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Increasing joy, not misery

משנכנס אדר מרבים בשמחה

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

When the month of Adar comes in – and, even more so, when Adar Beit comes in -- we increase in joy, and Adar Beit comes in today. Sol Herzig, the American Jewish psychologist, wrote a penetrating article called "Six Simple Strategies for Achieving Misery". In his words, these are the most well-tested strategies for not achieving happiness:

1. Cling to entitlement. Always feel that you deserve everything, that life owes you, that you were born to receive. Always look for the injustice in others having something that you don't have and don't agree to any accommodation or compromise.

2. It's all personal. Always assume that everything unfortunate that happens to you results from an evil intention. Always seek to find malicious motives behind everything and conclude that what happens to you is final proof that you do not matter to others.

3. Focus on problems. Keep careful track of all your problems and review them constantly. Nurture the attitude that you really cannot move on to anything until everything is resolved first.

4. Magnify. Don't keep anything in perspective. Try to nurture negative thinking in relation to every mishap and to magnify it without any attempt at regret or forgiveness.

5. Expect catastrophe. It is critical to remember that really terrible things can occur at any moment. Let your imagination run wild - diseases, disasters, terrorist attacks. Don't let anything surprise you. Be constantly vigilant.

6. Never be grateful. Regard what you have as something that should be taken for granted, without thanking those who made it possible.
How much do we strive to live by these suggestions without even knowing it? May we have a good new month, a month of joy.

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