Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk

Attitudes, Behaviors, and Outcomes 


“The presentation of  self in every day life” makes an enormous difference in our being.  It can be seen in all aspects of our existence and that of our fellow humans. We have many examples of this.  Acceptance, kindness, knowledge and how these concepts are utilized is very important.  If we look at the professional or work part of our being, we have many examples.  For example, a rabbi who knows his position, is learned and knows how to handle people, be they children, the middle aged or  older, will be respected and trusted.  All the knowledge “in the world” will not help if he, the rabbi,  is arrogant, looks down upon his congregants and is overly judgmental, exhibits favoritism, or has little interest or concern for those he has been employed to serve. Such a “Raf” can lose his pulpit in short shrift.

A teacher who is harsh and uncaring will not be popular with children who have no choice but to have to remain in the classroom.  Such harshness and absolute expectations of students who are not junior Einsteins may cause the students to feel so intimidated that they cannot learn, and may fail to understand the simplest concepts that they should comprehend if taught with patience and an accepting attitude.

We cannot compare people to machines.  Even the latter have to be effectively utilized to make them work properly and efficiently.

Sales and business people have to know their wares but in order to be successful they also have to be courteous and understanding of the needs and responses of their prospective customers in order to sell their “wares”or services.

Politicians have to know the group they are attempting to serve, the population, their attitudes, their prejudices, their needs, and how to round them up to win the race.  Once they have won their race, they may not follow the alleged promises they made during their election rallies.  They must roll with what is best for the population that they wish to serve, the numbers of constituents and their beliefs, their prejudices, their thought processes. 

Physicians are frequently so arrogant that they forget about their patients' needs and treat them like objects.  A doctor must know his specialty “par excellence,” but that alone does not often give him the size of the practice that he needs.  He must listen and hear what the patient is telling him; he must empathize with his problems; must be courteous and not too arrogant.  Patients (unless the physician is a second Salk) must exhibit courtesy and understanding.  He must give hope to the “consumer” and more.  Too often the patient feels lost and neglected when the physician spends three minutes with him and they have only seconds to ask important questions.  Waiting for an extended time in a doctor's office is humiliating enough for many a person, and should be minimized as much as possible. In addition to knowing his “trade,” the M.D. can make an enormous difference in a person's well being and his recovery.  The mental attitude and the hope that a beloved physician can instill in a patient can induce him to get better.  His prescriptions and advice will be followed more readily and his belief in his progress can make a considerable difference in his healing process. 

In Europe in the “Stattels” there were Wonder Rabbis who would “cure” a religious believer from an illness that he suffered.  The sick one would tell his problems (frequently of a psychological condition) to a Wonder Rabbi and he would suggest something that would make the illness disappear.  One such woman suffered from postpartum depression. The good Rabbi told her to eat a small bowl of cottage cheese in the morning and her depression would disappear.  She did what he asked, and the power of suggestion together with her faith in the “holy” leader healed her morbid thoughts.   

Looking at our one or two best friends, they are usually those who express faith in us, who do not criticize us, who behave in a positive fashion toward us, recognize the  good in us for who we are, and we in turn reciprocate those same behaviors and attitudes toward them.


 Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.

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