“Heaviness in the heart of man makes it stoop, but a good word makes it glad” (Mishlei 12:25).
There were two wise men of the Talmud, Rav Ami and Rav Assi, who differed in their understanding of this verse (Sanhedrin 100b). One explained it to mean that if a person’s heart is heavy or filled with sorrow, he should try not to think about his troubles, and the other explained it to mean that the person should talk about his troubles with someone else.
Not thinking about our troubles requires removing the worry element from the conscious part of our minds and letting it rest in our subconscious. On the other hand, sharing your worries with your friends or loved ones can help you put those feelings into perspective. We each have our own perception of the events that take place around us. We each interpret our situation differently, and above all our imagination plays a very important role in the way we see things.
The reality of any situation is basically a given. For example, if a tree falls on a person’s car and crushes the whole thing, that’s the reality everyone sees. However, our imagination is personal and differs with each person. Therefore, when a person shares his worries and thoughts with the people he is close to, they are able to help him see what parts of the situation are the actual reality and what parts are his feelings, perceptions, and imagination. This sharing helps him know what he can and should work on, and what’s not in his control and should be put on the side to rest and not fill his mind and body with unnecessary worry and distress.
Talking, of course, also means talking to Hashem and telling Him all our worries. When we do so, G-d has His way of clarifying things for us so that we will understand and internalize what we need to do.
Worries vary. They can be about big, life-threatening situations, and they can be about finding a ticket on the window of our car because we parked in the wrong place. Worries have been around since the beginning of time. How we react is the only thing that really changes.
There are many people who lived, and events that occurred, that no one ever wrote about or documented for the generations. Hashem in the holy Torah picked and chose what needed to be written down for all generations so that we would learn from it. In the times of the 48 prophets that we know about and whose prophecies were written down, there were lots of other prophets as well; however, only those prophets and messages that would be important for all generations for all times are the ones that were written down.
King Solomon, who wrote Mishlei, had all generations, including ours, in mind while writing his words of wisdom. His advice that the worry in a man’s heart should be spoken of or put aside to rest was written for each and every one of us to help us get through our hard times, no matter how large or small the problem. Our troubles might vary, but the solution for fixing or working through that worry is always the same. The realities of our lives usually can’t be changed, but our imagination and the way we react to different realities that are sent our way can be changed. It is up to us. By learning from past mistakes and by following the guidelines that our holy mentors have left for us, we will surely get through life in the best way possible.
May we be able to share with Hashem and our loved ones the worries of our heart and may we merit to hear a good word for them and be strengthened to continue in the path of Hashem.