The walls of the room where I work hold many tears, so I’ve long kept a full box of tissues ready on my desk.

A client came to me yesterday and started to cry. She is about to start a fertility treatment, and like every woman that I speak with about this, she’s confused. There are so many mixed emotions—fear,I see a fraction of tension drop from her face frustration, rejection, hope. There is so much confusion. “Do I really want to go through with this? Why does this have to be so difficult?” She’s scared to do it and scared not to.

She cries and says, “I don’t know why I’m crying. Why am I so upset? I tell myself, ‘Come on, it’s no big deal.’ ”

“But it is a big deal,” I tell her.

I see a fraction of tension drop from her face, and her eyes flow with more tears—tears of relief.

“Accept your emotions instead of fighting them or ignoring them. Instead of trying to dismiss the challenge, nurture yourself, treat yourself and get help as you go through the process. Do whatever you can to make it easier, but don’t deny the difficulty or the challenge.”

She nodded as more tears streamed down, but she wound up leaving with more energy to carry on.

I say this to a lot of women in very different situations.

A young woman with an eating disorder came to speak with me recently. She’s in the process of getting healthier and stronger. She describes how physically and emotionally uncomfortable she feels when she eats. The sensation of feeling “full” terrifies her. She, too, questions: “Why am I so upset? Why can’t I just eat and not think about it? Why do I have to make it such a big deal?”

I told her it is a big deal. It’s difficult. I told her that instead of berating herself, she should acknowledge that it’s hard, and that in spite of this, she still chooses life and eating what her nutritionist advises. I tell her not to belittle her situation. She should tell herself, “I have the courage to eat, even though I don’t want to. I have the courage to try, even with ambivalence and mixed emotions. I have the courage to do, even though doing is so incredibly scary.”

One step in front of the other. One meal at a time. It’s a relief just to accept and not be judgmental of your own self.

I can’t tell you how many times throughout the day I catch myself being annoyed with myself. I might be doing something as “simple” as cleaning up after a long day, and I want to yell, “What’s the big deal? Why is this so hard?” But it is hard, especially when you are tired and just want to go to sleep. Yet you still make an effort; you tidy up your home to make it beautiful for your family, who may or may not appreciate it. In those moments, I tell myself, “Wow you’re tired and still putting in effort, that’s great!” It actually gives me more strength to do it.

The phone rings someone needs my help. Sometimes, I don’t want to listen. I’ve got too much going on. I’ve learned not to tell myself, “Just pick up and listen to her, it’s no big deal.” Instead, I tell myself, “It’s so hard to listen when you have so many other things you want to do, and yet you still are willing to answer, good for you!” And really, this makes me feel spiritual satisfaction and happiness. It enables me to follow through, to pick up that phone.

We have a month in the Jewish calendar known for being one of simcha, of happiness—the month of Adar. Smack-dab in the middle of this month is the joyous holiday of Purim that celebrates our Divine salvation from a tyrant who wanted to obliterate the Jewish people.

Who is the heroine of this story and why?

Queen Esther. What did she do, and what do her actions teach us? G‑d put Esther in the position to be queen, married to the very man whose No. 1 minister plotted to destroy the Jewish people. Mordechai, a close relative, sent a messenger to tell her to go plead on the nation’s behalf before the king. She responded with fear. How could she approach the king without permission? This could mean certain death. Mordechai responded that her purpose for being queen was to save her people, but if she didn’t go, G‑d would find a different savior.

Esther had a choice. She could have ignored Mordechai. She could have said: “OK, let it be someone else.” This was truly an immense personal test. She chose to go forward and meet with the king because she realized that yes, this was her mission, and she needed to do it. Before doing so, what did she tell Mordechai?

“Go, assemble all the Jews who are present in ShushanHow could she approach the king without permission? and fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, day and night; also I and my maidens will fast in a like manner; then I will go to the king contrary to the law, and if I perish, I perish.” (Megillat Esther 4:13)

Esther didn’t say to him, “Why am I afraid anyway? I’ll go.”

She told him that she realizes it might not work; she might even be executed. She told him: “This is such a difficult situation that I am in, and I need your help and the support of the nation.”

She didn’t deny the greatness of what she was prepared to do. She accepted it, and she did it. She appreciated the enormity of it, and that’s why she prayed so hard and fasted.

When we understand the greatness of what we are doing, we empower ourselves and begin to realize how much G‑d loves us and cheers us on. When we focus our tasks as being part of a holy mission, we elevate everything to a higher level—no matter how small or seemingly simple (all the more so when doing something “big” or “complicated”). It creates happiness and satisfaction, instead of anger and frustration.

You make choices, amazing ones, and they are big! Don’t belittle them or brush them under the rug. Embrace the challenge.