Fear can be a cruel thing. When it overflows its boundaries, it drains our life force. It changes our perception. Under its influence, every little setback seems huge. Until the world itself seems fundamentally terrible. Eventually, we look for the evil intent behind anything good. We become cynical. Finally, it seems pointless to work towards change.
– Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook (1865-1935)
We cannot always eliminate problems, but we can learn to eliminate our anxiety over them.
You add to the technical difficulties of your problems by telling yourself how awful your situation is. When you accept a situation, even though it is not what you would have liked, the severity of the problem will be decreased.
Learn to clarify what is the worst that could happen and accept it. This will free you from worry.
– Alter of Kelm (1824-1898)
People often avoid making decisions out of fear of making a mistake. Actually, the failure to make decisions is one of life’s biggest mistakes. – Rabbi Noah Weinberg (1930-2009)
Jewish spirituality lives in the midst of life itself, the life of society and its institutions. To create it we have to battle with two kinds of fear: fear of failure, and fear of success. Fear of failure is common; fear of success is rarer but no less debilitating. Both come from the reluctance to take risks. Faith is the courage to take risks. It is not certainty; it is the ability to live with uncertainty. It is the ability to hear God saying to us as He said to Abraham, “Walk on ahead of Me” (Genesis 17:1).
– Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
All the world is a very narrow bridge, and the essential thing is not to be afraid of anything.
– Rebbe Nachman of Bratzlav (1722-1810)
G-d replies to Isaiah that He is the One Who consoles. Why fear a mortal man who withers like grass? People forget G-d, Who created the universe, and they worry about humans, who are here today and gone tomorrow. Your oppressor is mortal; he has no power to harm you. It is G-d who moves the sea and who put words of Torah in our mouths. He sheltered us and preserved us to be like the stars of Heaven and the sands of the shore.
– Rabbi Jack Abramowitz, Orthodox Union, Isaiah Chapter 51 Commentary