you to be a better person, who challenge you to do better and be more, who inspire you to be a better parent, a better student, a better friend, or a better citizen, you’ll be able to develop a positive outlook toward life. When you come across people who are living proof of how G-d can inspire people, who are living their lives with a sense of purpose and meaning, who are inspiring you to do better, it’s easy to see the importance of cultivating a strong relationship with these people.
Emunah is a beautiful thing, and it’s worth exploring in your life. The good thing is, building Emunah is simple. You just have to start reflecting on the true meaning of things, and you can build that into your daily life. As you do this, you’ll come across people who are living with a sense of purpose and meaning. These people will help you build a positive outlook toward life, and it’s worth the effort to cultivate a positive relationship with them in your life.
For more articles on Emunah, visit the website of Samuel Waldman.