This is not a history lesson about any ongoing conflict between Israel and terrorist organizations. This is a lesson in resilience.
What can we learn from the hardships Israelis faced during times of war?
The past few weeks have reminded us of some very dark days in human history. Humanity has once again exposed its ugliest side, leaving many around the globe with feelings of fear, anger, and helplessness. These harsh feelings have permeated our consciousness with anxieties and apprehensions.
On 10/7/2023 Israel experienced the biggest act of terror in its history. On this day more than 1,400 civilians were massacred, over five thousand were wounded, and over 240 were kidnapped.
All the political divides that tore Israeli society apart in the past year vanished in an instant and Israelis have returned to acting as one united people. They may bend for a moment, but they will never break.
How can a nation that endured the Holocaust, fought wars for its existence at least once every decade since its founding, and faced unending waves of terrorist attacks still stand strong—especially considering the ongoing trauma and PTSD affecting almost every age group in Israeli society?
The answer is simple: Israel’s true strength lies in its people’s personal and national resilience.
You see, it starts with a secret weapon. Israelis know there’s nowhere else to go. There is only one Jewish state in the world. This was true when Golda Meir said it 50 years ago, and it holds true today.
In other words, there’s no choice but to persist.
There are several crucial things about resilience. First, resilience is not something you either have or don’t have; it’s something you can develop and strengthen. Second, resilience isn’t just a personal matter; it’s also a national concern. A united country / society / family / group is stronger than a divided one. This means that together we are stronger.
Despite the social and political rifts that have emerged in recent years, Israeli society is known for putting differences aside in moments of crisis and rallying together in solidarity and support. When the threat comes from outside, the Israeli instinct is to always continue thriving, loving life, and making things even better. Everyone always aspires to a better life. The Israeli nature is to take action. There’s always hope for improvement.
A substantial component of their strength is hope. Hope implies optimism. Even in the darkest moments, one must not lose hope. Israelis always believe in a better future, even when it seems challenging. The approach I was raised on is ‘our best days are just around the corner,’ so breaking is not an option.
Until things improve, we must maintain a sense of normalcy and focus on action. Even during war or terror, it’s crucial to continue living our regular lives. This helps preserve a sense of peace.
How can you build resilience?
I wrote a book about the subject of resilience (I will release updates soon), but here are some tips on how you can cultivate it:
1. Identify your superpowers.
What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing?
Know what makes you feel good and how you are going to make a difference.
2. Build a support network with friends and family.
A supportive environment will help cope with difficulties. Being a part of a group that accepts you and love you for who you are is important, but don’t forget to show your love and support as well. Be a team player!
3. Interpersonal relationships.
This is a crucial source of support and encouragement. In tough times, they can be the foundation for moving forward in life.
4. Practice assertiveness.
Learn to uphold your principles and not lose yourself even when facing challenges.
5. Foster mental fortitude.
Expect the best, but be prepared for adverse outcomes. Keep hoping for the best, and don’t break when difficulties come. Hardship is a part of life. Hardship leads to learning.
6. Do something meaningful.
When you feel you have a purpose, it gives you the strength to face challenges.
Even in the most challenging moments, it’s possible to find the strength to cope. I am still unsure how it is possible to cope with the atrocities and the disturbing images we have seen, but the only way forward, is forward. So there will be a way.