A friend of mine ran for a Division 1 cross country and track team in college. They competed against the best in the nation with many of these runners have gone on to run professionally on the international scene. My friend told me that, throughout university, the team would travel to different places around the country to compete against other schools. One particular race was called the Wisconsin Invite and included many of the top universities. This was his team's chance to make a name for themselves; to earn enough points to make it to the nationals race. Hours of preparation, both mental and physical, no longer mattered as the starting gun went off. Some of his teammates dropped out but most of them just didn't race well. Afterwards, they sat in their tent contemplating their mistakes silently in their heads. Clearly, everyone was beating themselves up over what they could've done better. However, the part of the story that really blew me away was what the coach said to them.
“We can't linger on negative things because only negative thoughts will come out of it. At the same time, it’s healthy to be sad every now and then. Give yourself 24 hours to be angry but, after that, pick yourselves up because there's work to be done.”
In this week’s parsha, we learn about how the Yidden screwed up and “made” the golden calf. This act made Hashem so angry that He wanted to annihilate the Yidden and start over. Moshe pleaded with Hashem and worked to give the Yidden another chance.
Life isn't about being perfect. In fact, we all screw up at some point. So, we can either feel sorry for ourselves or we can make new constructive resolutions and improve on those mistakes. This idea will not only help us when we are feeling sad, but it will also prepare us for future circumstances.
All the best!
Avroham Y Ross