Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Finding Meaning in Suffering: Lessons from Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl


"When we are no longer  able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."

-Viktor Frankl

Life is hard and full of highs and lows. Nobody who is born on this planet is free of difficulties in life. However, we tend to forget that life is challenging and things don't fall into our lap, but we must go out and get them. 

Often, we can't control what will happen; we can't control situations, and we can't control other people's thoughts, words, and actions either. But what we can control is ourselves. It is often said that we cannot choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we react to them.

I have been through tough times several times in my life. During those dark times, I always thought I would not survive. I just allowed myself to dwell on my sadness. The more I thought about it, the more I suffered. As the Buddha said," Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
Pain is what the world does to us, but suffering is what we do to ourselves. The bottom line is the matter of our attitude. 

When life throws us a curveball, succumbing to despair and giving up can be easy. But instead of surrendering, we must stay focused and remember that it is within our power to choose how we respond to our struggles. 

 Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir "Man's Search for Meaning" is a testament to this idea. While incarcerated in Nazi death camps, he found a way to cope with and find meaning in his suffering. His experiences and insights have inspired generations of readers to create a better life for themselves and the world and teach them about spiritual survival.

 One of Frankl's most potent ideas in his memoir is that we can choose our attitude towards suffering. He says, "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given circumstances." He realized that even in the darkest days of the concentration camps, he could choose to hold on to hope, love, and belief in humanity. This attitude gave him the strength to endure and helped him find meaning in his suffering.

We often think our happiness and success depend on luck or external circumstances. But with the proper mindset, we can use even difficult situations to propel us forward. Viktor Frankl's story is a shining example of this idea - his courage and resilience in the face of unimaginable hardships show us what it means to truly live life.

Every one of us faces challenges in life, but we can choose how to respond to them. We all have the power within us to create meaning and find our purpose, even in the most challenging moments. By following Viktor Frankl's example, we can consciously adopt an attitude of courage and resilience that will help us through any challenge. 

This does not mean that life will suddenly be easy. But it does mean that we can find a way to make the most of whatever life throws our way, even in our darkest moments. We can choose to take charge and create a meaningful life for ourselves, regardless of external circumstances. 

That is how Viktor Frankl found meaning and purpose even in the depths of despair - by taking the power to choose his attitude and actions away from his circumstances. His story can inspire all of us, no matter our challenges.

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