Answer: They simply haven’t taught us to oppose panic because the evil inclination, the ego, is what always motivates us: a thirst for control, respect and fame, envy, and so forth.
But if we turn these characteristics in a positive direction, they will influence us to the same degree as the negative, and even more.
In every situation we make some kind of calculation. I remember that when my son was a student, he was given the opportunity to travel in Europe. And I let him. He wasn’t home for two months. Certainly I was worried. This was more than twenty years ago; there weren’t any cell phones then.
Much later he traveled to the Far East, to even more dangerous places, to South America. How could I not let him? I put myself in his place. How could he have otherwise discovered life at such a young age? I had to let him, even though it worried me.
Question: But I am sure that there are other people who allow the same thing for their children and cannot sleep from worry.
Answer: This is called painful sensitivity. It is very difficult to overcome it alone. It is absolutely possible to program yourself for other behavior. For example, put yourself under the influence of the environment.
Question: Come, let’s imagine some kind of state of panic. Last night my daughter was delayed somewhere. I called a friend of hers, after that I called the police, hospitals, and didn’t get any answer. I didn’t know where to run. I called my wife and only got annoyed because she received this information in an absolutely relaxed manner. I panicked. So Influence me somehow so that I will stop being in a panic.
Answer: It is necessary to leave this state completely and consider it in a completely neutral way, without touching the problem point. Turn on some music, put some cake and coffee on the table. From this moment on we behave as if nothing happened, as if we are simply sitting in a coffee house and talking about daily life.
And so gradually we move to the subject of fears and worries on condition that in the beginning we talk about our positive attitude in similar situations. In other words, the remedy must anticipate the illness. After that it is necessary to talk about how good it is to be confident and calm. We try to relax ourselves, for example, we imagine ourselves on the beach.
And after this we begin to think about how to remain in this state of calm in our ordinary life. After all, children have their own lives. And what will be when in another five or six years your daughter goes into the army? Will she become more mature and smarter or will I stop being concerned about her? I must understand that all of my concerns don’t bring any benefit.
Question: And what if I see that someone relates to the given situation disparagingly?
Answer: This is not important because “Whoever condemns does so through his own flaws” (Kiddushin 70a). If I will begin to compare his irresponsibility with my inclination towards exaggerated concern, I will be left with nothing. And even if someone doesn’t know how to act nicely, in any case, I am included in his state.
Question: But I don’t want to plunge to the other extreme….
Answer: Don’t worry. Before you reach a balance, it will be necessary for this to “throw” you in the opposite direction. Ultimately everything will return to normal.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 10/21/12