I have an old friend who, due to life’s circumstances, floats in and out of my life. She’s a special person with a great soul and a grand character, but there’s always something that seems to be holding her back from growing in life. Something that won’t let her feel or experienceShe calls me in tears happiness.

She calls me in tears, and I listen to the same speech over and over again. “I’ve ruined everything,” she cries. “I’ve lost all my money,” she sobs. “I’m alone. I’m miserable.”

I brace myself because I know what will come next.

“I’ve ruined my life. What have I done? What do I have to live for? I just want to die!” She wails with drama.

I have heard the rhetoric so many times, but I still gasp in disbelief at the last sentence. I know this woman. I know that she has her pain and her sorrow. Like everybody else on this planet, she’s been through her fair share of tests. Difficulties, challenges—yes, she has them. Who doesn’t?

But over the years, I’ve seen the other side as well. I know that G‑d gave her many skills and talents. I know that G‑d gave her great material wealth. She loses money, yes, but she also makes it—in fact, much more than even she could possibly spend. She has family and people who love her, but there always seems to be the emphasis on “being alone, lacking, miserable.” She also always seems to be repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

“Why?” I ask myself. “Why is this woman always a prisoner to the past and to what she lacks?”

I listen to her, and then take a good long look at myself. How many times to I complain and cry, thinking about what I “did wrong,” what I “don’t have”? When I do this, am I happy? Am I growing? Of course not! I feel a sinking feeling of misery, isolation and negativity. When I get like this, I feel stuck.

And L‑rd G‑d commanded man, saying to him: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad, you must not eat thereof; for on the day you eat of it, you shall surely die.” (Beresheit 2: 16-17)

Now the serpent was cunning beyond any beast of the field that L‑rd G‑d had made. He said to the woman: “Did perhaps, G‑d say: ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden.’ ” (Beresheit 3:1)

Reading these lines from the Torah, do you know what jumps out at me? The way that cunning snake attacked the woman’s very existence by making her see and focus on what she didn’t (or shouldn’t) have. G‑d gave man and woman a garden full of trees with delicious abundance. They had bounty, plenty. One tree—only one single tree—they were forbidden to eat from (because this one tree wasn’t good for them—eating from the tree, they were warned, would bring death).

And so, the serpent—the symbol of evil, the symbol of destruction—put all of its energy into luring the woman away from the good G‑d gave her and enticed her to sin with negativity.

The woman fell into the snake’s trap; she ate from the single prohibited tree, among all the permitted ones in the garden. She gave the prohibited fruit to man, and as a consequence, brought death to mankind. Pretty intense, no? She brought such destruction for getting off-track by eating a piece of fruit!

Yes, that’s what can happen when a person is focused on what went “wrong,” what “they” lost, what they “don’t” have. They can destroyShe brought such destruction by eating a piece of fruit! themselves (and others). When I feel bad about myself, it never pushes me forward. If anything, it pushes me backwards or makes me feel stuck. It wasn’t just the fruit the woman ate from the one forbidden tree; she exhibited a lack of faith and trust in G‑d as well.

King David tells us: “Turn away from evil, and do good.” (Psalms 34:14) I once read a beautiful interpretation of the saying, “Turn away from seeing yourself as evil! So that then you can do good!” Turn away from the negative thoughts of what is missing or lacking and wrong. The very act of turning away will propel you forward, and give you the strength and desire to move on, to make positive changes, to learn from your experiences—and do good.