I had many thoughts floating through my head, energy building up inside of me and dreams forcing themselves out of my imagination and into reality–it all happened so quickly and simultaneously. This feeling of deep inspiration came simply as a reaction to witnessing the investiture of President Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman. It got me thinking of the tremendous ability that people possess to achieve great things and, as Rabbi Berman himself put it, “move history forward.” On the other side of the same coin, it made me aware of all the other factors that can possibly inhibit a person from reaching their life’s goals. The biggest factor of them all may very well be fear. Fear prevents us from living a life of freedom: freedom from stress and worry, freedom from shame and awkwardness and freedom from unnecessary hardships. It slows our wheels down on our path toward success and true fulfillment. But if we learn what fear really looks like we can then identify it and stop it at any moment, even when disguised.
Fear is paralyzing. Fear robs you of your most basic human right – freedom; when you are afraid you have no control over what you do. You automatically give into taking the easier, more comfortable route, instead of taking risks. There is no real choice involved in creating a life of your own. Fear makes you predictable; you know exactly what decision you’ll make time after time after time. Fear seizes the wheel and steers you down paths that only reach dead ends. While fear tries to break you down, you must learn how to break it down first. You must regain control and not give anyone or anything excuses. Eradicate all the “what ifs” from your thoughts. The only thing you should fear is the illogical fear itself, because it creates a non-existent world inside your head; circumstances and scenarios that might never exist. They are just there to psych you out. And if you analyze the word fear closely you will find that the only difference in the words fear and free is the “a”, but putting spelling on the side they sound identical if you rearrange the letters. There is some correlation between them. There is a very thin border, indeed it is almost imaginary, between these two mindsets. Being controlled by fear or having the freedom to control fear is all in the mind. It’s a choice, just one little switch, to take that one step across the border.
Don’t let fear take away your great and promising vision. Don’t let fear take away your ability to walk, climb and sprint towards your goals. Don’t let fear disable you. If all we talk about in the world is freedom and in what ways to achieve it for all nations, races and people, then why can’t we start at home within ourselves? Why don’t we think about our own freedom often enough as well? What is stopping our own, personal redemption from blossoming? I believe the answer lies with the wise words of Marianne Williamson, an American spiritual teacher and author whose prominent works have been New York Times best seller, who once said “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” We are the most sophisticated of God’s creations. We, human beings, have the ability to constantly influence the world around us and the way it functions for the good through our thoughts, speech and actions. That is what makes us a step above from everything else on this great planet. We can contribute to the building and bettering of all societies and “move history forward”–and all of that springs from the freedom to choose. To simply choose what we think about, what we say and what we do. Fear is the most inconsequential and miniscule component of life, and it cannot possibly come close to all that a human being is and can be. Our potential is infinite; fear is finite. Fear is simply envious of what we are and foolishly tries to bring us down to its finite level. What it doesn’t understand is that it can never downgrade us because of the limitless potential and capabilities we have to create change: change in the world, change in our reality and change within our very own selves. So, my dear school, nation and world, if you don’t give fear the power to overthrow the authority in which you have over yourself, then it won’t; and if it does, just remember that you can seize the reins back and reclaim your independence at any given moment.