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How you think about any situation determines how you feel about it. This mini series presents a fascinating glimpse into three handpicked, private correspondences with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson—letters that open the mind’s eye to rare psychological insights and new ways of thinking about life’s challenges. By reflecting on practical advice penned to individuals during critical life-junctures, this series provides perspectives on life that begin from the inside out, starting from the soul and one’s destiny on earth, to help you peer through the Rebbe’s eyes and find opportunity where others see adversity.
A refugee is a person who has been suddenly and violently torn away from their natural habitat and thrust into a new and alien set of circumstances. Sounds familiar? While there are many things in the refugee’s experience that thankfully do not apply to the current situation, there are also certain elements to which we can definitely relate.
Our social connections—our extended families, our workplaces, our communities, and the public spaces where we interact with others—play a major role in nurturing our well-being and productivity. What happens when all this is suddenly taken from us? In a letter written by the Rebbe in 1944, the Rebbe explores this question by drawing from his personal experience as a refugee in Nazi-occupied France.
Can We Change Reality?
What is real? There are, in fact, multiple layers to what we experience as reality. There is an external reality—objective “facts on the ground” over which we have little or no control. There is an internal reality—our own personality traits and abilities. Finally, there are our perceptions—the ways that we process what is happening to us.
In 1956, a person wrote to the Rebbe about their personal struggles. In his response, the Rebbe shares his insights into the nature of the different “realities” that we experience, and offers some concrete suggestions on how to respond when we feel overwhelmed by the challenges we face, both from without and within.
Use Your Inner Yardstick
Who hasn’t been plagued by feelings of inadequacy? We are constantly haunted by a fear of failing to “measure up” in some way—to the accomplishments and successes of others, to their real or perceived expectations from us, and to our own expectations and ambitions. In a letter written to a struggling teenager, the Rebbe offers guidance on how to more accurately and productively access our task in life, and the progress we are making toward its achievement.
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