If it were a single isolated case of one woman I wouldn’t even address it, but unfortunately it’s not. I see it way too often, with clients, among neighbors, friends or peers. I wish that I could label it as a stage in life or something that only happens in a specific circumstance under certain conditions, but I can’t. Why? Because the spectrum is too broad, too varied. It could be a young woman, an older woman, and any age or stage in between.

I’m talking about feelings of loneliness,So many of us are ruled by emotions and feelings depression, despair. Feelings of anxiety or fears. I’m talking about stress. Feelings that are human and “normal,” but not when they control you or prevent you from functioning and living a healthy life.

Women share with me how they want to feel connected to G‑d—how they want a feeling of fulfillment and value, and yet they can’t. At least, they can’t where they are holding right now because other emotions or feelings rule them instead.

You see so many of us are ruled by emotions and feelings.

We get offended or stressed out at work, and our bodies are tense all day. We try something that doesn’t work out; we get discouraged and want to give up. We’re angry or hurt, and we feel like we might as well as not have contact with anyone anymore. We’re scared of failing, and so we don’t even try. We feel alone and unwanted, and so we stay home.

My advice to myself when I get caught in an emotion that’s ruling over me is to step up to the plate. Put on a smile (or whatever your armor), be brave and get down to work, or whatever it is that you need to do.

Let me explain ...

Many years ago, the existence of the Jewish nation was in jeopardy. The Persian king allowed his wicked minister, Haman, to write a decree to kill all the Jews. Mordecai, the leader of the Jewish nation, sent a messenger to his cousin, Esther—the queen, of all people—that she must approach the king and plead on behalf of her people to nullify the decree.

Fear gripped her, and she answered her cousin:

“All of the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes to the king and enters the inner courtyard without being summoned, his is but one verdict: execution; except for the person to whom the king extends his golden scepter—[only] he shall live. And I have not been summoned to come to the king for thirty days now.”1

Her fear was valid and real, but her cousin wouldn’t let it stop her. She had no other choice he told her. What could she do?

She fasted and prayed. She got the support of the nation and then ...

Esther donned [garments of] royalty and stood in the inner courtyard of the palace, facing the palace. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the palace facing the palace entrance.2

She didn’t go plead to the king in her night robe or with a mournful look on her face. Instead, she got dressed up beautifully and confidently; she stood regally. Even though inside she was probably shaking with fear, she tapped into a spiritual strength and moved forwards. She did the opposite of what her emotions were telling her to do.

Esther’s courage merited to be the messenger that turned the fate of the Jews from death to life.

What does this teach us? Sometimes, you put on the right face. You steel yourself and doThe new feelings will become real the opposite of what you feel. And eventually, it will penetrate. G‑d will see your effort and desire to change, and the new feelings will become real. For example, for a woman suffering from tension, I tell her to do one small physical motion like release the jaw or drop the shoulders. Any act that confronts the emotion.

If I’m upset with someone, I do a small act of kindness for them. If have no energy to go out, I get dressed anyways, even if I stay home. If I feel like I have no desire to take care of myself, I force myself to go on a five-minute walk. If I feel lonely, I pick up the telephone and call a friend. If I feel spiritually unconnected, I go to a Torah class. With G‑d’s help, it can work.

Anything negative and unbalanced that controls our actions doesn’t come from a good place; it destroys us. Any fears that paralyze us pulls us down. But when we do the opposite, miracles happen. Salvation happens.

On the 13th day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, when the time for the carrying out of the king’s edict and law had arrived, on the day the enemies of the Jews had thought they would dominate them, everything was overturned (the opposite): the Jews dominated their enemies.3

As we see in the story of Purim where Mordecai, despite feelings of despair, brought the people closer to G‑d with prayer and repentance. He turned feelings of separation into acts of connection. Esther turned paralyzing emotions of fear into courage and strength. G‑d turned angry jealous plans of destruction into salvation and redemption.

It often takes a deep breath, an internal push, a Herculean effort or act of great bravery to get the job done.