When the pressure ramps up, we really have two choices.
I’m currently trying to put together my ‘how to halve overwhelming stress in 30 days’ tachlis course, and it’s proving pretty stressful….
But also very useful, in figuring out why people react the way we do to overwhelming stress, and what we can really do about it, tachlis.
We’re all so sick and tired of ‘gurus’ preaching about how to do stuff, and how to change – things that they themselves are a million miles away from actually living in their own lives.
That’s true in the orthodox Jewish world, and also – I’ve been shocked to discover – in the non-Jewish world.
For every Youtube ‘rabbi’ and ‘rabbanit’ that’s been droning on about Hashem, and emuna, while deceitfully swindling people, feeding their own massive egos, and trying to cash in on the public’s need for reassurance and guidance, there’s at least 100 secular ‘gurus’ that have been doing exactly the same thing, in their field.
I’ve come across this phenomenon in the area of book publishing, and of course, in holistic health, but I had no idea how widespread the problem has become, and how cynical it’s made us all. So, this course is not preaching anything. It’s 100% tachlis, focused exactly on helping people to figure out what’s stressing them out, what they can really do about it, and how to reduce their stress by at least 50% in 30 days.
That’s a big promise to make, I know, but I’m standing fully behind it.
So, while I’ve been busy putting that course together, the world has helpfully been melting down into a massive, oozing puddle of overwhelmingly stressful circumstances.
The latest example is xtian pastor, anti-Semite (and almost certainly, secret Freemason) Rick Wiles’ public rant about a ‘Jew Coup’ taking place in the US.
One of my US-based friends kindly sent me the clip, so I went to check out his website, and his following on Youtube – apparently 185,000, before he got banned – and I came away from all that investigation feeling pretty stressed! And I don’t live in the US.
As this site is now a pointless politics-free zone, instead of pointlessly ranting about ‘erev rav’, and trying to ‘blame’ people for not moving to Israel 50 years ago, I thought I’d try to do something constructive to help my readers in the US, while also trying out some of the tachlis principles I’m putting together for my course.
Great! Let’s do this together, with no ranting, no blaming, no holier-than-thou finger pointing, or demonization of whole groups of Jews who happen to think and act differently from us.
We are all in this together.
We’ll kick this off by setting out the stall, describing the ‘stress’ problem we all have, and then going through the following steps, to try to resolve it. Here’s my STRESS DEFUSING CHECKLIST.
- Identify the potential source of stress.
- Clarify the situation, to see if the ‘stress’ and underlying worries and fears are valid, or not.
- Clearly state the specific problem of issue that is stressing you out.
- Once we have the full facts (as much as we can), to move through the process of ACTION or ACCEPTANCE.
- Depending on which route we’ll take, the work will either be more externally-focused ACTION, or more internally-focused ACCEPTANCE.
- Clearly state the ACTIONS required, and / or what can’t be changed and must be ACCEPTED with emuna.
- Feel way less stressed, because we’ve clarified what’s going on, what we really think about it, and what, if anything we need to do to deal with it.
It’s a very common reaction, to go into denial when we feel overwhelmed, despairing and stuck.
most of the planet does that, and sometimes it has its benefits. But, if the source of stress is ‘real’, or nagging, or chronic, or acute, and it’s not being faced down and dealt with, denial quickly morph into a feeling of massive underlying anxiety and panic.
When people aren’t addressing their stress, their fears, head-on, that also leads to a range of chronic health problems – they can’t sleep, they get headaches, their digestion stops working, peptic ulcers show up, they get eczema or asthma flare-ups, they start to experience all sorts of different psychosomatic pains and backaches, that have no ‘physical’ cause etc etc.
Don’t do that to yourself!
It’s way, way better to bite the bullet, deal with reality, and then have a concrete plan of either ACTION or ACCEPTANCE, depending on what you discover when start to address the problem properly.
So, let’s apply this ‘de-stress’ solution to the problem of Rick Wiles. I’m not going to answer the following questions for you – that’s your part of this project – but I will walk you through it, and hold your hand, as much as required. Let’s kick off:
IDENTIFY THE POTENTIAL SOURCE OF STRESS.
In this case, let’s focus in on Rick Wiles, and his ‘Jew Coup’ statement. Let’s start with a stress rating:
How stressful is Rick Wilkes and his public Jew-hatred, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the maximum)?
Before I went to his site, I would have ranked this for myself as a ‘3’, as I live in Israel. After I read his site, it went up to around a ‘6’.
If you’re ranking anything below ‘3’, that means it’s not a potent source of stress for you.
I’m ranking this at a ‘6’ now, which means I need to deal with it.
(As a side note, I usually deal with all this stuff in hitbodedut, and you can, too. Just take this checklist, plug in your own ‘stress’ issue, and go talk to God about it.)
Now, let’s move on to our second step:
CLARIFY THE SITUATION
This is often way harder than it looks, especially if there are a lot of vested interests involved, or a lot of ‘confirmation bias’ standing in the way of getting to the truth. In this case, here’s a few of the questions we need to be exploring:
- Is Rick Wiles speaking for a lot of Americans, or just a negligible percentage?
- Are his Youtube followers fanatical, or violent?
- Do you live close to any of these fanatical, violent people? Could they directly impact your life in some way?
- Who else might Wiles be influencing with his statement?
- What are the possible outcomes of this statement being widely publicized in the US?
(Tip: you want to be covering the range of possibilities here, from ‘best case’ to ‘worst case’ scenario. For big stresses, or big decisions, it’s often best to write this down, or do a mindmap. I use pen and paper, but there is also free and easy mindmap software that you can download and use, too.)
