We all have our good and bad moments. Sometimes the situation might be so overwhelming that you want to give up.
All of sudden you receive a message.
You might read, hear or watch something that says “you can do this” and you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and continue going.
We are more resilient than we think.
A man can experience the cruelest and most horrible atrocities and still find the will to carry on.
How did Dr. Victor Frankl survive the concentration camps of Nazi Germany and what lessons can we learn from his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”?
After years of collecting dust, I finally took out and read Dr. Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust.”
Dr. Frankl was a professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School. He was the founder of what has been called the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy (after Freud and Adler).
He was also a survivor of Auschwitz, Dachau, and other concentration camps during World War II.
I don’t enjoy reading books about the atrocities of man. But for some reason, I decided it was time.
Finally, the meaning of life explained
The book was incredibly thought-provoking.
Dr. Frankl states that a man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life and not a “secondary rationalization” of instinctual drives.
This meaning is unique and specific in that it must be and can be fulfilled by him alone. Only then does it achieve a significance which will satisfy his will to meaning. There are some authors that contend that meaning and values are “nothing but defence mechanisms, reactions, and sublimations.” But as for myself, I would not be willing to live merely for the sake of my “defense mechanisms,” nor would I be willing to die for the sake of my “reaction formations.” Man, however, is able to live and even to die for the sake of his ideals and values.”
Another way to view pain
Although conventional medicine can save your life, it can also be invasive, aggressive and damaging at times.
The very language we use highlights this – “The war on cancer” and “Your battle with diabetes” are a few examples.
Unfortunately, there are no winners in war.
Are the soldiers the only casualties of war?
I saw a movie called “Hacksaw Ridge”. It’s a true story about a soldier named Desmond Doss who joins the army but refuses to fire a gun.
He becomes a paramedic and saves 75 lives in a battle in Okinawa during World War II.
The battle scenes are intense, and both the US and Japanese casualties were high. But have you ever stopped to consider the battlefield? It was bombed and burned and covered with rotting corpses, wiping out the natural flora and fauna.
That land will never be the same.
In the war on disease, your body become the battlefield. The very process that is supposed to save you can also be killing you at the same time.
Does that make sense to you?
The hidden meaning behind pain
Can pain create meaning in our lives? Can there be a benefit to having pain?
Pain is a sign that we need help.
How can we live pain-free when the very essence of life is that it is an ongoing process? How would you know that you have strayed off course if the pain didn’t let you know?
In his book, Dr. Frankl continues:
We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one’s predicament into human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Why focus on the positive
By changing your focus, your activity might stay the same, but the way you approach the task can change drastically.
You can apply this change in focus, to anything.
Imagine your diet.
You can see a healthy diet as limiting yourself from all your options out there, or you can view it as eating in a specific way to achieve a particular result, like an athlete.
If you want to start any healing journey, sometimes all you need to do is change your focus. Focus on what you want instead of what you don’t have.
Then create a simple step-by-step plan to get you there and work the plan.