A friend of mine is a caretaker for a 90 year old Holocaust survivor whose entire family was lost at Auschwitz. She arrived in Israel after the end of World War II at the age of 21 alone in the world. In due time, she married another Holocaust survivor who like her had lost his entire family to Hitler's ovens. They had six children, by design; one for each of the one million Jews killed in Germany and Polanc. Today this 90 year young woman has 58 grandchildren and 112 great-grandchildren. She tells anyone who will listen that this is her answer to Hitler.
Her greater achievement is an amazing attitude. Here is her advice to the younger generations. As you read these, remember: this is from a Holocaust survivor!
1) The greatest means of overcoming the stress of modern life is to train yourself to look for the good in everyone and everything that happens. Memories from the past may make you cry on occasion but that's OK. Pain is a part of life, but so is faith and hope. I love her definition of stress: Stress is when our trust in God takes second place to our circumstances.
2) Be who YOU are and don't let anyone talk you out of it, make you ashamed of it or initimidate you to deny it. Your talents, your gifts, your moral character are a gift to this troubled world. Live big and live bold.
3) Life brings many surprises. Be flexible. The world does not revolve around any individual. No life is immune from interruptions, distractions, sorrows and challenges. The one thing that never changes is God's love and care for you. Tap into that reality every day and life's surprises become quite manageable.
4) Enjoy the simple things in life: a butterfly, an unfolding rose bud, a smile from a stranger, the giggle of a child. Every morning be thankful. Every afternoon be thankful. Every evening be thankful. Gratitude is a wonderful stress-reliever.
5) Make loving people your lifestyle. Train yourself to be caring and thoughtful. Love fearlessly and abundantly.
6) Be utterly honest. Call good what is good and evil what is evil. But in that honesty avoid being judgmental towards people. Judge the behavior; don't judge the motive. Most of the time we don't even know our own motives, much less those of others.
7) If you do all of the above, the result will be an inner beauty that will attract people to you like bees to a fragrant blosson. You won't need to look for friends; they'll come to you because they will like who they are when they are around you.