Once you have that list of possible outcomes, it’s time to drill down, to see what you are really worrying about, and how likely you believe that outcome to be.
Here’s how I would do that.
I’d take my list of ‘possible outcomes’.
And then I’d give them a ranking out of 10 (or out of 100, if you want more precision) as to how likely I believe this might be. 1 would be ‘impossible’ and 10 / 100 would be ‘absolutely certain’.
That would leave me looking at something like this:
(I know, I spelt his name wrong… I don’t really care.)
POSSIBLE OUTCOMES OF WILES’ STATEMENT
- More people start to talk against the Jews – 75%
- Anti-Semitism could start to increase in the US – 75%
- People feel more comfortable discriminating against Jews – 70%
- That could impact how comfortable I feel being obviously Jewish in the US – 80%
- There could be more violent anti-Semitism – 60%
- There could be more attacks on shuls and Jewish schools – 60%
- Jewish life in the US could become more difficult – 90%
- It’s a storm in a teacup nothing will happen – 20%
Are you seeing how this works?
If you feel that you don’t have enough information or knowledge to be comfortable with your ‘clarity’, you might want to go and read up on the subject, find an expert to talk to, check out the latest stats for anti-semitism etc in the US, to inform your opinions and beliefs.
And of course, take it back to God, because that’s where you’ll get your best insights from.
Now that I have my ‘clarity’, to the best of my ability, and taking my own innate biases and preferences and beliefs into account, I can move to the next step of identifying and defusing my stress:
3) CLEARLY STATE THE SPECIFIC PROBLEM OR ISSUE THAT IS STRESSING YOU OUT.
So for me, I’m going to formulate it like this:
“I’m worried that there is about to be a big upswing in anti-Semitism in the USA, and that there will be more discrimination and violent attacks against the Jews who are living there, which includes my relatives.”
Again, this is my personal statement. You should write yours in your own language, and with whatever details are relevant to you, and your levels of stress.
But now I have the problem clearly stated, I can move on to the next stage:
ACTION or ACCEPTANCE.
Here’s where I list out all the actions that are currently available to me, that could help me deal with this problem.
- Phone people I know in the US to discuss the situation and warn them?
- Write something urging people to move?
- Encourage people to buy a firearm and learn how to use it?
- Give practical information and help about making aliya?
- Research US antisemitism to see if it really is a big problem?
- Suggest people look at buying a cheap property somewhere in Israel?
- Give people chizzuk and support?
- Try to ‘scare’ them into making aliya?
- Put more focus on making Teshuva and working on our humility and emuna?
Now, I go through each one, and I see if it’s workable, practical, useful.
I know from previous experience that trying to ‘scare’ people, or browbeat them, or guilt them, into moving to Israel just doesn’t work, and isn’t helpful.
I’ve had family members who stopped talking to me for 4 years because I kept trying to pressure them to make aliya. So, all those options are out.
I don’t believe in violence as an answer, so I’m not going to encourage anyone to buy a gun.
So, I’m left with the options to write things that will encourage and support my fellow Jews in the US, and to help them get clarity in some way about the options available to them, and to put the focus on teshuva and working on out bad middot and returning to God, as the best solution to the problem.
So now, I have clarity about what I personally need to do about this, moving forward, and I’m feeling way less stressed.
And whatever I can’t change, whatever I can’t take action about right now, that’s the stuff I need to work on accepting happily, without whining, moaning of complaining.
If I can’t take the ACTION I want to take, I have to accept God’s will, and maybe, start praying for things to change or open up in the future, so that ACTION could be available to me at a different stage.
(I know I’m not breaking this stage down into all the nitty-gritty details. I will do it in the course properly, but I don’t want this post to get too long!)
6) Clearly state the ACTIONS required, and / or, what I need to ACCEPT with emuna.
For me, I have to ACCEPT that trying to force my family members to make aliya is simply counter-productive, and just leads to bad blood and soured relationships.
I also have to ACCEPT that I can’t even broach this issue with my relatives in the US, as doing so will only upset them, and won’t achieve anything positive.
On my ACTIONS list, I now have:
- Pray more for God to help the Jews in America (and everywhere else! We all have our issues, right now.)
- Focus my blog on chizzuk and emuna, instead of holier-than-thou finger pointing and ranting.
- Look to see what practical help and support I can give my readers, to help them deal with their challenges and stress, including the stress caused by anti-Semites like Rick Wiles.
Now I’ve gone through this process, I’m feeling way less stressed!
I have my clarity about what might be happening, what limited role, if any, I can play, and where I need to be focusing my time and energy for maximum benefit.
This is EXPERIENCING EMUNA, not just preaching about it. You can apply this formula to absolutely any ‘stress’ that you are currently experiencing, and you’ll see how it instantly starts to reduce, as you get better clarity about what’s really going on, what your options really are, and what God might be expecting from you.
BH, I hope to be able to share more of this stuff with you soon.
Next week, Wednesday, Dec 4th, I’m hoping to live teach the first module of the FAILPROOF METHOD TO REDUCE DESTRUCTIVE STRESS BY AT LEAST 50% IN 4 WEEKS COURSE, focusing on:
‘IDENTIFY WHAT’S STRESSING YOU OUT, AND DEFUSE IT’.
If you are a woman, and you would like to join me for that – on Zoom – please sign up HERE.
I’m limiting enrollment to the first 10 people, so grab your spot while you can.
You can also sign up directly, below: