The word “Elul” is similar to the root of the verb “search” in Aramaic. Elul is a time to search one’s heart and draw close to God in preparation for the coming Day of Judgement, Rosh Hashanah, and Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.
It’s not about making “new year” resolutions, though that’s what I keep coming back to. That’s too easy. Making general promises to be a kinder person won’t get me past Sukkot. Without bringing my self-esteem down too much, I am pondering my own failings and seeking forgiveness from myself, from those I may have harmed, and from God. What comes to mind first is that I tend to be impatient sometimes. I can be the most patient friend or mommy, but not always a patient wife. I have endless compassion for some while I begrudge others. I am sometimes quick to judge. I don’t always go out of my way to help someone. I vow to do better.