â€œâ€Tsniusâ€ is a broad concept that encompasses more than just clothing.
We need to be tsnius in thought and demeanor, learning to speak softly and carry a soft stick, modifying how we speak to each other and how we react to those inevitable â€œevent cardsâ€ in our lives. How do we learn to be pure in thought and action, G-dly in manner and deed?
For the fledgling BT, itâ€™s not as easy as it sounds.
Growing up, I was known as â€œFoghorn Leghornâ€ in my family. As the disappearing middle child, I learned how to be noticed by developing a powerful set of lungs. Iâ€™m pretty sure I would have made it on the stage were I less shy than I was. In my family, you had to be LOUD to be heard, as rambunctious as we all were.
My aggressive and strong voice reverberates across the miles. People know Iâ€™ve arrived before I do. Itâ€™s just the way it is.
But just because Iâ€™m LOUD doesnâ€™t mean Iâ€™m bold and confident. My ebullience masks a mass of insecurities and shrinking violet-itis.
I am a shy person. There you have it. Socially inept, tongue-tied and lacking in confidence, thatâ€™s me.
I donâ€™t particular notice FFBs being modest and quiet all the time. In fact Iâ€™ve met some wonderfully outgoing and rambunctious characters in my travels â€“ to my delight! I donâ€™t think being a shrinking violet or a mouse is what is meant by being tsnius, modest and G-dly.
I do however need to smooth out the rough edges. I think we all have a desire to enhance our positive attributes while diminishing the negative â€“ refining the nefesh to refine the neshama.
When I became frum, I tore into my wardrobe and eliminated the “not tsniusâ€ clothing, mostly jeans and leggings. That was fairly easy to do. Okay, I admit it was a little hard to give away some of my favorite outfits, but I was never that flashy to begin with.
So now itâ€™s time to overhaul my personality wardrobe.
I confess â€“ I used to have a few swear words in my vocabulary. Thereâ€™s nothing like a good expletive to make you feel better when you hammer your thumb. It just works.
Iâ€™m happy to report that Iâ€™ve eliminated these words, with just an occasional minor slip up, like when a pot falls out of the cupboard and hits me in the head. My husband always tells me to thank Hashem for the tikkun.
Iâ€™ve been able to successfully replace bad words with less damaging ones like â€œjeepers!â€ or â€œdarn!â€
Iâ€™d like to revamp me entirely though, so my automatic default isn’t anger or a negative behaviour mode when bad things happen.
Iâ€™d like to become the kind of person that doesnâ€™t need to vent when things donâ€™t go my way.
Iâ€™d like to be the kind of person that takes it all in stride and is comfortable knowing thereâ€™s not much I can do about lifeâ€™s little annoyances, or even major catastrophes, since itâ€™s G-dâ€™s will anyway.
So, how do I do that?
How do I learn how not to let things get to me, to be less cranky when things donâ€™t go my way? How do I quiet the internal road-rage when I hit life’s potholes and traffic jams?
How do I match my personality and demeanor to my tsnius skirts and blouses?
I think it’s by stilling the internal noise, and opening my mind and my ears.
Mishlei 23:12. Bring your heart to discipline and your ears to words of knowledge.